Your car battery is an integral part of what starts and keeps your vehicle running. It’s the heart and soul of a vehicle’s electrical system. Yet maintaining a car battery is something that often gets overlooked. Checking up on and taking care of your car battery regularly is easy to do and will prolong its life and performance. The last thing anyone wants is to get held up in their own driveway on their way to work in the morning because their car battery has died. Follow these 9 tips to make sure you keep your battery in tip-top shape and ready to start no matter the condition.
- Turn off your vehicle!
First and foremost – always turn off your vehicle and additional accessories. As obvious as it may seem, don’t forget this step! Ensure that whenever you are checking into your battery and working with it, keep your vehicle completely turned off, along with your lights and all accessories. This also goes for day-to-day – when your vehicle does not need to be running, keep it off – save your battery!
- Ensure battery is secure
Your car battery should never be able to vibrate or move, so always be sure it is fastened firmly in its correct place. Any movement or vibrations can severely damage the cells within the battery.
- Keep it cool
While it may be difficult with some of Australia’s crazy high temperatures, we suggest that you try to park your vehicle in shaded or cooler areas whenever possible, versus in direct sunlight. This will keep your battery as cool as possible. Believe it or not, heat can cause major damage to car batteries due to water loss as well as heat distortion. Whilst Marshall Batteries are designed for the harshest of Aussie environments, the more care, the longer your battery will last.
- Keep it clean
Keeping your car battery clean is key to ensuring its best possible performance. You should be cleaning your battery cables and around the terminals regularly to prevent corrosion build up and to help ensure that no external material falls into the battery when you open it. If it’s too late and you already have corrosion built up on your battery, no need to worry. To remove this build up, believe it or not you can use a very basic paste made of handy household items.
To clean corrosion: First, using a paste of water mixed with baking soda and a wire brush, gently scrub the terminals to remove any built-up acid and dirt. Next, remove the cables carefully, always starting with the negative one first. Now that the cables are removed, you can further clean any more corrosion. Be sure to wipe gently with a rag and cool water following this so that you don’t leave any baking soda on your battery. Leaving any baking soda residue on your battery will increase the possibility of further corrosion (in the near future!).
- Coat and protect
In order to protect your battery from rust and corrosion, your best solution is to keep it coated. You can use felt protectors for your terminals. We also suggest that you use a protector spray coating – this is essentially a grease which is made for high temperatures. Alternatively, many suggest the handyman approach of simply using good old Vaseline instead of a spray protector. You can test out both options and use whichever you prefer.
To keep your battery in top shape and to keep it charged,
It is very tough to predict the life of any given battery. The longer a car sits idle, the more a battery slowly but surely loses its charge. The simplest solution to this is to drive your car on a regular basis, while making a point to drive distances of over 10km regularly. Additionally, you can buy a standard car battery charger and charge it approximately every 2 months. Just remember that like any battery, there is such thing as overcharging which can shorten its life. Everybody runs into the unexpected dilemma of a dead battery. It is never fun, and it always comes at the worst possible time. So how long should I expect it to take to recharge my car battery exactly? If it is completely dead, it can take around twelve hours to fully recharge. Of course this will all depend on the usage, age, size and type of battery you are using.
7. Replace terminal
While you can hand clean your battery yourself, if you’re a little too late and corrosion has already set in, you should be replacing your battery terminals. An excellent tool for this is battery terminal removers, to save causing any unnecessary damage. It is also important to remember to always remove the negative terminal first before positive, to remove possibility of an electrical shock.
8.Top up fluids
Unless you have a Marshall Maintenance Free Battery, topping up your fluids is essentially your car battery’s lifeline. If you keep the fluids topped up, it will extend the life of the battery – simple as that. To do this, be sure to only use distilled water to fill the battery cells. You can find this quite easily at most supermarkets or Marshall Battery stores. Using any other types of water will bring in extra minerals, which will decrease your battery’s lifespan – not recommended!
So, how much water should be in a car battery you ask? And how do I fill it? First, check if your battery has ‘low level’ and ‘full level’ markings on it. Remembering your safety gear, remove the cell caps or cover and using a battery filler spout, a clean funnel – even a (clean) turkey baster can work – carefully top up the tubes with distilled water. If your battery does not have level lines, you should be filling the water level to be just below the bottom of the battery cap (when it is put back into place) and covering the cells. After doing this, always leave the battery for a few hours before recharging it any further, which will let the water and electrolytes mix and settle.
- Twice a year!
Last but not least, we recommend following the above steps yourself at least TWICE A YEAR. However, the more the better! Checking your car battery more regularly will only help keep it at its peak performance. Additionally, regular servicing of your vehicle is important and if in doubt Holler for a Marshall or drop into a Marshall Battery Store for a free battery test.
This will ensure that your battery maintains highest performance levels possible.
Following these 9 simple tips will help you keep your car battery running smoothly and keep it at its best! If you are ever in doubt, be sure to read and follow the safety and handling instructions.
If you have any questions or think its time to replace your car battery, check out our extensive Marshall Batteries range available online here or contact us at 1300 627 742 today.