Imagine you're running out the door, late for work. You hop into your car and turn the key, only to hear ... nothing. The car won't start.
Car batteries fail at the most inconvenient times. People rely on their vehicles, and even seemingly minor issues can cause major problems in your day. So how do you prevent this problem?
The first thing you can do is pay attention, as a vehicle battery, like any other battery, fades over time. It should last anywhere from 3-7 years and changing it before it fails is your best bet.
Here are a few ways to keep your car battery in tip-top shape and get as much life out of it as you can:
Get it checked during your regular oil change
Asking your mechanic to test your battery every time you get a routine oil change is an easy way to ensure you know how much longer it has.
"Battery wear isn’t always steady — your vehicle’s battery could go from 90 percent performance to 20 percent over the course of a few months," according to warrantywise. "Regular tests can reveal when your battery needs to be replaced and help you avoid embarrassing breakdowns."
Know the signs
If your headlights get brighter when you stop and rev your car, it's a sign that your car battery is failing. Other signs are that the starter motor turns the engine over slower than usual, even if the battery is fully charged, and the dash lights get dim or flicker when starting the engine, according to Testing Autos.
Keep it charged
If you mostly make short trips, like dropping kids at school or running errands around town, your battery won't last as long as if you drive farther every day.
"Your car needs 20 minutes to fully recharge," according to doityourself.com. "If you aren’t allowing your car the chance to do this, the battery will more quickly reach the point where it can no longer hold a charge."
Another tip: Turn off your lights and air conditioning when the engine is shut off, and unplug any technological devices to avoid draining the battery.
Your car's battery is exposed to a lot of dust, grime and dirt on a day-to-day basis. Scrubbing off any sign of corrosion or filth from the terminals and connected wires will extend its lifespan.
Brave the elements
Weather matters when it comes to your battery's life and performance.
"Most car batteries use a liquid electrolyte solution to hold a charge, which is affected by hot or cold weather," according to Popular Mechanics. "While it takes extremely low temperatures to freeze a battery, cold reduces the solution's ability to transfer full power."
With winter around the corner, it could help to keep your vehicle in a garage or even under covered parking, when possible.
These simple tips will increase your battery's reliability and give you peace of mind. For help maintaining your battery or to replace a dead battery, visit Jensen Tire & Auto at any of its 21 locations.