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Car Battery Maintenance

An exploded car battery!

Though it may appear to be one of those things that 'takes care of itself', checking your car battery on a regular basis should be an important part of your car care routine, along with checking the tire, the wipers, and all of the essential motor fluids.

Car batteries can reduce in performance over time and even become corroded - meaning you might be unable to start your car which could potentially leave you stranded.

Luckily maintaining your cars battery is really simple and requires no techinical knowledge or expertise to do. So lets take a look at what you can do to maintain your cars battery:

Inspect The Battery Casing and Keep It Clean

The simplest thing you can do to maintain your battery is to simply just keep it clean. Basically, all you will need to do is to wipe the battery clean of oil and dirt and dust. (It is recommended to make cleaning the battery case a routine part of your engine detailing.)

For very oily or greasy battery cases, you can use a mild soap on a very damp rag to wash it away. Then use a dry cloth to dry the battery case well, as well as leave it with the shine and cleanliness of a new battery case.

Tip! a battery case which bulges or has cracks might need replacing

Next you should move onto to checking the battery case for any types of cracks, bulges or any other obvious abnormal imperfections. These could be signs that the battery itself might need replacing. In the event of damage to posts or clamps or severe damage to the battery casing, you should bring your car to an expert mechanic at a local car repair shop for further inspection and repairs.

Check The Battery Terminals and Connections

Now, to clean battery posts and or terminals; Remove and loosen the negative cable first. (Negative is always black or uses a minus (-) sign to recognize it). After removing the negative cable, remove the red cable (this is the positive cable).

Then combine a small mixture of baking soda and water until it becomes a paste form. Now, using a small wire brush, use the paste on the battery posts as a cleaning agent. This homemade paste will remove rust and corrosion and any oil or other substance that has built up on the battery terminals. Be sure the paste is quite thick, and not too much water has been added and that it does not drip at all. Once you are finished carefully clean any remaining paste off the battery clamps and terminals with a soft, dry cloth or kitchen towel.

Tip! A baking soda and water mixture is an excellent homemade cleaner you can use to clean your batteries terminals and clamps.

Now that the battery posts and case are cleaned, maintained and inspected accurately, coat the clamps and the posts with a very light coat of oil or grease. This will aid in preventing rust and corrosion in the future. Now you can begin to reconnect the cables, connect the positive (red) cable first, then the negative (black).

That's all there is to it. By performaing the above simple inspection and cleaning a few times a year you can perform a little of your cars maintenance at home and hopefully save some money on garage bills.

Written By

Ian loves to tinker with his car and bike and is keen to pass on any money saving tips and tricks for maintenance he's picked up over the years.

Published: Mon, 23 Sep 2013
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