Winter Prep: Maintain Your Car’s Battery

With Old Man Winter on his way, soon much of our country will be dealing with freezing temperatures, just the “right” conditions to put a lot of strain on your car. Maybe this winter will not be as bad as forecasters expect, but hoping for the best won’t ensure that your car is ready for the season’s wrath.

car batteryYour car’s battery needs to be inspected to see if it is ready for winter driving. Advances in technology has made “maintenance free” batteries standard equipment on almost every vehicle built today, but even that term can be inaccurate: you still need to perform proper and regular maintenance.

Three Steps To Car Battery Maintenance

Fortunately, battery maintenance isn’t all that difficult to do, so let’s examine the steps you can take to  keep your car running even as winter’s fury rages:

1. Clean the cables. Disconnect the cables from the battery and clean them with a wire brush that has been soaked in a homemade mixture combining one tablespoon of baking soda with one cup of water. Use this same mixture to clean off the top of the battery; use a clean, small paint brush to apply the solution where needed.

2. Lubricate the posts. A small dab of petroleum jelly on each post will help keep your cables clean and corrosion free longer. Additionally, the jelly will make it easier for you to slip the cables back onto the battery.

3. Check connections. Besides the connection between the cable and the posts, make sure that the battery hold down bar is firmly in place. Not all cars have nor do they need a battery hold down bar, but if yours comes equipped with one, you will need to put it back in its rightful place.

Check Your Battery At Least Once Annually

Car battery maintenance is an easy and brief project, one that should be performed at least once annually. By keeping your battery properly maintained, you will extend its useful life and greatly cut down the possibility that your battery will experience an ill-timed failure. Certainly, the “maintenance free” description is quite accurate, so don’t be lulled into forgetting this all-important automotive maintenance procedure.