The modern vehicles of today rely on batteries more than ever before. Your car battery supplies an electrical current to the starter motor so it can crank the engine, and it also provides power to a wide variety of electrical items when your engine is turned off, like lights and the radio. This integral part of your engine is something many people take for granted, but it is something that needs to be maintained. How do you know when your battery needs to be serviced? Read on for some helpful tips.
Your engine is extremely hot, and this can cause the chemicals in your battery to degrade over time. A heat shield can help to protect your battery, but it’s not always a sure thing. As you drive, vibration can also degrade the battery so make sure you have the proper hold-down hardware installed. This special hardware helps to reduce movement and keep the battery safely in place. There are some warning signs that your battery could be weak. These signs include:
- Your starter motor is cranking the engine more slowly than normal.
- Your headlights are suddenly dim, especially when your car is idling
- The battery warning light is illuminated on your dashboard
- You notice flashing or intermittent power surges with electrical components
If you notice any of these warning signs, it may be time to have your battery examined and serviced.
What You Can Do
Before you take your vehicle in for service, take a closer look at the battery connections. Over time, battery acid and other buildups can cause these connections to be weakened. If they appear dirty, make a mixture of water and baking soda, and scrub the connectors gently with a toothbrush. This will safely remove any buildup, and you should notice an improvement in performance. If it’s still not working as it should, you may need to bring your car to a professional mechanic can test the battery’s power level. In many cases, you may just need a simple recharge. Battery recharge is less expensive than a new battery and it should help to bring it back to life, at least temporarily.
Always be aware of potential safety hazards when working near or on a car battery. When in doubt, it’s always best to take your vehicle to our professionals so we can take a closer look and give you the right recommendations for your battery needs.