One of the quickest ways to ruin a perfectly good morning is getting in your car to go to work only to find that you have a dead battery. Dealing with a dead battery is frustrating, takes time, and could turn out to be expensive should you need a tow.
While a dead battery may simply be the result of time, there may actually be things you did that killed your battery too soon. Many of these habits you might not even think about. However, you can keep your battery running longer by eliminating these bad habits.
Turning the Headlights on Before Starting the Car
When driving during the evening hours, many people get in the car and switch on their headlights before starting it up. While this could prevent you from forgetting to turn on your lights once you get on the road, it can also drain your battery very quickly. This is because a battery is recharged after a car is started with the alternator. Without the car being on, the battery isn’t being re-charged. This can kill it over time. Headlights take a lot of power to run, so they can kill a battery pretty quickly.
Driving With Loose Battery Cables
Batteries that don’t have tight battery cables can die quickly. Likely, the connections came loose just from your car’s usual vibrations. However, if you don’t get those more tightly connected, your battery won’t be able to charge correctly. You could even stall while driving, which is a danger to not only you but also the other drivers and passengers on the road near you.
Your battery could also become corroded over time, which will keep the battery from charging. To prevent this, regularly clean the battery. When you do this, you can also check the battery cable connections to make sure they are securely attached.
Driving Short Distances
Your car relies on the battery to start, but then the alternator recharges your battery while you drive. However, if the only driving you regularly do is running quick errands close to home, your alternator might not have enough time to recharge your battery. Because of this, you might be working on a deficit as your battery loses power during every trip.
To combat this, those with a short commute may consider taking a longer drive every week or so to keep the battery charged. If you don’t really have anywhere to go that takes a longer drive, think of this maintenance task as an excuse to explore your community more. Consider trying out that new restaurant that is a bit out of your way or getting out of the city to take a scenic drive and get some great nature pictures.
Leaving the Lights, Radio, or AC On
Sitting in your driveway for a few moments with the car off and the air or heater running isn’t doing your battery any favors. As mentioned above, your car must be on and running for the alternator to do its job. Always turn off your lights, radio, heater, or air conditioner before turning off your car. When exiting the vehicle, check that the cabin lights all turn off after you have shut the door.
Forgetting to Lock Your Doors
Lock your car to protect it, your valuables, and your battery. Many types of vehicles run readiness checks when the car doors are left unlocked. These are typically at regular set intervals. While they’re certainly preferable to leaving your car unsecure, over time, they can drain even a new battery.
Not Regularly Maintaining Your Car
If your car isn’t in proper working order, it won’t be as efficient as it should be. This can take a toll on your battery and the other parts of the engine. To prevent this, you should ensure that you’re getting regular maintenance and automotive repairs done. Even just basic car maintenance will go a long way in helping to keep your battery running longer.
Whether you’re running late for work or driving home late at night, you don’t want to be left stranded because of a dead battery. By taking steps to overcome poor habits that can affect your car battery, you will better care for your car and extend the lifespan of your battery.