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The Importance of Maintaining Your Car's Battery

A few weeks ago my husband headed outside to warm up his car and drive our son to school. He came back inside the house to deliver the news that the car wouldn't start, and he suspected the battery was dead. Every member of the family had places to be that morning- both kids needed to be at school (two different schools), hubby had to be at work, and I had to get across town for an award ceremony. We were down to one car to get everyone where they needed to be all day long, and I spent my entire day running everyone around. It was exhausting. Our battery had truly died. It was corroded, and just utterly spent of life. 

We didn't do such a great job taking care of our car battery the last go around. If we had, we probably wouldn't have had such an off-kilter day. The average car owner probably thinks that a dead battery is inevitable, but did you know that there are things you can do to prolong battery life and keep your battery in good health?

Check out these car battery maintenance tips...

The average car battery can last anywhere from 5-7 years (longer if you're lucky). One of the best and easiest ways to maintain your car battery is to check and clean your battery terminals. I recently learned how to do this, and it's pretty easy. Locate the terminals and gently clean them with a homemade paste. You can make the paste with baking soda and distilled water. Use a steel wool brush to gently scrape the grime away and rinse with distilled water. Be sure to wipe clean with a damp cloth or towel.

Coat your car battery with a grease protectant to protect against corrosion and rust build up. No one wants to pop the hood to find the battery covered in corrosion or rust. Keep it clean by checking those terminals every few months. If the terminals wind up cracked or damaged, be sure to visit an auto shop and have them replaced. You should be able to do this yourself by following simple how-to instructions, rather than having to take your car into the dealership.

Get regular check-ups and tune-ups. If there are certain things that you know how to do yourself, like oil changes and the like, by all means, go for it. Make sure to maintain your car's fluids. Keep them filled to proper levels and get them flushed when it's time to do so. Maintaining your car the proper way will also help to ensure the good health of your battery over time.

In any event, be sure to check and test your battery every three months, just to be safe. It's good to know what type of battery you have and check local auto shops to see what types of batteries they carry or have in stock on a regular basis. That way, if you're ever in a jam, you'll know how to call and how to order a replacement battery right away. It's also a good idea to make sure you have a set of jumper cables in your car at all times. In the event that you do wind up with a dead battery, you should be able to have someone help you jump your car (unless the battery is just too far gone), and you should have enough juice to drive to a repair shop, auto shop or to a safe place. Don't let your battery health slip away. Take the time and make the effort to keep it maintained.

Brought to you by Lynch Chevrolet of Mukwanago

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