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A car battery is an essential part of the overall functionality
1. Leaving the car parked and unused for long periods of time
Car batteries are never in a neutral state, they are either charging or discharging all the time, even if there is no draw on the batteries’ power. They are charged whenever your car is driven and discharge whenever it isn’t. This is the reason why car batteries get flat when they are parked idle for weeks at a time. Needless to say, the electrical components in your car draws power from the battery when it is parked. Though the power draw is low but it does take a toll on the battery over a long time.
The duration from which they can be parked are dependant on the health of the battery. It can be anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. So if you plan to go on vacation or leave the car parked for long periods of time it is best to have it charged up. Here are some ways you can do that:
● Use a smart charger. A smart charger regulates the charging process and will ensure the battery is kept charged up and not overcharge it too.
● Have a friend to start up the car or even use it once in awhile.
The dangers of leaving your battery uncharged for long periods of time
● You won’t be able to start up your car unless you charge it up again.
● It can lead to permanent battery failure from sulfation, if left uncharged for too many weeks or months.
2. Neglecting to top up with battery water
(Photo credit: http://www.warrantywise.co.uk/blog/how-often-should-you-replace-your-car-battery/)
Most cars today are fitted with batteries that are maintenance-free, also known as dry batteries. But if you are still using wet batteries then it does make sense to habitually check the water levels on the battery. The lead plates within the battery should always be submerged to prevent damage. Only use distilled or battery water whenever you fill up the battery. You should only fill it up to the upper level indicated on the shell of the battery. Overfilling the battery will cause spillage.
3. Failing to keep your battery clean
Over time the accumulation of dirt on the battery can become conductive and create a slow power drain on the battery. So keep the battery casing clean. A word of caution, never touch both terminals at the same time, either with your hands or the wet cloth you are using.
4. Overlooking to keep your battery securely fastened
Always ensure that the battery is fastened securely in the battery compartment with the battery bracket. The battery should not be able to bounce around while you are driving. The accumulated sulfation on the battery plates can fall off and to the bottom and short the battery, causing permanent failure.
Sulfation is the accumulation of sulfate crystals on battery plates which both hinders the flow of current and locks the much needed battery life in the form of crystals. It is a problem that affect most car users as sulfation builds up whenever batteries are left uncharged. Using a battery desulfator will eliminate that by shattering the crystals which eventually dissolve back as usable active material. Battery desulfators can be purchased at a fraction of a cost of a battery but can double its lifespan.
● Always use safety glasses when dealing with car batteries.
● Batteries release hydrogen gas, so make sure you are using a ventilated area and NEVER smoke or have any flames or sparks nearby.
● If you get in any contact with the battery electrolyte (the liquid from the battery), it is acid so wash immediately.