In this installment of our regualr maintenance feature, we are going to dicuss car batteries. Batteries are actually the single most common reason we see vehicles ending up getting towed to our shop! There are a number of battery related issues that might result in a ‘no start’ including loose and/or dirty battery cables and corroded battery terminals. The latter is also going to force your car’s alternator to have to work harder which can in turn cause it to fail prematurely. The good news is that these corroded terminals can easily be cleaned using a wire brush and/or light sand paper. If you are doing this yourself then you must remember to remove any metal jewelry that you are wearing.
It is good practice to have your mechanic check the battery whenever you are having an oil change, so don’t be afraid to ask. This is one of the reasons why finding a reputable ASE mechanic is so important even for basic maintenance. Here at Parker Automotive we do a 10 point inspection that includes battery terminals.
The life expectancy for the average battery here on the Colorado plains is around 47 months. If you know that you are nearing this age then whenever you have an oil change it is wise to ask your mechanic to check the battery load. Extremely hot or cold temperatures can have an effect on fluids which means that weak batteries are most likely to fail on very hot or very cold days – the worst possible times to get stranded because the car won’t start!
We have developed the following checklist in order to help you avoid those ‘no starts’. If you answer yes to any of the following questions then it is time to consider replacing your car’s battery or at the very least having it thouroughly checked out :
- Is you battery more than 3 years old?
- Is your battery out of warranty?
- Is your vehicle showing any warning indicators?
- Have you had to jump start your car recently?
- Did you leave your lights and/or stero on recently?
- Do your lights dim whenever you use A/C or heat?
- Has your vehicle recently expereinced belt and/or alternator problems?
- Do the battery posts or cables show any signs of corrosion?
Battery maintenance is very simple, but it could save you a small fortune in towing bills.