Infiniti FX37: Auto Battery Care and Maintenance
It can be every driver's worst nightmare—the car suddenly losing power and stopping dead in its tracks, leaving the driver stuck on the road, calling for roadside assistance and paying for a tow. A dead battery could very well be the culprit. So instead of taking a risk with a dying battery, you might as well do a few minutes of seasonal battery checkup to save you from a no-start situation. Here are some tips for auto battery care and maintenance:
Check the battery case for cracks or any sign of damage. If you spot a crack, then the battery needs to be replaced. Aside from the case, also take a look at the terminal connections to see if they're sealed tight or coated with any trace of leak or corrosion. Leaks and corrosion can hinder the battery's reliable performance. See if the battery is near the end of its service life through a purchase date chart on the battery or a decal on the battery case.
- Clean the battery cables and terminals.
As you check on the car battery, you may find some corrosion from the top of the battery and around the cables. These should be removed to keep the battery in good working condition. You may clean off the corrosion around the cables using a post cleaner. Alternatively, you may use a mixture of 1 tbsp. baking soda and 1 cup water. With a non-metallic brush, get rid of corrosion. Afterwards, you may flush this with cool water. To fully remove any trace of corrosion around the battery terminals and cables, you may have to disconnect the cables.
- Check the car battery water/electrolyte level.
To check the water level of the battery, you need to remove the covers of the battery cells. See if there's any electrolyte or water and acid mixture. If the battery needs to be topped off with water, be sure to use clean distilled water. Also, be careful not to overfill the cells.
- Assess the condition and charge of the battery.
To see if the battery is properly charged, you'll need to conduct a test. Use a hydrometer to test the electrolytes in all cells. Take note of the readings. If one of the results differs from other readings, consider replacing the battery. However, if the results are consistent, even if they're low or fair, the battery only has to be recharged. The battery is about to fail or has a low charge if the headlights and taillights have decreased brightness at idle but light up fully when revving the engine. Another sign of a dying battery is when the vehicle can't be fired up right away as the starter turns slowly. However, aside from a failing battery, this may also be caused by a problem with the alternator wiring, which can keep the battery from charging. In which case, you may also want to check if the fan belt is loose, glazed, or cracked. The battery's low charge or shorter life can be the result of frequent short trips or powering up too many accessories and leaving them on. To save on battery life, it'll help if you'll unplug some accessories. Also be sure to switch off the lights and when you turn off the vehicle.