How to Look After Your Car Battery

Author Name – Daisy Clarke

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Your car battery is responsible for powering a lot  – especially as our cars get more and more complex. So, knowing how to look after your battery will keep your car running smoothly for miles and miles.  In this blog, we’ll walk you through how to take care of your battery, as well as how to know when it’s time for a new one.

How long does a car battery last?

Not every battery will perform or last the same; the lifespan of your battery will depend on a few different factors below (although National batteries come with a 4/5 year guarantee.) 

The way you drive

Yep, your driving can have a big impact on how long your battery lasts you. Short, frequent, trips won’t give the alternator chance to recharge the battery, which puts more strain on it. 

The weather

Changing and extreme weather will affect your battery too. Ever struggled to start your engine on a winter morning? That’s because cold weather makes it harder for the liquid inside your battery to transfer power.

In hot weather, this liquid can evaporate, leaving the plates inside your battery exposed to damage. Either way, extreme weather will make it harder for your battery to do its job. 

How much power your car needs

Our cars are getting more and more intelligent. While that can be really handy day-to-day, these advanced electronics also put more strain on the battery, causing it to degrade quicker. 

How you look after it

Like most things, your battery will last a lot longer if you take care of it. You don’t need to be a mechanic to carry out some regular maintenance – even just cleaning the terminals and ensuring a secure connection every now and again can mean a longer battery life.

If you’re not using your vehicle for a while or only taking very short trips, regularly charging your battery so it’s not completely empty will help to keep it healthy too. Waiting until it’s fully discharged can damage the health of the cells, so try to top it up regularly – a smart charger can even repair damage too. 

The battery itself

Not all batteries are built the same, so the quality of your battery will play its part too. Investing in a higher quality battery might serve you better in the long run, as it’ll likely last longer and end up more economical.

There are a few telltale signs that your battery is nearing the end of its life, or at the very least getting low on charge – slow starts and dimming or flickering lights can mean it’s time to charge up or you may need a battery replacement.  If you’re ever concerned, just book our free battery check. 

Looking after your car battery 

To keep your car running smoothly for longer, there are several ways you can care for your battery.   If you have a multimeter, you can test your car battery at home. When using a multimeter, it's important to be aware that your battery should have no fewer than 12.6 volts.

Of course, there is another option if you want your car battery testing. Simply pop down to your local National Tyres and Autocare branch for a?FREE battery test. Our technicians use the latest equipment to test a battery's voltage, start capacity and condition 

Regular visual checks & cleaning

You can learn a lot about your battery just by looking at it; make sure to check for any visible signs or corrosion on the terminals and make sure the cables are connected properly.

A quick clean will also help to stop dirt and debris from damaging the cells or causing further corrosion. A bristle brush or old toothbrush with some baking soda and water is perfect for the job – just make sure everything is clean and dry when you’ve finished. 

Don’t run to empty

Regularly letting your battery fully drain can really impact its ability to hold a charge. So, try to charge up manually if you’re making a lot of short trips that are draining the battery. 

If you find it completely discharges more often than it should, it might be time for a new battery – head to National for a Free Battery Check and we’ll take a look for you. 

Avoid extreme temperatures

As we mentioned, really high or really low temperatures can damage your battery life. So, if you’re expecting a heat wave or a cold snap, park your car in a garage if you have one. 

Get a check-up from the experts

The best way to know the health of your battery for sure is to get it professionally checked. At National Tyre and Autocare, we can check all the key performance indicators of your battery to find any potential issues before they cause a big problem. 

Book a FREE Battery Health Check at a time and date to suit you, for the peace of mind that everything’s working as it should – or to catch any problems before they cause a breakdown. 

If it is time for a new battery, we can help there too! Find the right fit for your make and model online just by typing in your reg – we’ll show you all the compatible batteries, and you can choose a fitting slot to suit you. If you don’t want to leave the house (or can’t, because your battery has truly given up), we also offer Mobile Battery Fitting to get you moving again in no time. 

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