Extend Your Battery's Life

Testing your vehicle’s battery annually through an automotive service professional is crucial to maximizing its value. But did you know do-it-yourself maintenance also plays an important role in extending your battery’s life? 
 
One of the simplest ways to extend your battery’s life expectancy and keep it performing at optimal levels is to keep the case and cable connections clean. Dirt and residue can conduct current and cause a drain on the battery. 
 
Clean the battery case by wiping it with moist paper towels and mild detergent. Inspect the battery case for cracks and bulging, as these are signs of a failing battery. Look for corrosion on the battery terminal connections and battery hold-down. Remove corrosion with a small, stiff brush and a solution of baking soda and water. After removing the corrosion, rinse the battery thoroughly with water. Capture the used water in a suitable container, such as a plastic drain pan, and dispose of it at your city’s hazardous waste disposal area.
 
Safe Handling Tips
Before you clean the battery, be aware that batteries, and the corrosion that forms on their terminals, contain sulfuric acid that can cause chemical burns and can damage most surfaces they contact.
 
To avoid injuries, observe any warnings on the battery and in your owner’s manual, and then follow these additional precautions.
 
  • Avoid squeezing or tipping the battery in any manner that could cause acid to spill out. In the event of a spill, flush the area immediately with water.
  • Take special care not to drop the battery. Batteries are heavy and can cause personal injury. In addition, the battery case may crack, creating an acid spill.
  • When servicing a battery, never smoke, or expose the battery to a spark or open flame. Charging batteries produce hydrogen gas that can ignite and cause an explosion.
  • Remove all jewelry. A ring, watch, or other metal object that creates a short between the positive battery terminal and ground can cause explosive sparks and serious burns. For the same reason, never place metal tools near, or on top of, the battery.
  • Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling a battery. This will dilute and neutralize any acid with which you may have come in contact.