Our cars are one of our biggest assets, next to a house. You need a car to run errands, go to work, pick up the kids, and generally get around town. So, when you’re worried about multiple problems with your car or are seeing that “check engine” light coming on when you start the car, you tend to get worried about just how much this repair might cost you. Or worse yet, if you’ll need to get a new car.

There are already many expenses we have to worry about when it comes to our vehicles: tires, oil, the engine, brakes, you name it. But one of the most important parts of the car that needs to be maintained to ensure a safe ride every time is the car battery. You don’t want to be driving one day and then suddenly having your car break down or worse yet, find yourself in an accident because of a bad car battery.

Safety should be a top priority when it comes to car maintenance, but what can do you to make sure that your car battery stays in the best shape possible? There are some things you can do on top of knowing the warning signs of an aging or faulty car battery.

Know How to Maintain Your Car Battery

The car battery is vital to a car because it helps it start and continue driving. Without it, your car is just sitting scrap metal. Most batteries will last up to seven years, but it is still good to do a routine check up every other month or year. Here are some ways you can maintain your car battery right at home:

  • Check the battery’s water levels. Every two to three months, you should check the car battery’s water levels. All you have to do is locate your car battery, pull up the fill caps, and inspect the fluid levels inside. Ideally you will want the water to touch the bottom of the battery’s refill hole. There are some batteries that may not need water and won’t have fill caps. If you do need to refill it, always use distilled water and make sure not to over fill it.

  • Clean the battery terminals. To maintain a well running car and car battery, make sure to take a wire brush to the battery terminals every six to eight months. Remember to remove the connectors from the car battery terminal and put a mixture of baking soda and distilled water on the wire brush before cleaning. This helps get rid of excess acid build-up that can shorten the lifespan of a car battery.

  • Coat your car battery. You will want to get high temperature grease and lightly coat your car battery in it. This will help the car battery become resistant against rust and other corrosion for many miles to come.

  • Test your voltage during oil changes. While under the hood changing out the oil, also make sure to have the car battery cell voltage tested too. If your car battery is fully charged and ready to go, it will read between 12.5 to 12.6 volts. An auto parts shop can do this for you or even your go-to mechanic.

There are other ways to maintain your car battery but these are the main ones that will keep your battery running smoothly for many years. Always make sure to get a second opinion from a mechanic and have them do a regular tune up every 3,000 miles or so. This helps with the health of your entire car so it won’t be breaking down anytime soon.

Extending Your Car Battery Life

Now that you’ve been maintaining your car battery for optimum service, how can you make sure that you can extend the life of your car battery? There are a few ways you can do this, all of them relatively inexpensive.

  • Install an insulation kit. Car batteries can become susceptible to high heat and cold temperatures, but you can extend the battery’s life by purchasing and installing a car battery insulation kit to combat those harsh weather conditions. These kits can be found at auto part shops or at the local mechanic’s.

  • Keep the battery vibrate free. Another thing that can shorten the lifespan of a car battery is constant vibrations from the engine.

  • Invest in a battery charger. This can be a life saver! Extend your car battery’s usage with a battery charger that can be kept right in your trunk.