Caring For and Maintaining Your Vehicle's Battery

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Most people understand the importance of proper vehicle maintenance. Your vehicle is a complex and fragile piece of equipment, and regular maintenance and care are imperative in order to keep it working. Factory scheduled maintenance such as oil changes, tire rotations, transmission and coolant flushes, and belt replacement are some of the most common preventive maintenance procedures. However, there is one important aspect of your vehicle that you may be overlooking. Many people tend to neglect their car's battery.

Many people believe that the battery is maintenance-free. While modern car batteries require little attention, they are far from maintenance free. Improper care can cause your car's battery to fail prematurely or, in some cases, cause serious damage to the vehicle, resulting in costly repairs.

Unsealed Batteries

While most vehicles on the road today have more modern, sealed batteries, unsealed ones can still be found in some cars. It is easy to tell if you have an unsealed battery, for these types have caps on the top that twist off.

If you have an unsealed battery, regular maintenance is much more important. These batteries require that you remove the caps and refill the cavity with distilled water regularly. If you live in a warm environment, the rate at which you must refill this water will be greater. This is due to normal evaporation. If the water level should get too low, the battery cells can become damaged, causing them to require replacement. In addition to maintaining a sufficient water level, you must also follow any care required for sealed batteries.

Sealed Batteries

Chances are, this is what you have in your vehicle. Most people think that their battery is self-sustained until it reaches its inevitable end, requiring replacement. This is simply not true, and although the required care is less than that of an unsealed battery, it is still an important part of your vehicle's maintenance.

The first area on your battery to look at should be the posts. The posts are found most commonly on top of the battery, although some battery types have them on one side. The battery posts are where the cables slip onto, connecting the battery's power supply to your car.

To clean the posts, remove the cables and simply wipe the posts off with a rag or cloth. Battery post cleaners are available, should the corrosion be too thick to remove with a cloth alone. After all the corrosion, dirt, or other buildup is removed, cover the posts with a layer of petroleum jelly, in order to keep them protected.

Before replacing the cables, be sure to clean the metal ends as well. Sometimes, a wire brush may be needed. Some find that mixing one part baking soda with one part water makes a paste which works well for cleaning these contacts. Once the posts and cable ends are cleaned of all corrosion, replace the cables and tighten.

Every so often, check the cables for any breaks or cuts. If you find a damaged cable, replace it immediately.

Follow these steps to keep your vehicle's battery problem free. With proper care, your vehicle's battery will last much longer.

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Source by Budda Oliver