Getting the most from your car battery

February 15, 2013 | By | In Buying Guides

Your car leaves the security of the manufacturers as a well-oiled machine; each of its components working to give you a smooth ride.

Such is life however, that your vehicle will no doubt have to endure rain, snow, rain, ice, more rain – (you name it, it’ll go through it) in its first year alone. Its shiny new components were designed to work together, giving power to your car. So what happens then if one of these parts gives out? Not a lot, that’s what.

Your car relies on its battery (and the obvious trip to the petrol pump) to power it, and ideally you want to keep it sitting pretty under that bonnet.

In between your regular services, it’s a good idea to do a few quick checks on your battery. Pretty easy to locate, lift the cover and have a look for any cracks, dirt build up or erosion. These can be the first signs of water damage, or simply wear and tear, depending on how old the battery is. If your car doesn’t feel to be running as well as normal, check for loose terminal connections or worn cables as these can also pose problems to performance.

Batteries can be particularly affected by extreme changes in the weather. Working hard to perform the whole year round as it is, intense cold snaps and the like can take their toll on this power source. Be mindful of this, and time your ‘home health check’ to co-inside with the end of these extremities but before long journeys.

Conveniently, your car battery recharges itself when the engine is running, meaning you don’t need to give it too much thought the majority of the time. You need to run your car regularly however to ensure that it is fully charged. You might find your car is a little slow in turning over after long periods of it being out of action. If possible, leave a set of keys with a friend (who you trust of course) when going away on long trips so that they can start regularly start up the engine for you, keeping it charged in your absence.

As with anything, your battery can begin to lose a little oomph. It’s quite possible that it is no longer able to fully recharge itself even if you use your car every day. You can find what percentage your battery is performing at by taking it to your local mechanics; it’s a quick and easy test, and gives a good indication of when it might be time to buy a new one.

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