The Anatomy of Healthy Cars: A Service and Repair Blog

Tips to Make Your New Car Battery Last Longer

by Brittany Marshall

Owning a car is a big responsibility. Not only do you have to worry about keeping it clean and fueled up, but you also need to make sure all the parts are in good working order. One of your car's most important (and often overlooked) parts is the battery. Here are some tips to help make your new car battery last longer.

Don't Let Your Car Sit Idle for Long

When you get a new car battery, it's important to break it in properly. You shouldn't let it sit idle for too long, as that can actually harm the battery. The reason has to do with something called sulfation. When a lead-acid battery discharges, sulfate crystals start to form on the lead plates. This isn't a problem when the battery is regularly recharged, as the charging process reverses the sulfation.

However, if the battery is left sitting too long, the sulfate crystals can harden and permanently damage the battery. So if you want to prolong the life of your new car battery, make sure to give it a regular workout by starting up your car and letting it run for a while at least once a week.

Pro-tip: If you know you won't be driving your car for a week or more, disconnect the battery. This will prevent the battery from being drained by things like the clock, alarm system, and the onboard computer.

Keep the Battery Clean

One of the main reasons batteries die is because of corrosion. When battery acid mixes with dirt and grime, it can eat away at the metal parts, causing electrical problems. However, it's not just the terminals that are affected. The entire battery can be compromised, which is why it's important to take care of any corrosion as soon as possible.

Corrosion can occur when the battery is left out in the elements. Moisture from rainwater or snow can cause the terminals to oxidize and kickstart the corrosion process. This corrosion can then spread to the rest of the battery, damaging it way too soon and making it less effective.

To prevent this issue, simply clean your battery terminals (the positive and negative posts) with a mixture of baking soda and water. Once they're clean, dry them off and apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly to help prevent future corrosion.

You can also buy a battery terminal protector, which is a rubber or plastic cover that goes over the terminals. This will create a barrier between the metal and the environment, further preventing corrosion.

If you follow these simple tips, you can help extend the life of your car battery. However, even with the best care, all batteries will eventually need to be replaced. If you need a new battery, talk to a local car battery provider