Nothing is more frustrating than having a car with a dead battery. We’ve all been there at some time in our lives, and the situation is frequently compounded by the fact that with modern cars, there are few to no warning indications – and there’s a good chance it’ll happen when you’re out and about away from home.

Car batteries typically last between three and five years. If you want to prevent replacing yours after only one or two years, here are six simple strategies to help it last longer.

1. Test the Battery Voltage Regularly

A voltmeter is an essential tool for testing a car battery’s voltage. You can pick one up at most auto parts stores for under $20. To test the battery, simply attach the voltmeter to the positive and negative terminals of the battery.

If the reading is 12.6 volts or higher, your battery is in good shape. If it’s 12.4 volts or lower, it’s time to start shopping for a new one.

2. Keep the Battery Clean

When dirt and grime build up on a car battery, it can cause premature corrosion. To clean your battery, disconnect it from the car and remove any covers or terminal guards. Using a solution of baking soda and water, scrub away any deposits on the terminals or posts. Once you’re finished, rinse everything off with clean water and dry it with a rag before reconnecting everything.

3. Avoid Short Trips

Making lots of short trips is one of the worst things you can do for a car battery. Every time you start your car, the battery has to provide a burst of power to get the engine going. If you only drive for a few minutes, that power isn’t fully replenished before the next time you start the car.

Over time, all of those partial charges can take their toll and shorten the battery’s lifespan. If possible, try to combine errands into one longer trip instead of making several short ones.

4. Keep the Battery Tightly Fastened

A loose battery can jostle around while you’re driving, eventually working its way loose from its terminals. Not only is this dangerous, but it can also damage your battery. Make sure all the bolts are tight and secure before hitting the road.

5. Turn Off Electrical Accessories When the Engine isn’t Running

Your car’s battery provides power to more than just the engine. It also powers things like the radio, headlights, and interior lights. If you leave these accessories on when the engine is off, it will drain the battery.

To avoid this, get in the habit of turning off all electrical accessories before shutting off the engine.

6. Don’t Leave the Car Unused for Long Periods of Time

If you’re not going to be driving your car for a while, it’s important to take steps to preserve the battery. Start by disconnecting it from the terminals. Then, clean and dry it off like you would if you were going to store it.

After that, you can either put it in storage or invest in a battery maintainer. This is a device that will slowly charge the battery over time to prevent it from losing power.

Conclusion

By following these simple tips, you can help extend the life of your car battery and avoid being stranded with a dead one.

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