It can Happen to the best of us, a flat battery. Here are four simple ways to prevent a dead battery.
We all know the scenario. It’s a rainy night, it’s late and you have to get home. You sprint to your car, shut the door and turn the key and nothing. You try again, and still nothing. You can imagine the frustration. The battery is dead. Well here are four simple ways to prevent a dead battery. Other than regular service items such as brake pads, filters etc., your battery is the most perishable components on a motor vehicle, and often the most neglected. With the increase in technology in motor vehicles, the amount of energy a battery has to produce has increased dramatically, and unfortunately battery technology and storage capacity has been increasing marginally.
The rule of thumb for battery replacement is around five years, but depending on certain conditions and workload, some batteries may need to be replaced sooner. There are a number of things that we can do to help extend the life of your battery. We have listed the following four you should be aware of.
The first thing you should do is to regularly check the battery’s condition. One of the major causes of battery failure is corrosion. It’s imperative to clean carbon build-up from terminals and cables. You also want to ensure that the battery is tightly fitted in place. A loose battery can be damaged as it can bounce around as the motor vehicle travels over different road surfaces. Vibration can cause the battery posts to wear, and the outer case could possibly be damaged or crack if is it loose and bouncing around. You may also want to wipe away any oil, fluid and dust from the battery surface, as these elements can contribute to corrosion.
Another area you should be aware of not using the vehicle’s electronics when it is not running. As your car is not running, the battery is not being charged by the engine. Drawing energy from the battery when your engine is off can reduce its life dramatically. The battery needs to be recharged by the engine’s alternator, and this is done when the engine is running. It’s important to ensure that all internal lights are turned off before you leave the vehicle. Despite being small, they can drain the battery if left for prolonged periods of time.
You also want to ensure that your electronics are in good working order. Faulty components can also drain power from your battery, and can also be a safety hazard if not addressed. A loose alternator belt may also have an impact as it won’t be charging the battery efficiently. Any malfunctioning electrical component can drain a battery. It’s important to check fuses, bulbs and cables regularly as deterioration and corrosion can happen rapidly. This is especially pertinent if you live by ocean as sea air not only effects metal components but also plastic elements also.
It is important to run your vehicle regularly. If you are going to be absent from the vehicle for extended periods of time due to holidays or the vehicle is being stored for recreational purposes only, it’s critical to have someone to start and run the vehicle at least once every couple of weeks, and if possible take the vehicle for at least an hour’s drive. This will serve two purposes. First it will help keep the battery charged, and the second purpose is that running your engine will also lubricate seals and components to prevent them from drying out and deteriorating. Other components also need to be run as the require regular movement to maintain efficiency.
We started with a scenario where someone gets a dead battery, hopefully if you follow the above four simple ways to prevent a dead battery it will not happen to you. We all know that prevention is always better than cure, so until next time , safe motoring from the What Scratch? team.