Most people have experienced the joys of a dead car battery. You need to get somewhere, such as to work or home, you turn the ignition key and are rewarded with the tortured sound of an engine that just can’t turn over or, worse, the clicking of a dead battery. Now you have to figure out how to get to where you need to go, which is to a service center to either get the battery replaced or check your charging system to see if it is working properly.
You can do a number of things to lengthen the life of your battery and delay the day that you have to replace it.
First, keep the battery terminals clean by applying a wire brush every few months. Nothing quite wears out a battery more than a bad connection because of grease or dirt on the terminals.
Second, if your battery is a non-maintenance-free wet cell model, check the water level three or four times a year. Add distilled water as needed.
Third, if your battery has an insulator, make sure that it is securely on. Hot temperatures, especially in the Sunbelt, can wear a battery down.
Finally, make sure that you take your vehicle in for its regularly scheduled maintenance. The service technician will check the condition of the battery and your vehicle’s charging system. The technician may advise you to get a new model battery or to fix the underlying charging system, saving you the inconvenience of being stuck somewhere.
Just as an aside, you should keep a pair of jumper cables in your vehicle at all times. They will help you get your car started if and when the battery finally reaches the end of its useful life and, hopefully, either get you home or to a service center, thus saving you from the expense of a tow.
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