How To Increase the Life of Your Car Battery

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Most vehicle batteries last between three and five years. Bad habits can shorten that lifespan significantly. What’s worse, you may not even realize what you’re doing. Fortunately, you can make your 2007 Nissan Altima battery — or any vehicle battery — last longer by following some useful tips.

Minimize Power While Engine Is Off

You probably remember to turn off all your lights when parking and exiting the vehicle. However, allowing it to sit too long can also result in deep discharges. Frequent trips, especially moderate to long ones at highway speeds, help recharge the battery. Take note of some other tips to help preserve battery life:

  • Check battery case, terminals and electrolyte levels once per week.
  • Keep your battery terminals cleaned and tightly secured. 
  • Turn accessories off before parking the vehicle: radio, air conditioner and so forth.
  • Avoid short trips whenever possible. 

Test Your Battery Regularly

Besides smart battery care practices, you should test your battery frequently. But how do you know what to look for? You must pay attention to voltage levels. A standard vehicle battery starts with 12.6 volts of charge. Believe it or not, a charge less than 12.45 volt means your battery is low. Below 12 volts, your battery is considered discharged.

Testing your battery is easy. You can buy a multimeter for around $20 at many auto parts stores. You’ll want to set your meter to 20 DC volts, then touch the negative black probe to the black terminal and the positive red probe to the red terminal.

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If your ready is below 12.45 volts and you have a battery charger, try charging the battery yourself. When charging is complete, try starting the vehicle. Turn on the vehicle’s headlights and heater blower motor, then check the battery’s voltage again. Again, this reading shouldn’t dip below 12.45 volts when accessories are running.

If you don’t have a multimeter or a battery charger, you can get your battery tested at many aftermarket auto parts retailers. AutoZone, for instance, offers free battery testing and charging.

Choose the Best Battery for Your Vehicle

Of course, getting the most out of your vehicle battery starts with buying the right one in the first place. When searching for car battery numbers explained, you’ll want to pay attention to battery size, cold cranking amps and reserve capacity. Battery size is indicated by a two- or three-digit alphanumeric code. For instance, a 2007 Nissan Altima typically takes a size 35 battery.

Overall power capacity and cold-weather starting are also key. Cold cranking amps measure how much power a battery can supply: specifically, the number of amps supplied at zero degrees Fahrenheit for 30 seconds while maintaining 7.2 volts. Reserve capacity is the number of minutes that a battery can deliver 25 amps and maintain a minimum of 10.5 volts while at 80 degrees Fahrenheit before its voltage drops.

Stay Powered Up

Any automotive battery, including an RV battery, should provide the power a vehicle needs. But as a vehicle owner, it’s also your job to take care of the battery. Proper care ensures that you’ll get to your destinations and avoid draining your battery too soon.