A battery is a device that stores electrical energy in the form of chemical energy and converts that energy into electricity. Most vehicular batteries rely on a lead-acid reaction, which falls under the category of SLI (starting, lighting, and ignition) by providing short bursts of energy to power the different parts of your vehicle: lights, engine, etc.
Once the battery sends an initial jolt to the engine, it starts the alternator. Following that jolt, the alternator powers the engine. Like batteries in your television’s remote, automotive batteries will degrade over time. Casey’s Team in Great Falls, VA, is here to tell you how to get the most life out of your vehicle’s battery!
Always double-check the lights
Probably the most obvious for anyone who has had to ask someone to give their battery a jumpstart, leaving on any lights will drain your battery.
Regularly Check Under the Hood
As a general rule, you should pop your vehicle’s hood every few months to assess its cleanliness. Driving on the traffic-heavy roads of the Great Falls, VA, area means a lot of dirt and debris will get kicked up into your vehicle’s undercarriage and air vents.
Clean the battery
Debris and dirt harm most of our automotive components, and batteries are no exception. If dirt gets into the cells, it could cause corrosion. When checking under your vehicle’s hood, wash or brush off (with a wire brush) any accumulated particles around the battery ports.
Pay special attention to the ports, as that is where corrosion caused by the battery’s fluids will build up. If you see a frothy substance around the ports, wipe it off. You can use baking soda and water to remove the build-up if it requires deeper cleaning. The brush should be damp but not wet, and the mixture needs to be removed entirely, leaving behind no residue. Do not let any fluids get in through the ports.
Check the connections
While a vehicle is running, the battery is being recharged. If something gets in the way of the connections, like corrosion, it will not charge as it should. Check the cables connected to the terminals to ensure they are secure.
While driving on bumpy roads in the Northern Virginia area, vibrations can cause the battery to become loose. If that happens, the battery can be subjected to internal damage. Make sure it is secured in its mounting bracket.
Know what causes battery drain
If the vehicle is not running, components such as the sound system, HVAC, and lights use the battery for power. Alternately, if a vehicle is idling for too long, it will also cause a drain.
Battery diagnostics at Casey’s Automotive in Great Falls, Virginia
Using the above methods will help it last, but every battery will eventually need replacing. Have a battery diagnostic test run each time you bring it in for service, and you’ll know where it stands. Every vehicle that comes into Casey’s for service will be provided with a digital inspection that covers over 40 areas of your vehicle! Contact us if you suspect your battery is running low.