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How to extend your car's battery life

Mechanic working on a car battery

What if your battery has a very low charge?

December 16, 2019. If your battery is at 12 volts or more, you can recharge it by going for a drive. Try to keep the car above idle and don’t use any unnecessary power such as air conditioning or headlights (if they are not compulsory).

If your car battery tests at 12 volts or less, don’t go for a drive or you will risk damaging the alternator. Hook up your battery to a charger instead. You should be able to find one at a hardware or automotive retailer and usually you don’t have to take the battery out of the car to charge it. See if that makes a difference and if the battery will hold a charge.

Acid stratification can cause a battery to appear charged but still not function properly. If you suspect this may be the cause of your problem, let it rest for a few days and shake it or tip it over and then charge it to 16 volts. Make sure it isn’t heating up.

If nothing works, it may be time for a new battery.

How to extend the life of your car battery

  • Drive at least once a week to make sure the battery recharges
  • Disconnect your battery if storing the vehicle for longer periods of time
  • Maintain your car regularly to prevent inefficiencies elsewhere in the vehicle from draining the battery
  • Don’t leave your lights or air conditioning on when the engine isn’t running to avoid draining your battery
  • Make sure the battery’s exterior is clean and check your battery after driving on bumpy roads in case the connections have become loose

How often should you change your car battery?

Depending on the car, you should replace the battery every 2-3 years. The newer your car is, the more battery power it needs. Many new cars have computers that drain the battery even when the car is off. If you replace the battery yourself, make sure to recycle it by dropping it off at the nearest recycling location by entering your postal code here: http://www.recyclemybattery.ca/