Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Maintaining the peak performance of your car’s battery

For those of you who are first time DIYs, the battery is one of the integral components of your car; it is rechargeable and is the power source of the ignition system and other electrical devices in your car.

Initially there’s the maintenance free and low-maintenance types to choose from. A maintenance free battery is sealed and will not require replenishing the battery fluids over a long period of time while the low-maintenance type requires constant check up and replenishing once a drop in battery fluid levels can be seen. Battery fluid (Alkaline) can easily be bought at local gas stations and car yards or you can use distilled water as a substitute.

In layman’s terms the battery is the heart of your car but is often times the most neglected simply because nowadays it’s bought “maintenance free.”

Recent trends and technological advancements have made maintenance free batteries a standard on every vehicle out in the market today.

Don’t get the impression that since you’ve read on the label that it’s maintenance free, you will just simply put it in its place and forget about it. Your car’s battery is not entirely that. Just like any other sensitive equipment of your car, it also requires your constant care and attention for it to function well.

Here are the basic maintenance tips that will certainly save you a lot of trouble and will not leave you clueless by the roadside while on a very important trip.

As a rule before doing maintenance checks, always see to it to disconnect the clamps off the terminals to avoid untoward injuries from shock.

1. Check the cell casing and cover

Run an ocular inspection on the battery cell casing, box and cover for signs of moisture and pungent acidic smell. These are indicators that your battery is leaking and it needs to be fixed or replaced right away.
Maintain caution when handling leaking batteries for hazardous chemicals are present.

2. Clean terminals, clamps and cables

When you happened to see white powdery specks or see colorful substances around the terminals, they are signs of corrosion and needs to be cleaned right away. Make a baking soda solution (1 tablespoon baking soda immersed in 1 cup of water) and with an old toothbrush, clean the terminals, clamps and cables. Also clean the battery cover for accumulated grime and dust.

3. Make sure everything is dry

Make it a point to have everything dry before going further with your check up. With a dry rag, wipe off the remaining dew and moisture from the battery and terminals.

4. Check the wiring and connection

Run a check on the wires and clamps for strips or corrosion. If you have stripped cables, patch the affected part with a good electrical tape or have them replaced by a mechanic. Make sure that the battery is placed securely in its place. If your battery is equipped with a hold down bar, be sure to replace it.

5. Lubricate the terminals

With a lubricant (Petroleum jelly) place a small dab on the terminals. This will keep your cables clean and free of corrosion longer, while making it easier for you to put the cables back on the battery terminal.

6. Change your battery

Change your battery at the maximum of 3 to 3.5 years or after reaching the warranty period. For accidental battery drain (Such as leaving the lights on or stereo on) a lot of auto technicians would just recommend re-charging.

Car battery maintenance is that easy! Do it frequently to extend the life of your battery.

Safe driving.

Jovir Amatong

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