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Reducing battery deterioration explained

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Why battery deterioration happens and how you can help reduce it
Delphi Technologies Expert attaching jumper cables to a car battery.
Batteries Need to Know Technicians 1 min read

Battery failure is a very common vehicle fault and infuriating for motorists.

Here are nine pieces of valuable advice you can give your customers to help them preserve the condition of their vehicle batteries.

How long do car batteries last?

Car batteries on average last between three and five years. One of the important factors that can vary this lifespan is weather. Warm weather can cause fluid in car batteries to evaporate, which damages the internal structure of the battery.  A lot of driving (and idling) on very hot days will severely drain a car battery, which leads to an increased chance of a dead battery. Car battery life is typically a lot shorter in hot climates.

Extremely cold weather can impair a battery’s performance too. In periods of cold weather where customers can’t use their vehicles, the battery loses its ability to recharge, so the vehicle should be run at least once every two weeks.

  1. Check acid levels

    A car battery that’s constantly undercharged, or stays at a charge below 80%, can produce acid stratification. This can cause great damage, as electrolytes will concentrate at the bottom of the battery and leave the upper half lacking. Offer to check acid levels at regular service intervals.
  2. Test, test, test

    Recommend to your customers that they bring their vehicle to you for annual or even quarterly check-ups to assess battery health.
  3. Don’t leave the car dormant for too long

    If you leave a car for too long without driving it, the battery will drain down. Urge your customers to make sure the car is driven regularly to ensure the vehicle’s battery is charged.
  4. Reduce short rides

    Maintain battery power by driving it frequently and for extended periods.
  5. Turn off electronics while idling

    Extended periods of idling can draw the battery to power functions without the battery being recharged enough; similar to the effect of short rides. This kind of drain can wear a battery prematurely. Encourage your customers to turn off things like the radio and air conditioning when idling to help batteries to last longer.
  6. The battery affects the rest of the vehicle

    A battery that can’t generate sufficient power means that the starter motor armature can’t rotate at the speeds it’s designed to. This creates higher resistance within the motor and also tends to draw more current. It also means that the starting procedure takes longer. This prolongs the starter motor operating time, which can overload components.
  7. Turn off all the lights

    Any lights accidentally left on can drain a car battery significantly. This is easily overlooked, but essential to preserve battery life.
  8. Watch for corrosion

    All batteries corrode over time, but keeping them free from corrosion is a great way to preserve battery life. Offer a battery cleaning to your customer every time the vehicle is serviced.
  9. Keep batteries securely fastened

    Your customer’s battery terminal should be checked regularly to ensure it’s correctly positioned on the mounting bracket. This is part of a standard mandatory check. Failing to do this can result in short circuits and internal damage to the battery.

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