Car batteries typically last about three to five years, but extreme cold or heat can affect a battery with low juice. Luckily, it’s very easy to check the battery if you have a voltmeter (or if you take it to a mechanic). If your battery no longer holds a charge while the car is not running, it’s time to test it and check for any buildup that may be clogging the terminals.
Pop open your hood and remove the cables, negative then positive, from the terminals. After that, it’s safe to clean off the crud using baking soda, water and an old toothbrush. Dry all surfaces with a lint-free rag and immediately wash off any powdery deposits that get onto your hands or clothes. Reconnect the cables, positive then negative. Clean terminals give you a clearer reading on a voltmeter, plus it helps your car run more smoothly. In fact, cleaning the terminals may even fix the problem so long as the battery still has juice.
To check the juice, connect the voltmeter’s leads to the correlating terminals on your battery, positive then negative. Allow your car to sit for a while and then check the reading on the voltmeter. A good battery should have a voltage between 12.4 and 12.7 volts. Any less and it may be time for a new battery.
Another method can be used with your car idling. Connect the leads, positive then negative, to the battery terminals and then read the voltmeter. With your car idling, a good battery should have a voltage between 13.5 and 14.5 volts.
To ensure your safety while you perform this task, following these safety precautions:
- When connecting or removing battery cables, always attach the positive end first and remove the negative end first.
- Never smoke or use any open flames while working on your car battery.
- Clean acid deposits off of your hands and clothes immediately.
- Remove the negative cable from the battery if you tinker with the wiring to prevent electrical shock and damage to your car’s electrical components.
- Don’t allow any metal objects, such as a wrench, to connect the two terminal posts together to prevent battery and internal computer damage.
You keep your car running and we’ll keep it protected. Call Integrity Network Insurance Group at (512) 989-6006 for more information on Round Rock auto insurance.