ExecutiveChronicles | How To Maintain a Healthy Battery | The battery is an extremely important part of your vehicle. Without a car battery, you are unable to start your car. Without a marine battery, not only can you not start your boat or RV, but there will also not be enough power to run onboard accessories such as a television or fridge.
Even with the best care, a battery does not last forever. All batteries have a limited lifespan, which varies depending on the type of battery. However, there are things you can do to keep your battery healthy and extend its life. In order to understand how to take care of your battery, you should know what factors are involved with a declining battery.
What Causes a Car Battery to Decline?
One of the biggest factors affecting battery life is temperature. Cold temperatures, especially, shorten a battery’s life. Even at 32 degrees, a battery’s function weakens. At colder temps, it works even less. Extreme heat also affects a battery’s lifespan.
Obviously, you cannot do much about the weather, outside of moving to a different climate. However, you can lengthen your battery’s life by keeping your vehicle in a garage whenever possible. In extremely cold temperatures, you may need to keep your vehicle plugged in when it is not in use.
Time is an obvious factor in battery life. Most batteries last an average of three to five years, so if you are driving with a Honda Odyssey 2005 battery and have not replaced it in five years, you should be aware that there is a good chance it is not functioning as it should and will need to be replaced soon.
Another factor related to time is the amount of time in between drives. If you drive your vehicle less frequently, the battery will decline faster.
Although there is nothing you can do to slow down time, you can do something about how frequently you drive. For a car you do not use regularly, make a point of taking it out more frequently, even if it is just for a joy ride, to help lengthen the battery’s life.
There is acid inside your car battery, and this is corrosive. This can result in corrosion at the positive and negative terminals of the battery, which, overtime, can damage the battery.
Check your battery terminals regularly for corrosion, which often looks like white powder. If you catch it early, you can gently wipe off it and other dirt with a dry rag. For more corrosion buildup, carefully use a wire brush to clean it off.
Test Your Battery Frequently
Human error (forgetting to turn your headlights off), is another common cause of battery-life decline. Whether you have a dry cell car battery, gel cell battery or other type, one way to know what is the health of your battery is to test it regularly. Most auto shops will perform this service for free. By testing it, you know when it is time to replace the battery so you are not stuck with a car that will not start.