Battery Maintenance Tips

Modified On Oct 04, 2012 04:03 PM By CarDekho

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Facing trouble while starting your car? Chances are there’s a problem with your battery. The battery is a very crucial and common area of trouble when it comes to car maintenance; therefore it is of utmost importance to take proper care of your battery. We at CarDekho bring you, our privileged readers some pointers on car battery maintenance.


Clean your battery

Cleaning is of par importance when it comes to maintaining any machine. The same holds true for your car battery. Quite often dirt and dust particles on the battery may result in rust formation which is not a good sign for your battery. You should regularly wipe off your battery with a piece of cloth to get rid of dirt. If you see any signs of crust formation take some baking soda and make a solution of it with water. Apply this solution to areas of crust formation and clear it up afterwards with a wire or a nylon bristle brush.


Cleaning battery terminal

It is very important to clean your battery terminals regularly in order to ensure that they don’t corrode. One of the most common and rather inexpensive methods is to apply petroleum jelly on both terminals of the battery. Remove the battery terminals using a wrench and then apply a tablespoon of petroleum jelly onto both the terminals. Once this is done make sure that you connect the red cable (+ve) first and then the black cable (-ve).


Periodic battery check-up

Timely checks of key areas is very important. It may take up some of your precious time but chances are these few minutes will save you a lot in terms of both money and time later. Check on your car battery from time to time for any kind of fluid leakage, crack formation or any other faults. If you have the time, take your battery for a simple load test to a mechanic in order to ensure that it is capable of holding full charge.


Keep battery cables tight

It’s very rightly said that quite often the problem arises from a very minor issue. The same goes for your car battery as well. So make it a mandatory practice to investigate whether the battery cables are tightly tied up at the connecting point or not.


Avoid unnecessary battery usage

It’s always advisable to make a wise use of a car battery. Always remember to turn off the AC, music system and lamps while getting out of the car. Using them while your car’s engine is switched off will result in the draining of your car battery.


Keeping the battery charged

Get your battery charged from time to time in order to maintain a longer battery life. The battery should have a full charge and it should be checked to make sure that it is not under or over charged as that may damage the battery. Majority of the cars these days come with maintenance free batteries. For maintenance free batteries check the battery lights from time to time. If the light is black get it charged and if it’s yellow then your battery may need replacement.


Check battery mounting

The battery should be mounted tightly onto the mounting brackets, so that it doesn’t’ shift its position due to any kind of vibrations produced by the engine as it may damage the battery. It’s always advisable to mount the battery tightly in the battery mounting tray. This in turn ensures that all the connections are tight enough and the battery is securely mounted.


Regular driving

Drive your car regularly, if your car is at a standstill for a long time then you may have to charge your car battery. Whenever you drive your car there is a part called an alternator present in your car which charges the battery and prevents it from discharging.


Keep battery area hot

Excessive cold may be dangerous to your car battery; therefore it should be protected from extremely low temperatures. It’s always advisable to keep your car in a garage. However not all of us can afford a garage just for our cars. So if you have space constraints we would suggest using a battery or engine heater which would keep the battery hot and save you from starting troubles.


Check liquid level in your battery

If you are still using those “non maintenance free” batteries then you need to periodically check the liquid {electrolyte} level in your battery. If the level of liquid {electrolyte} is low, get distilled water from a nearby spare shop; open the battery caps and fill up the distilled water until the plates. Do not use normal tap water. Please be careful while working with battery as it contains acid and can be harmful if utilized properly.


Cold starting

Winter is definitely not the best season for your car battery. In winters many car owners face starting troubles because in winters cars need to be cranked more. This in turn results for more current drawn by the starter motor than usual and finally results in quicker draining of the battery. In addition to this the battery’s ability to produce electric current needed to turn the starter motor is also reduced. It is advisable to use the ignition in short 3-5 bursts if the engine doesn’t starts quickly. Give 20-30 seconds gap between each attempt. Before the onset of winters, get your battery charged and if it is more than 3 years old it is preferable to replace it.


Jump Start

If your car’s battery is completely drained out then you can start your car with the help of the battery of another car known as a donor car. For this, you need to have a set of jumper cables that are usually available at a cost of Rs. 500-600 at your nearby spare parts shop and not to forgot that donor car’s battery should have the same voltage rating as yours. Follow the step by step instructions below for jump starting your car:

•    Switch off the ignition of both the cars.
•    Connect the red jumper (+ve) cable to (+ve) terminal of the dead battery. Connect the other end to the (+ve) of donor battery.
•    Similarly connect the black jumper (-ve) cable to (-ve) of the donor battery. Connect the other (-ve) black terminal to a clean unpainted metal surface, preferably a bolt on thedisabled car.
•    Start the donor car and let it remain idle for 2-3 minutes. Now try and start the car with the dead battery.
•    Once the car is started, immediately disconnect the cables in the following order
1.  Black Cable on disabled car
2.  Black Cable from donor battery.
3.  Red clamp on donor battery
4.  Red clamp on disabled car

After jump starting the car let it run for around 30 minutes to charge up the battery.

Photography By - Sitaram Swami

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