on 15, Mar 2019

Car Battery Life: How to Keep Your Battery Running Longer

Once we bring a car home we make sure we do everything right and get the best for it. Especially if you are a car enthusiast or hobbyist, taking care of your car on your own is one of the biggest pleasures of your life.

Spending money on a car does not stop at just buying the car, in fact, the real expenditure starts once you bring the car back home. Maintaining the car is really important and to ensure its perfect health some quality regular maintenance and repairs has to be done.

One of the main factors that affect the overall health of the car is a faulty battery. So Getting a good battery for your car and maintaining your battery well is important.

So what is the purpose of the car battery?

Basically, it is a rechargeable battery that supplies the current to the motor of the car. It is mainly used to start the car with one connection to the spark plug. Once the car starts, the power to the car’s other features is supplied by the alternator.

Generally, batteries are designed in a way that provides maximum current at a short period of time. A car only uses 3% of its battery’s capacity while starting a car.

They are used for starting, lighting and ignition hence they are also known as SLI batteries. These batteries are not recommended to be discharged completely as it will reduce the battery’s lifespan.

So what is the purpose of the car battery

So how do we maintain car batteries?

Maintaining and cleaning the car battery is a necessary process. Checking your battery regularly can really be helpful to increase the lifespan of the battery.

So how does a battery look like?

A battery usually has a heavy duty plastic casing with positive and negative terminals. The positive and negative terminals are usually made of either lead or brass.the terminals can either be 2 threaded screws or 2 threaded holes.

If you have to take the battery out, make sure you know which wire to connect to what terminal to avoid confusion.

Knowing the type of battery you need

There are four types of automotive batteries:

  1. AGM battery

The absorbed glass mat battery is a sealed lead acid battery. The battery contains sulfuric acid that is absorbed by a very thin fibreglass mat. As a result, there is no spillage while using such batteries.

It was initially designed for military application because of its strength and weight. Integration of The choice of designs like a flat cell or cylindrical made the car battery very versatile.

The battery is known for less internal resistance, hence it can deliver high current when needed.  It is lighter than the flooded lead-acid type battery, provides longer duration and maintenance free.

The battery is not really prone to sulfation and can last longer without a charge. It also has low self-discharge. The charge of AGM cab five times faster than the lead flooded version. These type of batteries are usually featured in high-end vehicles for the power hungry features like steering wheels, mirrors and heated seats.

  1. SLI batteries

Like mentioned before, most of the batteries are SLI. As the name suggests, the battery is only used for starting the car, radio and lights.  The battery takes a long time to charge and discharge hence, it can only deliver power at short bursts of time.

  1. Wet cell (flooded) battery

These type of battery has sulphuric acid and water that creates an electrolyte. The wet cell batteries are often cheaper than the other options but do not provide the same convenience as others. The wet cell batteries need regular maintenance to replace some lost electrolytes.

So how do we maintain car batteries

  1. Lithium-ion batteries

These type of batteries are usually used in hybrid or electric cars.  These type of batteries are able to store more energy than the regular wet battery and weigh even lesser. The only drawback being it has l3 years of lifespan than the regular battery.

Maintenance varies based on the type of battery you use. So it is important to know what type of battery best suits your needs. For flooded batteries, you need to check the water level every 2-3 months. The water should be enough to reach the bottom of the battery’s refill hole. This is how you do it.

  • Pull up the cap to check the water level. In the dry batteries, the water will be missing.

  • Pour only distilled water in the battery with the help of a funnel if the water level is too low. Stop pouring the water once it reaches the bottom of the fill hole. Do not overfill the battery with water.

Clean the battery terminals:

  • Remove the terminals of the battery from moving them side to side and pulling up.

  • To remove dried acid build up, mix baking soda and distilled water and with the help of a wire brush gently scrub away any residue until it becomes shiny.

Clean the battery terminals

Lubricating the battery:

  • Coat the battery with a lubricant made to withstand high temperature.

Inspect cell voltage during regular car maintenance:

  • A fully charged battery usually has a voltage of 12.5 volts -12.6 volts. Your usual mechanic can check the voltage of your battery. Remember to check the battery only when it is fully charged as it may show lower voltage levels even if your battery is fine.

Check the battery insulator:

  • If your car has a batter insulator it should be checked regularly. Some cars have these to protect the batteries against high temperatures so it won't dry out. The battery insulator should be in the proper place and not damaged.

A lot of times we have forgotten to switch off the lights in the car overnight or have an adapter connected. This is going to drain a battery. Most of the times a car battery may die during a commute because of this or it will just fail to start. At such times, knowing how to jump-start a battery is necessary.

Jump start a battery

  • Make sure all the lights of the car are off. Everything the battery might be charging has to be turned off.

  • Attach the positive cable to the positive terminal and negative to the negative terminal which is generally the black cable.

  • Set the charger to low charge rate and turn on the timer.

  • The battery may take 6-12 hrs depending on the rate at which it is charging and the capacity of the battery.

