In honor of National Battery Day, we wanted to fill you in on a few helpful Car Battery Tips. It’s easy to take your car battery for granted while it’s hiding under the hood, but a little battery love goes a long way. Battery checks and regular maintenance are important steps in making sure you get the most out of your battery life.

During your Oil Changes at Ron’s Garage, we perform a Courtesy Inspection. We assess the overall health of your vehicle and then discuss our findings with you. We test the Battery Charge with a Static Tester. The Static Tester lets us know the voltage of your battery so that we are able to determine if the battery is in good shape or if it needs to be replaced.

Static Tester

On occasion, the Static Tester will rate your battery right on the cusp of a good charge. At this point, we recommend taking the next step. Ron’s Garage will Charge and Test your vehicle’s battery to ensure it is functioning properly. The Charge and Test will fully charge the battery to 100% and then “load test” it, mimicking the voltage required to start the vehicle. If your battery passes, then you’re good to go. If not, we recommend a new battery. Typically, batteries can last about 5 years.

What should you look for to determine if your battery is bad?

Slow Crank

The biggest indicator that your battery might be nearing the end of its life is if you notice your car is taking longer to crank when you turn the key. When this happens, give us a call so that we can take a look. It’s never fun to be stranded on your way out due to a dead battery. You may be able to jump start your car if it doesn’t start at all.

Battery Light is on

When your dashboard battery light comes on, it’s time to take it in! Typically, it will look like a small, red battery by your speedometer.

Dimming Lights

Another thing to note could be light output. If you notice that while you are waiting at a red light that your headlights dim, but then become brighter once you accelerate, then checking your battery is a good first step.

No Electrical Power

When you put the key in the car and nothing happens then it’s likely due to the battery not powering any of the electronics. You’ll notice the radio and dashboard lights won’t turn on, the door lights are off, etc. When this happens, your battery likely needs to be fully charged or replaced.

What could impact my battery?

Conditions Surrounding your Battery

The conditions surrounding your battery play a key role in battery life. Keeping your battery clean and dry are very important. Be sure to check your battery regularly for corrosion and keeping it clear of oil and grease. Dirt and oil residue on the case can cause a current drain on the battery. It’s a good idea to check the condition of the battery tray as well. After cleaning the battery case, check for cracks and bulging, which may indicate the battery needs further testing or replacement. Learn more about battery corrosion.

This is a severe case of Battery Corrosion.

Rusted Battery Tray

Weather: Hot Summers

Weather could play a role in battery life. Living in Ann Arbor, Michigan means we get some crazy weather – hot, hot summers can wreak havoc on your battery, but it may not be apparent until the cold weather hits. The hot summers can cause water in battery acid to evaporate, which then lessens the battery’s ability to get sufficient power to start the car in cold weather.

Unsecured Battery

Vibrations due to an unsecure battery can cause internal damage and result in shortened battery life expectancy. Make sure your car battery is securely fastened to prevent it from jiggling around or even tipping over. Loose batteries can knock against other parts of your engine or possibly short out causing an instant fire. Properly fastened batteries will sit correctly, but be sure to check the battery tray during your battery check up.

Bad Battery Test

Call us today to schedule your Battery Check Up to keep your battery working at peak performance and avoid the worry of being stranded (and a high tow fee)!