Not everyone can afford a new battery every now and then for their car. This is why you have to make it a point to follow a fool-proof monthly maintenance plan to ensure your batteries remain healthy throughout its lifespan.
Here are some tips to maintain your battery in optimal condition:
As dirt can reduce your battery life, you have to brush its top and sides clean with a solution of a tsp. of baking soda in 8 ounces of water. Then, wipe off the solution using a rag to neutralize acid deposits on the battery case. While doing this, take care not to let any dirt fall through the vent caps.
Dirty terminals leads to malfunctioning of the battery as it does not let the battery work at its optimum. So using a six point wrench, loosen the bolts and remove the battery cables while taking care not to damage the post or terminal.
Clean the terminal using the same baking soda solution and reconnect battery terminals. To prevent corrosive build-up at the terminals, apply a coat of petroleum jelly to the terminals.
Next, using a standard screwdriver, remove the battery cap or caps to check the battery's electrolyte level. The electrolyte should not only cover battery plates, but should also reach the indicator split ring that is found inside the filler opening.
If the electrolyte level is lower than this, just fill up the cells with distilled water. Don't worry if you find that your car battery
does not have any caps. Batteries without caps indicate that it is a free maintenance type of battery that can work for long without much maintenance as these batteries don't lose electrolytes.
After all this is done, you have to look for cracks and buckling around the battery case. If there are cracks, they could be a result of overly tight or too loose hold-down clamps. Sometimes, the battery posts may also be loose. If this is the case with your battery, it's better to have the battery replaced.
Also clean the battery tray to ensure that there is no dirt or debris on it that may prevent the battery from sitting properly on it.
All this constitutes the perfect, regular battery maintenance schedule you have to follow to maintain the health of your battery. Besides this, you have to make a visual inspection of the battery whenever you open your car hood.
By making this maintenance regime a regular habit, you will be able to nip any problems to the battery in its bud, before it grows serious. It's better and safer for you to wear safety goggles whenever you maintain your car battery as the sulphuric acid in the batteries may cause blindness.
Moreover, for your safety, it's important that you do all this in a well ventilated area away from sparks and flames. This is because the hydrogen gas that the chemical reactions in the battery produce is very flammable and may cause an explosion.
All that said, battery technology continues to advance and the time needed to take care of them is reducing.
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