If you want to keep your car battery healthy, and maximize the time before you have to shell out for a replacement, there are some reliable methods to do so. Using even one of these guidelines will help, but for the best results, it’s helpful to use them all.
1. Limit Short Drives
Short trips can put additional strain on your battery, because they don’t offer the chance for a sustained charge.
Once the car is started, the alternator charges the battery, but it takes time and elevated RPMs (revolutions per minute) to get the job done. On shorter trips, the battery doesn't get adequate time to fully charge.
2. Control the Temperature
If you can, keep the temperature of your vehicle stable (which in turn will keep your engine compartment, and thus your car battery temperature, stable).
This is most easily accomplished with a garage where you can keep the car out of the hot weather. Even if you don’t have a garage, parking in the shade wherever possible will still help.
3. Clean Off Corrosion
Every so often, take a look at your car battery terminals. If there’s corrosion visible, give it a clean. Always use protective gear: rubber gloves, an apron and eye protection are worthwhile precautions.
Remove the battery from the car, and scrub the terminals with a wire brush. You can purchase battery contact cleaner from your local auto supply store, or you can use a solution of warm water and baking soda.
4. Use a Battery Maintainer
These small electronic gadgets are often affordable and easily stored, either in your garage or in the trunk of your car. When plugged into a standard outlet, they provide a slow trickle of electricity to the battery, ensuring it has optimal charge at all times, and switching off when the optimal level has been reached.
Some devices will also include a charging function to bring a depleted battery up to full charge quickly.