- by Bryan Veldboom - updated on 1/27/2021
A reliable battery is key to your engine's health. Whether your car is brand new or an older model with years’ worth of mileage, a good battery is vital in getting you where you want to go. Help keep your auto battery going strong with these easy-to-follow maintenance tips.
Did you know that the way you drive can have a big impact on your battery? It's true. The biggest key to maintaining your battery is to ensure it retains a charge. Short trips in which you're frequently stopping then restarting your engine don’t provide your alternator with enough time to recharge your battery.
How long should you run your car to recharge the battery? If your engine is idling it will take much longer to recharge, so taking a longer drive is more effective. It should only take between 10 and 30 minutes of uninterrupted driving to charge your battery, depending on how discharged it is.
If you have a car that you store for the winter or that you don't drive very often, consider picking up a battery charger or maintainer to help keep your battery charged up. The Battery Tender 1.25 Amp Charger is a great way to maintain your auto battery. It requires very little supervision and will switch off once your battery reaches an optimum charge to prevent overcharging, then start charging again once your battery requires it.
Dirt and corrosion are two of your battery's worst enemies. A buildup of dirt on your battery’s terminals will act as a conductor and end up draining your battery faster than normal. Corrosion, which appears as a white, green or blue colored substance, acts as an insulator, disrupting the flow of current and forcing your battery to work much harder.
You can avoid both of these problems by keeping your battery terminals clean. A good rule of thumb is to examine your battery's terminals every time you check your oil. Dirt can be wiped off with a rag or paper towel. For corrosion, use a battery terminal brush together with a solution of baking soda and water. You can also help prevent corrosion from building up in the first place by using an anti-corrosion spray or covering your battery with a pair of terminal protectors.
Both extreme cold and excessive heat can take a real toll on your battery. If you live in an area prone to blistering summers or frigid winters, you might want to invest in a better battery. AGM (short for Absorbed Glass Mat) batteries provide more power and cranking amps than flooded batteries, which allows them to perform better in high heat or extreme cold. They also typically last longer and charge faster too.
Another way to get the most out of your battery is by actively monitoring its health. The ZUS Smart Car Charger from Nonda has a built-in Battery Health Monitor that tracks your auto battery voltage and sends alerts to your phone if a problem is detected.
The Nonda Smart Vehicle Health Monitor is another great option. Simply plug the monitor your car's OBD-II port and scan your engine to detect any anomalies. You can also use it to clear vehicle error codes and set it up to send real-time alerts regarding the health of your engine.
No matter how well you care for your battery, eventually it will need to be replaced. When that happens, stop by your nearest Batteries Plus. Each and every one of our stores offers free battery testing, as well as free installation on most model cars and trucks. Check out our selection of car and truck batteries online or learn more about our best battery brands. If you need installation service, you can cut down on your wait time by scheduling your arrival time at the location of your choice.