Automotive Auto Autonomy: Battery Basics

Published on October 17th, 2012 | by Jordan

How to Increase the Lifespan of your Battery

If you’re like most drivers, you likely don’t think about your vehicle battery until your car fails to start. This week in our Auto Autonomy series, we’ll show you how to maintain these oft-forgotten power-packs. Though they aren’t typically part of your seasonal car care schedule, or require a lot of upkeep and maintenance, it’s easy to prolong their lifespan with a few simple steps.

Keeping the battery clean and dry

• Clean the battery’s surface to avoid discharge and corrosion on its surface
• Do your best to ensure oil and grease don’t stick to the top of the battery during fluid changes
• Bicarbonate baking soda and water are effective at cleaning batteries
Never remove vent caps and always wear safety glasses

Check the battery terminals

• If you notice dirty or corroded terminals, clean them with bicarbonate baking soda
• Ensure that the terminals are dry before reconnecting
• Terminals can be coated with heat-resistant grease

Avoid vibrations

• Unsecured batteries can vibrate due to casual driving
• This can cause internal damage and result in shortened battery life expectancy
• Ensure your battery is properly fastened in place

Recharging dead batteries

• Batteries can die due to lights and accessories being left on or electrical faults
• Depleted batteries should be properly recharged at service facilities
• Overcharging a battery can produce corrosion and lead to rapid deterioration and reduced lifespan

CCA and RC Ratings

• CCA stands for Cold Cranking Amps, and it’s the industry recognized standard for defining starter power. Any battery’s ability to perform is measured by the amount of current the battery can deliver at 0° Fahrenheit (-18° Celsius) over 30 seconds, while maintaining a voltage equivalent of 1.2 volts per cell or higher. A 12-volt battery must maintain a voltage equivalent of 7.2 volts.
• RC stands for Reserve Capacity, and this measurement represents the number of minutes at 80° Fahrenheit (26.7°Celsius) that a battery can supply a load of 25 amps and maintain a voltage of 1.75 volts or higher per cell (10.5 volts for a 12-volt battery.)

As a CAA Member, if you ever experience problems getting your vehicle to start, you can request Battery Service to test the life of your battery and boost it if necessary. Or, if the battery requires replacement, we can install a new CAA Green Power battery with exclusive Member pricing.

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