How to keep your car battery in good condition

TThroughout the last years of the pandemic, and even now that those days of confinement fade into the background, the adoption of working from home has seen vehicles used less and less, with an increasing rate of breakdowns battery related.

Global supply shortages and rising used car prices have also forced households to keep their cars longer, with the Australian Bureau of Statistics stating that the current average age of vehicles in Australia is of 10.6 years, the highest observed in recent times with older batteries in disuse suffering accelerated rates of depletion.

New electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles come with their own requirements and quirks that owners need to be aware of. For electric vehicles, it is considered good practice to set a charge limit of 80 to 90 percent to better mitigate lithium-ion battery degradation.

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Plug-in hybrid (PHEV) owners may not realize that the car’s 12V battery also runs essential accessories like climate control and will often be limited to 80 percent capacity on charge. brake regenerative. It’s worth checking your owner’s manual to see if you can charge your 12V PHEV battery independently to get to 100 percent.

Maintaining your car battery optimally can dramatically extend its lifespan, saving you money in the long run. Read on for five tips on how you can take a proactive approach to maintaining the health of your car battery.

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1. Regular battery charging

Battery failure is the most common cause of breakdowns, so regular charging can help ensure your vehicle’s battery is kept in its most reliable operating condition and may even extend its life, reduce emissions and waste, and save you money.

To maximize battery health, it might be worth getting into a monthly routine of charging your car with a trickle charger. This ensures regular recharging and can be applied to both combustion vehicles and plug-in hybrids.

2. Try to avoid or plan for periods of disuse

Even if your car hasn’t been driven for a period of time, subtle auxiliary systems like the car’s alarm, internal clock, and computer can slowly drain battery capacity in the background.

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Most conventional combustion cars need to be running for some time before the power lost in starting starts to recover, so even if the car has made a few infrequent short trips, the battery could die without you knowing. know.

Households that own a secondary, vintage, or vintage RV that is not used every day and is only taken out on weekends in good weather will also require maintenance. You can leave them permanently on a trickle charger, or you can look into a variety of easy-to-install battery isolators that you can unplug, preventing the battery from discharging, when the car isn’t in use.

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3. The ‘ABC’ of the electric vehicle

Lithium-ion batteries in electric vehicles should not be charged to 100%, as repeated full cycles slowly deplete health and capacity over time.

A charge limit of 80 to 90 percent is recommended, as this prevents the battery from completing too many full cycles. With the limit in place, you can safely ‘always be charging’ without worrying about degrading overall battery life. Optimum conditions for a lithium-ion battery is to keep the charge between 20 and 80 percent, and a full 100 percent charge is only recommended for long trips.

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4. Clean your battery

Dirt and grime that builds up on the battery terminals can cause the battery case to leak and, in the worst case, cause a short circuit. Corrosion on the terminals can also build up over time and can hinder the flow of electricity from the battery.

Check your battery regularly and remove surface dirt with a dry cloth or sponge.

Your mechanic can often rectify a heavy buildup of corrosion at your next scheduled service.

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5. Maintain your car regularly

A battery health check should be an integral part of your car’s regularly scheduled service. You can ask them to check the condition of your car battery at your next service, and there are plenty of other mobile options like RACV or your local state equivalent.

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