The battery of your vehicle is arguably the most important component under the hood since without a properly functioning battery, even your engine will be unable to turn on. Your battery necessarily withstands a great deal of wear and tear through normal operation, which can cause all sorts of problems to begin to crop up. Fortunately, there are a few simple things that you can do to improve the performance of your battery and drastically extend its lifespan.
1. Corrosion Cleaning
One of the most common yet also most serious types of damage that can affect your battery is corrosion taking hold around your battery's terminals. This can eat away at the structure of the terminals themselves, affecting the flow of electricity from the battery to the other systems of your vehicle. Fortunately, you can clean off corrosion and other gunk yourself by cleaning the terminals with a mixture of baking soda and warm water mixed together into a paste.
Make sure that the battery has been disconnected before cleaning the terminals, and then scrub it down with a stiff-bristled brush for best results. You may also want to pay attention to the cables connecting your battery to the rest of your vehicle, as corrosion can affect them as well.
2. Trickle Charger
If you are going to leave your vehicle sitting idle for longer than a couple of weeks, you should invest in a trickle charger to ensure that the battery does not die while your vehicle is not in use. Trickle chargers are available at most hardware and automotive stores and can be simply hooked up to the battery's main terminals to provide a constant slow flow of power to the battery, keeping it ready to go for a period of several months if needed.
3. Park Inside
Though this is more of a change in driving habits than any sort of practical maintenance associated with your battery itself, you should always try to park your vehicle in the garage, or at the very least in the shade in the summer and in a covered area during the winter. Extreme temperature fluctuations and constant exposure to freezing or boiling temperatures can take a toll on the ability of the battery to hold a charge, which increases the risk of your vehicle failing to start in the morning and can reduce how much time you have left before you have to replace the battery entirely.
For more information, contact a company like Felix's Auto Repair & Towing.