The dog days of summer can put a lot of extra stress on a car’s battery. If you don’t take the necessary steps to protect this critical component, you’ll be far more likely to experience a breakdown. Below we discuss how you can avoid a dead vehicle battery this summer. The good thing is these tips can be applied to anytime of the year!
Have Your Battery Tested
Before the summer kicks into full gear in Asheville, it’s a good idea to have your vehicle battery tested and inspected by a professional mechanic. You’ll be able to travel with an extra sense of security. If the battery is on the verge of reaching its expiration date, the best approach is to have it replaced ahead of time.
Avoid the temptation to buy the cheapest battery on the shelf. Lower-priced “economy” batteries tend to be far less durable. Some may begin to weaken after only a year of use. A premium battery is well worth the extra money.
Keep the Connections Clean and Tight
It is important for your connections to remain tight. Once the cables become loose, it’s only a matter of time before you experience starting issues. Fortunately, most vehicle battery cables can be easily tightened using basic hand tools.
Corrosion tends to be an even bigger problem. When there is a significant amount of corrosion on a vehicle battery, less current will flow through the terminals. This ultimately results in decreased cranking power. Oftentimes, built-up acid can be neutralized using a baking soda paste. Simply mix together one cup of distilled water and one tablespoon of baking soda. After dipping an old toothbrush into the solution, scrub down the terminals.
Keep the Battery Cool
Excessive heat can cause a vehicle battery to fail much sooner than expected. Whenever possible, try to park under the shade. Develop a habit of looking for nearby trees. If you do not have a garage at home, consider investing in a car shed.
Always keep your battery wrapped in a heat shield, which helps block out radiant engine bay heat. Most replacement heat shields cost less than $30.
Jump-Start Your Car the Right Way
It’s not uncommon for a person to accidentally leave their headlights on, thus leading to a dead vehicle battery. They will likely need to jump-start the car. Unfortunately, many inexperienced drivers do it the wrong way. Not only can the battery be damaged, but other electronic components can be ruined as well. Keep in mind that a vehicle’s computer system can be especially expensive to replace.
Before even attempting to jump-start a car, first make sure all electrical systems are turned off. It’s even more important to connect the jumper cables to the correct terminals. Furthermore, the cables should never come in contact with any metal surfaces. Experts also recommend allowing the dead battery to charge for a few minutes before attempting to start.
Consider Investing in a Trickle Charger
If you have an automobile that you only drive on special occasions, consider investing in a trickle charger. It is designed to slowly charge the car’s battery while in storage. No longer will you have to worry about the vehicle battery being drained when preparing to take a summer road trip.