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Your car battery provides electrical power to many things on your vehicle, from heated seats to your turn signal and lights. In order to get the most out of your battery, it’s important to take care of it, check on its performance, and do what you can to prolong its life.

If your battery fails while you’re out, your car won’t start, meaning you could be left with costly towing and an urgent need for a new battery. To care for your car battery, keep the following in mind.

Day-to-Day Battery Maintenance

There are a few things you can do on a regular basis to help maintain your battery and keep it in good working condition.

  • Every time you turn off the engine, make sure to unplug any electronics, turn off all accessories, and turn off inside and outside car lights.
  • Keep the battery in cooler locations rather than warmer ones. Generally, cooler temperatures are kinder to the battery.
  • During the colder months, make sure to run your vehicle for at least 30 minutes, preferably on the highway, so that it runs and the battery charges.
  • Check your battery regularly (maybe once a month). Are the terminal connections clean and tight? If the terminals are corroded, scrub them with a solution of baking soda and water.

Spring Battery Care

Spring is the time to check that your battery has survived the cold weather! Have it checked, but know that if it survived the winter, it is likely to survive a mild summer. If it’s weak, but not quite ready to be replaced, or if your summer is exceptionally hot, make sure to test it again in about 3 months, and replace it before temperatures drop again.

Summer Battery Care

Although cooler temperatures are harder on your battery charge, warm temperatures are not good for your battery. High temperatures outside mean even hotter temperatures under the hood of your car, right next to the engine. The higher the temperature, the faster corrosion occurs. Too much heat can lead to lower battery capacity, more difficulty starting the engine, and a shorter battery life. It’s important to check your battery regularly so that you’re not left with a dead one on a summer trip!