It's no fun to turn the key in your ignition only to hear nothing more than a click, indicating that your battery is dead. Properly maintaining your battery can help you avoid this issue and it may just extend the life of your battery. The following tips can help you better care for your car's battery.
Tip #1: Check for corrosion
Many people check their oil each time they fill up the gas tank. This is also a good time to check the battery posts. All you need to do is pop off the caps and look them over quickly for any signs of corrosion. This usually appears as a white or green flaky coating on the battery posts and cable connectors. If you spot corrosion forming, simply scrub it off gently with warm water and a metal bristle battery brush.
Tip #2: Make sure it's secure
Most cars have straps that hold the battery securely in place. After cleaning the battery, wiggle the battery to ensure that these straps are secure. Sometimes the screws work lose and require tightening. A loose battery can put stress on the cables, causing them to break or lose connection.
Tip #3: Inspect the cables
The cables that attach to the battery also need to be inspected after cleaning. This quick visual check will alert you to any damaged wires that could soon be posing a problem. Trace the cables from the battery terminal to their end, making sure the rubber case around the wires is undamaged. Then, check the cable clamps on the battery terminals are in good condition. Replacing the cables as soon as you notice an issue is an inexpensive way to avoid your car not starting later.
Tip #4: Keep it charged
If you don't drive much, your battery can lose its charge. One way to avoid this is to make sure you go on at least one long drive every week. The alternator is what recharges your battery, so you need to actually drive the car to bring the charge back up. Also, make sure you turn off all accessories, including the radio and lights, when the car is turned off. This will put less drain on the battery during startup. Finally, if you can't drive the car at least once a week, then hook the battery up to a trickle charger so it stays juiced up.
Contact an auto care or parts business (or businesses like Battery Tree) for more information on caring for your car battery.