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Car Maintenance Tips

About car batteries

it stores energy in chemical form that is released on demand as electricity. The energy is used by the vehicle’s ignition system to crank the engine, as well as power the lights or other accessories. If your alternator fails, your vehicle can run on the battery alone, at least for a short period of time. Normally, however, as long as your engine is running, the alternator keeps the battery recharged. If you operate any electrical items with the engine off – such as power windows, the audio system or headlights – it will slowly drain.

Because automotive contain hydrogen-oxygen gases and sulfuric acid that can cause serious burns, you need to observe some precautions before you handle the battery. The American National Standards Institute recommends wearing safety glasses or goggles and a face shield. Other precautions include never leaning over the battery, working in a well-ventilated area and keeping all ignition sources like cigarettes away from the battery. Now, on to car care:

Water level

First, if your is an older type that’s not sealed, it’s important to make sure the water level is adequate. It’s easy to tell which type you have: unsealed batteries have small vent caps on top that can be easily unscrewed. If the water level is not up to the bottom of the cap, replenish it. For areas where the tap water is hard (with a high mineral content), use distilled water. If you’re really not sure if the local water is hard or soft, distilled water is your best and safest bet. Check the water levels often during hot summer months, as heat tends to evaporate water more quickly. If it water level is allowed to get too low, the heat generated within the battery will destroy its cells.

Terminals

Next, visually check the car its terminals (one is marked positive “+” and the other is marked negative “-“). Before cleaning the connections or removing the battery, disconnect the negative terminal first whenever you disconnect the battery cables from the terminals. Removing the positive connector can cause a spark, especially if you’re using a metal tool that comes in contact with any piece of metal on the car. The spark can create an ignition source that could cause to explode.

Car mechanic installing a new car battery

If the terminals are encrusted with deposits, clean them with a wire brush dipped in baking soda and water. These deposits can block the flow of electricity. Make sure not to splash any of the baking soda/water solution on the vehicle’s paint surfaces. Now, check the battery cable ends. A loose battery cable does an excellent impersonation of a totally dead battery. If there is any movement of the battery cable end that is attached to the terminal, it is too loose and needs tightening.

Brackets

Make sure the brackets that hold your in place are tight. Loose brackets will cause the battery to vibrate when the car is running and this constant vibration will shorten the life of the battery. It’s also wise to check the condition of the battery tray for corrosion. The function of it tray can be undermined if corrosion is apparent and isn’t stopped. If there’s minor corrosion, brush it off and apply an acid-resistant paint to the tray. If the tray has been weakened by corrosion, replace it. The condition of the tray and brackets is vital to keeping the battery from tipping over under the hood – a rare, but not unheard of mishap. A secure tray can also prevent excessive vibrations from damaging the battery.

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