Why You Need to Properly Maintain Your Car's Battery If You Want to Get the Best Value for Your Money
If you are racking your brain and trying to remember when you last bought a new battery, you may have a gut feeling that it was far too recently. You're now in the market to buy a new one, but wonder why the last one should have failed quite so soon. If you want to elongate the life of your new purchase, do you need to change any of your habits or look after it in a certain way?
Many people think that as a battery is rechargeable, it should simply carry on doing its work ad infinitum. However, car batteries are acid-based and will naturally decompose over time. It does make a difference if you pay attention to the manufacture maintenance recommendations, however.
Topping Up Properly
Don't simply fill up the unit with tap water because it's cheap and easily sourced. You have to use distilled or demineralised water, as the fluid from your tap has many unwanted minerals within that will attach to the plates of the battery. These will cause the unit to work inefficiently and eventually fail.
You must nevertheless make sure that the fluid level is correct at all times as if not, you could invalidate any warranty you may have.
Heeding the Sticker
Don't be fooled when you see the phrase "maintenance free" on the sticker. The manufacturers may place this on the unit for a reason, but it can nevertheless cause confusion. Always check to see that the terminals are in good condition and remove any corrosion that may build up on the casing as well. You can get a specific tool from your auto-parts store to check the function of the battery from time to time.
Everyone makes mistakes and if you leave your lights on overnight in error, the battery may discharge itself. If this happens, many people ask their neighbour for a jumpstart and believe that everything will be back to normal after a short trip to work in the morning. However, it is best if you connect it up to a multistage charger, so that the unit recharges properly. Manufacturers advise that you could shorten the life of your battery if you don't do this.
Finally, it is best if you leave the battery connected to the vehicle at all times, rather than disconnecting it should you be going away on your annual holiday. The battery is designed to be "always on" in this way and the modern car will rely on a certain amount of power from the unit, to properly maintain its on-board computer.
Going Forward With Confidence
Armed with this knowledge you ought to be able to get maximum value out of your new battery purchase, but if you have any other questions, have a word with your supplier.