Jump start a battery

Jump start the car using another car:

  • If stranded somewhere where you do not have a charger, you can still jump start your car without a charger. All you need are jumper cables.

  • Connect the positive to the positive side of a dead battery and connect the negative to the solid metal surface of the car whose battery doesn’t work.

  • Connect the other end of the cables to the positive and negative side of the battery of the working car.

  • Now start the car with the charged battery for a few minutes.

  • After 2 minutes check to see if the car with dead battery starts. Keep it for 5 mins if needed.

  • After that remove the cables from the previously dead batteries first and later from the live one. Make sure the terminals don’t touch each other or any other metal.

Jump start the car using another car

Sometimes charging or jump-starting a battery is not enough and you need to replace the entire battery. Following are the signs that tell you, you need a new battery:

  • Slow start: When you start the engine it appears sluggish or takes a long time to start. At such time, you should know that you need a new battery.

  • Check engine light: Get the battery checked if the check engine light is on. You may need a new battery.

  • Low battery fluid levels: In the case of sealed batteries, it is difficult to perform and maintenance on your own. Most of these batteries have a translucent cover which helps us indicate the level of fluid. In such cases, if the level of fluid is below the conductors, you should get the battery and charging system checked and may be replaced.

  • Swelling and bloating of the battery case: Excessive heat will make the battery swell and bloat causing it to decrease its lifespan.

  • Battery leak: Leaking will lead to a reduction in the fluid as well as corrosion in parts where the battery is located. Your car may not start and you will need a change of battery to fix the problem. You may also notice a pungent smell if your car battery is leaking.

  • Old age: A normal car battery can last for 5 years. AGM batteries can last beyond 3 years. So as a precautionary measure it is advised to get the battery checked regularly after the 3-year mark.

If you get a new battery and store it for some reason, make sure the storage place is dry and cold. Make sure the temperature is not cold enough to freeze the battery.

So what factors may kill the battery?

  • Short trips will shorten the life of your battery. If a person tends to take shorter trips like every 20 mins, there is a chance that the battery may not get enough time to charge and that can reduce the life of a battery.

  • Extreme temperature kills the battery. Too hot summers and freezing winters can render your battery useless.

  • Check the life of the particular battery you use. The life expectancy varies based on the make of a certain battery.

So what factors may kill the battery

Now you know the causes and signs of the dying battery, its time to change the old one.  This is how you do it:

  • Start with switching the engine off and putting up the handbrake. The sulphuric acid in the battery can burn your skin so make sure you wear gloves and protective goggles.

  • Locate your battery. Most of the times it's under the hood of the car. If not, try to find it at different places.

  • Recognize the positive and negative terminals of your battery. Usually the positive has a plus sign and has a red wire and negative has a negative sign with black wire.

  • You can use a wrench to disconnect the terminals. Disconnect the negative terminal first.

  • Disconnect the positive terminal and remove the car battery. Remove all the screws and holders that keep the battery in place.

  • Using baking soda and water solution, clean all the battery terminals and battery holders. Let it dry.

causes and signs of the dying battery

  • Replace or repair any damaged terminals.

  • Place the new battery to the holder. Make sure the positive and negative terminals are on the correct side. Connect all screws to hold the battery.

  • Connect the positive and negative terminals using a wrench

  • Apply heat resistant lubricant.

  • Close the hood and start the car to see it functioning properly.

Here are some tips to extend the life of your battery:

  • Get a complete electrical check from time to time.

  • Do not keep any lights or switches on. Also, remove all the adapters.

  • Check for corrosion and leaks from time to time.

  • If you don’t use your car regularly, it is important to start your car every day and make it run for 5 mins.

  • Find the right battery according to your car and needs.

So which is the best battery available for your car in India?

So which is the best battery available for your car in IndiaLike we discussed, the brand depends and varies upon the need of your car. But having few options handy is always useful. Bellow is the list of the most popular batteries in India.

  1. Exide car battery inva red 500

  2. Exide car battery inva queen

  3. Exide car battery powersafe

  4. Amaron car battery go

  5. Amaron car battery fresh

  6. Amtek car battery automotive

  7. Prestolite car battery

  8. SF sonic car battery jet FSJ0 38B20RD

  9. SF SONIC car battery powerbox

  10. SF sonic car battery jumbo

All these batteries will cost anywhere between Rs. 2000 to even rs. 10000. These batteries may typically last you from 4 to 6 years depending on several factors. Depending on the dealership and your car, getting a battery change can cost you around rs. 5000 to even rs.30000 and more.

Getting a new battery is a costly affair, but so is everything with a car. the cost of maintenance of the increases exponentially upward as it ages. There is no way around changing a battery when it comes to maintaining the car, so what you can do is make sure the battery lives up to its full potential and life expectancy.

Do let us know what you think is the best car battery in India in the comments section below. Share with us your own experience. Tell us about your favourite car and the car you would like to buy and have special offers for.


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