How To: Care For Your Automotive Battery

Hey, everybody—Roger here from O’Reilly
Auto Parts to talk to you about automotive battery care. Before I get into that, I wanna
give you the opportunity to subscribe to our channel if you haven’t already, so you don’t
miss out on any of our new content. Car batteries help to start and run your vehicle,
and regular maintenance and cleaning can help you avoid a dead battery or a breakdown on
the road. The battery’s role is to supply power to the starter, which starts your engine,
as well as powering any electrical accessories when the car’s not running, like your radio,
courtesy lights, anti-theft system, and door locks. Maintaining your battery before problems
arise can help your vehicle’s battery last longer and perform at its peak, while giving
you peace-of-mind knowing that your engine will start no matter the conditions. With
a few simple steps, you can keep your vehicle’s battery charging better for longer.
Most car batteries are located under the hood in a visible, accessible place. But sometimes,
you’ll find them in the trunk under the spare tire, or even under the back seat. If
you can’t find your battery, consult your owner’s manual for its location.
To avoid injury, it’s best to remove the cables before performing any battery maintenance.
If your cables aren’t color coded (usually they’re red for positive and black for negative),
pay attention to how the cables are attached before you remove them.
So, using a wrench, loosen and remove the negative terminal first, being careful not
to let it contact any metal surfaces, then remove the positive terminal. You may have
to gently move the cables side-to-side and pull up to free them from the battery posts.
To clean the posts, apply terminal cleaner to your brush and lightly scrub the terminal
and battery post to remove corrosion and chalky buildup. It’s recommended you check these
terminals at oil change intervals and clean them as needed. This helps ensure strong electrical
connections to help your battery deliver power to the rest of the vehicle.
No-corrode washers are available that are specially designed to prevent battery corrosion
at the terminal connections. Once the cables have been reconnected, you can coat the terminals
and battery posts with a terminal protection spray.
Cleaning your battery’s plastic casing with a wet cloth can be helpful, since dirt or
traces of battery acid on the outside can create a pathway between the positive and
negative terminals, which could drain your battery’s power.
If you’ve done some basic maintenance and you’re still having problems with your battery,
or you notice any issues at all, head to an O’Reilly Auto Parts store to have your battery
tested for free. We can check it in OR out of the vehicle, and help you find a replacement
if you need one. It’s a good idea to have your battery tested
every spring and fall when temperatures start to change so you’ll know its condition.
Knowing whether or not you need a replacement before harsher conditions come along will
help keep you from getting stranded with a dead battery. If you have a vehicle that you store for periods
of time, it’s important to take precautions to protect the life of the battery.
You may not ever store your daily driver, but batteries in vehicles that ARE stored
are susceptible to discharge and damage, and may never be able to hold a full charge after
sitting discharged for long periods of time. To protect the batteries in your classic cars,
lawnmowers, boats, motorcycles, and other stored vehicles, it’s important to follow
the steps for general battery maintenance, and you might also consider removing the battery
and storing it indoors. Storing your battery inside will reduce the chances of it being
affected by extreme temperatures or parasitic drain that goes undetected, although you can
store it in the vehicle if you prefer. Connecting stored batteries to a battery maintainer
will supply your battery with a small trickle of electricity—without overcharging it—to
ensure it stays alive over long periods of time.
Hopefully, this answers any questions you might’ve had about battery maintenance,
but if you need any further assistance, stop by an O’Reilly Auto Parts store or contact
us on social media. We’d love to help. Don’t forget to subscribe to our channel so you
don’t miss anything new. We’ll see you again soon.

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