You Are At: AllSands Home > Howto > Car battery maintenance
The battery in your car is one item that most people do not think about until it stops working. Dead batteries are one of the main reasons for road emergencies. There are a few simple steps that can be taken to insure the battery in your car is always in tip top shape. It is very important to check your battery often to make sure everything is functioning correctly. Even with most batteries today sealed there are still some that need to have the water checked. If your battery is not sealed, there will be small caps on top that can be unscrewed. Simply unscrew these caps and check the water level. The water should come up to the bottom of the caps. If it does not, you can add enough tap water to bring it to the right level unless the water in your area is hard. If this is the case you should add distilled water instead. This should be done often during the warmer months when the heat tends to evaporate the water. When the water levels get too low in a battery, the heat will destroy the battery cells.

Always be sure when you check your battery to check the brackets that hold your battery in place. Loose brackets will cause a battery to vibrate which in turn will shorten its life. Brackets can be easily tightened and should be checked often. If battery acid has corroded the brackets, they can be cleaned with a wire brush and sprayed with a penetrating oil such as WD40. If you find that severe corrosion has occurred, you should change out the brackets. It is also good to disconnect the battery and lift it out so you can inspect the tray. If there is corrosion, brush it off thoroughly and apply an acid resistant paint. If the tray has been weakened by corrosion, remove it. Since many trays are welded in today, there may not be bolts to take it out so simply chip it out. Auto parts stores sell vinyl coated replacements that can be installed by drilling holes in the part the old tray was attached to and then lining up the holes in the new tray. These can be bolted together to form a new tray base for your battery.

If you're using an older battery you might find from time to time that the engine of your car cranks slower than usual. If this occurs you might need to recharge your battery. This most commonly occurs when you are using your car for short runs in town or when the weather is cold. Even though you can replace a weak battery, recharging is an inexpensive alternative that will last for weeks or even months in some cases. If you notice the light that shows your discharge during engine operations located on your dash is coming on while the car is running you can be sure there is a charging system fault. If this occurs you should have it repaired immediately since recharging the battery will not fix the problem. While recharging a battery you should remove the water replacement caps and place a damp rag across the openings. If your battery is sealed is should have a charge indicator window on top. You will only need to recharge a sealed battery if the window is green or dark. If this window shows yellow or clear the battery will need to be replaced. If you recharge your battery use a trickle charger which is relatively inexpensive. Simply attach the alligator clips on the charger to your battery. The red clip should be attached to your positive side and the green or black to the negative side of your battery.