One of the most frustrating experiences you can have as a driver is to try to start your car and find that it won’t start. No one ever wants to be stranded somewhere—especially when it’s this cold outside! If this has ever happened to you, you might be wondering what steps you can take to prolong your battery’s life in order to avoid being stranded in the future.
First of all, learn to recognize the signs of a bad battery. An obvious one is an illuminated battery light (if you have one). Another sign is that it takes longer and longer to start your car. Yet another sign is found under the hood—take a look at your battery and check for battery acid. Once any of these signs happen, definitely have your battery looked at right away.
To prevent your battery from getting to such a point, follow these tips:
Avoid short trips as much as possible. When you take lots of brief trips in the car, your vehicle doesn’t have a chance to put a charge back in the battery. Longer trips are much better for keeping your battery charged.
Take the proper measures if you store your car. If you plan not to use your car for a long period of time, disconnect your battery and put a trickle charger on it. You can find one of these at any automotive store. This is great for preserving your battery when not in use for long periods of time.
Prevent unnecessary battery drainage. Nowadays, so many of us have cell phones, iPods, GPS devices, and other electronics that we plug into chargers in our car. To prevent unnecessary drainage of your car’s battery, unplug these devices whenever your turn off your car. Otherwise, they will continue to pull power from your battery to charge your electronics. On a similar note, be careful not to leave your dome light on when you exit the car and don’t leave your car doors open for extended periods of time.
Keep your battery terminals clean. You’ll want to keep dirt and debris out of your terminals, because they can prevent the alternator from delivering a charge to the battery easily.
Keep away from extremes. This can be difficult to avoid here in Harford County. Extreme temperatures are hard on a car battery. Heat in the summer will damage the internal cells of a battery, while winter weather makes your car’s battery work harder to turn over a cold engine. Because we experience both hot and cold temperatures in Bel Air, Maryland, our car batteries often last only five or six years. Park in the shade in the summer as often as you can and in a garage during the winter.
If you follow these steps you should be able to squeeze quite a bit more time out of your car’s battery. And if you ever need an auto repair shop that you can trust, call us at Ward Automotive. We are a complete car care shop offering everything from routine maintenance to serious automotive repair, engine work, and even autobody work through our sister company Bel Air Autobody. Why not trust your car to the company who knows the proper repair procedures from autobody all the way to the mechanical? Bel Air Autobody and Ward Automotive have been servicing the residents of Harford County, Maryland for over 20 years.