Car batteries are not perpetual. If you have ever been stranded somewhere with a dead battery you likely know the importance of checking your car battery. Unfortunately, it is one of those things that even though we know it should be done, we often never get around to doing it.
Checking the battery of your car on a regular basis will not increase its life span, but it will save you the hassle of being stranded somewhere. It is much easier to charge your battery or replace it if necessary from the comfort of your own garage.
If your car battery is a lead-acid battery, you should check the level of the water at least once a week. The life of the battery could be shortened if you run it with exposed plates.
When checking, if you see that the water is below the indicated desired level, fill it with distilled water. If you find the water levels low, check for cracks or leaks in the casing. This simple check up could prevent battery damage that would require you to replace your car battery. It can also be dangerous to run it with low water because hydrogen gases can build up and possibly ignite and explode.
While you are checking the water level, check the battery terminals for corrosion or excessive grime. Take a look at the clamps and cables to make sure they are not loose. If the clamps are loose on the battery terminals, they will not perform optimally.
Check the voltage of a battery that has started to age. If the voltage is beginning to decrease, as it will over time, you will want to replace it.
In the event that your car battery is drained, you will have to charge it. There are few safety precautions to keep in mind. Before you begin to charge your car battery, make sure the water level is at the proper level. Charge the battery in an area that is well ventilated. While charging car batteries, hydrogen is released. It is possible that the hydrogen gas could ignite and explode. Take care to avoid any sparks close to a charging battery and do not light anything.
Another critical point to keep in mind when charging a car battery is to take care not to overcharge it. Use of an automatic battery charger can prevent overcharging of the battery. If you do not have an automatic charger available, be sure to refer to both the chargers manual and your battery’s manual for assistance. If you overcharge a lead-acid battery, it will likely shorten the life of the battery.
While charging the battery, try to stay out of the area. Do not place your face directly over the charging battery in the event the cap does blow off. This is always a possibility because of the gases inside the battery. Wear protective goggles if you have to be around the battery. Even though you cannot always avoid the need to charge a car battery, you can easily avoid accidents and injuries.
If you take a few minutes, you will be able to head off potential problems with your car battery that may leave you stranded. Doing so will give you many miles of worry free driving pleasure.