Modern cars are becoming more and more reliable and efficient, but at the same time, the number of electrical consumers in the car is growing. Until the 1980s, a flat tire or a mechanical failure often caused a breakdown. In recent years, however, the car battery as a reason for an involuntary stop has outstripped other mishaps. Today, the car battery is the failure reason four times as often as in the mid-90s. Reason for this is usually lousy care or too late replacement of the battery. Therefore: Only with good battery care, the driver remains mobile at all times. You can also read our Best AGM Battery article to know, which AGM battery is perfect for you.
Table of Contents
The right care is the nuts and bolts. To maximize the life of your car battery
The state of charge
Regardless of which starter battery is used: The state of charge of the battery should always be kept in mind to obtain the highest possible charge capacity for a long time. A reliable and sufficient command of the battery can significantly extend the life of the battery.
If the vehicle is parked for an extended period or logged off in winter, it is possible to avoid a drop in the battery voltage and a harmful deep discharge with a suitable charger. Good chargers recognize the capacity of the battery and have an automatic charging current control. With only occasional use of a vehicle, recharging at intervals of about two months will maintain the battery’s performance and extend its life.
A regular check of the state of charge
Short-haul cruises strain starter batteries enormously -, especially in the cold season. In winter outside temperatures, the performance is chemically reduced for each battery and the alternator can only insufficiently charge the energy storage for short distances. Therefore, it is all the more important to check the state of charge of the car battery regularly. An approximate impression of the state of charge of the battery is the headlight check. If the headlights flash rapidly with the engine off after being switched on, the battery should be recharged as soon as possible. A professional inspection of the state of charge should at best be carried out regularly at the auto repair shop of trust.
Safety comes before thrift
The elimination of electrical consumers such as seat and steering wheel heating reduces fuel consumption and protects the battery. If not necessary, only electrical components serving comfort should be switched off whenever possible. This significantly contributes to better energy management in the vehicle and increases the energy available for charging the battery.
Priority should first and foremost be given to the systems that serve driving safety. Therefore, the headlights should stay on even at dusk. Essential and safety-related electronic assistants should also remain activated. On longer journeys, the battery recharges quickly – this does not even require high speeds. Already at 2000 rpm, the alternator provides the battery with two-thirds of its maximum power.
The clean environment during installation
Keeping the battery bay clean is an excellent way to minimize the tendency for self-discharge, as dirt near the battery posts, in combination with moisture, can facilitate leakage currents. Cleaning the poles and terminals prevents corroded contacts, minimizes contact resistance and improves charge acceptance and cold start capability.
Worth knowing about car batteries – Maintenance-free battery technologies
Almost all lead-acid batteries, whether the standard wet battery (SLI) or new AGM battery, are maintenance-free today. This means that the refilling of distilled water is eliminated. This should not be done anyway by the layman, but by the auto repair shop of the trust. Nevertheless, a little care extends the life of the battery and a regular battery charge test helps to detect a low battery before a deep discharge occurs.