Would you believe that the more you drive your car, the better it is for your car battery? Well it is true, as long as some basic good driving principles are followed, and that is what we will cover in this article.
The first thing you have to remember is that a car battery, like all other manufactured products, comes with a limited life. Though modern batteries are designed to withstand a lot more than their predecessors, there’s a lot that we can do as responsible car owners to ensure that our batteries continue to perform for us for the maximum possible duration. Taking proper care of our car’s battery also ensures that it does not fail us when we need it most in an emergency.
Go on a long drive: A car battery gets charged while the car is being driven. (Read our article on "Mechanics of charging a car battery" to understand how this happens.) However, if you drive your car for short distances, the car battery does not get charged sufficiently. While a full charging cycle even for the most advanced of batteries would require 8 hours of continuous driving, it is probably not a very ideal solution for most people who use their cars most commonly for office commutes, visits to the mall or for dropping and picking up children from school. If your average driving time per trip during the week is 30 minutes or less, or if you do not use your car for at least 4 days in the week, it might be a good idea to go on a longer drive of 1-2 hours on the weekends, preferably during the day. Dare we say that not only will this recharge your battery; it will also refresh your minds after the week’s hustle!
An Idle Engine is a Devil’s Workshop: There are some people who believe that idling a car engine is a good way to recharge a car battery. Nothing could be further from the truth. In reality, it has been seen that this is actually drains rather than charges the battery. So refrain from this practice. If you are stuck in traffic, switching off rather than idling is good not only for your battery’s health, but also reduces your fuel bill besides being an environmentally friendly practice.
Help your Battery to Prioritise - When starting your car, your battery’s only important task is to provide the electrical energy to light the initial spark that starts of the internal combustion engine. You should switch off all electrical accessories like head-lights, cabin-lights, fog-lights, indicators, windscreen wipers, defoggers, radio, music system, air conditioning (or heater if applicable), etc. to ensure that the battery’s power is not diverted. Once your car is running, you can switch on those accessories that you really need, while keeping the others switched off.
Ensure Lockdown: A battery is an element of your car that involves many nuts and bolts. You have to take care that all of them are in their proper places, and tightened appropriately. A loosely fitted battery would lead to vibrations which in turn would lead to damage inside the battery and even a short circuit fire. It is also important to ensure that your battery’s terminals are tightened and positioned properly. All of this especially becomes important if your regular route consists of bumpy roads.
Remember - "Care for your battery, and it will care for you!"