The little guy that carries the entire electrical load in your car like the air conditioning, headlamps, radio, horn, alarms, clock, starting your car and running it is the battery. This little guy (whether it is under your bonnet, under a seat, under the metallic body somewhere, in the boot or wherever) needs to be cared for so that it can keep serving you well. You may hear that your battery life is at five years but then, that depends on some factors but basically, it should run between two (2) to five (5) years. Below are the basic ways to care for your car battery;
- Check your car battery acid level every six months which will mean twice a year. In fact, check it at every car service. If you find your electrolyte (the liquid inside your battery) to be low that is the plates are showing above the electrolyte, add distilled water or demineralized water (not sulphuric acid, not tap water, not treated well water because the elements used in treating water would react with those in the battery which could destroy your battery). You will get distilled water in car shops or you can ask your battery man. Refill as slowly and as gently as possible.
- Dirt and Debris should never get into your battery. Keep your battery properly covered always. Clean the top and the terminals of your battery. Always make sure it is so clean that it wouldn’t have any dirt going into the battery should you have to open to fill with distilled water.
- Brush off crusts on Terminals. Crusts around battery terminal hinder power flow as much as they are irritating. Get baking soda and clean water and a brush to clean it off thoroughly especially if the metallic parts are beginning to corrode. The baking soda must be totally wiped off the battery body as it can also eat into the battery body.
- Buy truly new batteries. Should you have to change your battery, always get new batteries and being truly new means that you should check the manufacturing date such that you are getting a battery that was recently made.
- Do not leave car undriven for too long. Should you need to leave your car for long, try to warm it every three days. If it is possible, drive for about five kilometres.
- Keep All Lights in and on the Car off when you park. The headlights and other lights on and in your car are power consumers and if you forget to put them off while you got to bed, you may wake up to a low battery. If your car isn’t a manual car, you may have to face some unnecessary challenges.
- Keep your battery away from sparks and open fire. Your battery normally comes with a user’s manual which nobody reads but it normally states in there to avoid sparks and open fire that may cause explosions.
- Respond to the battery light on your dashboard. Should you see the battery light turned on on your car dashboard at any time, you should know that your battery is probably not recharging as it is being used. That may imply that your battery is bad or your car alternator isn’t functioning. Whichever ways, get it sorted before it strands you.
- Keep your Battery ‘Hold down’ truly held down. The metal that crosses over your battery to hold it in place is the “HOLD DOWN’. If it isn’t tightly held down, it could sway sideways and if it does and gets in contact with the battery terminal, there will be a spark (Never use your bare hands to pull off the metal from the terminal as it welds into it or your hand will suffer serious burns). If your car earth wire was in place, it would burn off after which you will need the fire service in your area. Hopefully, they’d be there in time to salvage your car or you would have to get another.
- Remove you keys from the ignition whenever you are installing a battery. Some cars would require that you get some code from there manufacturers should you make such a mistake and others would burn off your coil. Whichever ways, you will spend some money, time and trouble.
- Sealed Maintenance Free Batteries should be replaced if its indicator says so. Maintenance free batteries have their ‘state of charge’ indicators. If it indicates that you should make a replacement while it still runs fine, just do. This is because it can have an internal explosion which could get you stranded.
Always wash your hands properly after handling battery or any of its contents as they have been found cause cancer and reproductive harm.
Always shield your eyes when handling its content as it can cause injury or blindness. Should it mistakenly get in your eyes, flush with lots of water and seek medical help immediately.