How to keep your car's battery in good conditions

Car batteries have a limited life time, typically about three to six years, but following a few tips and taking care of your car's battery maintenance you can make sure to get the most out of it. Most of the car batteries available today are “low maintenance” or “maintenance free”, which means that they don't require any major intervention by the owner. Even in these cases a little extra care will guarantee optimal working conditions and a longer life.


  • Make sure that the cables are firmly tied to the battery terminals. Always connect each cable to the proper terminal, as inverting the cables would damage the car's electric system. Most cars are designed in a way that make it quite hard to accidentally switch connections, but it's always good to check the poles before connecting them.

  • The battery terminals should be kept clean and dust free. Clean the battery terminals with a wire brush every two-three months.

  • As an extra you can even coat the terminals with grease to prevent the formation of rust and corrosion.

  • Disconnect the car battery if you plan to leave the car parked for more than a week. A parked car doesn't waste much current, but the cumulative effect day after day can drain your battery's charge.

  • Avoid frequent short trips. During a short trip the battery doesn't have time to get properly recharged. You should drive the car around for 20-30 minutes at least a couple of times each week to give the battery a good charge. In order to recharge the battery a steady drive at moderate speed is better than frequent stop and go.

  • Perform a load test periodically, or if you notice any problem.

  • If cold temperatures are common where you live install a battery heater or insulate the battery, as car batteries suffer in a cold environment.

  • Periodically check the status light indicator on batteries that offer this feature.

  • Check the battery's water level and add distilled water if necessary. Make sure to always use distilled water and not tap water as the latter may cause corrosion on the terminals.

  • Never over charge the battery.


If despite all your care and attention the car battery dies you can try to jump start and drive around for a while to recharge it. If the problem persists you should consider to replace the car battery or have the car checked for other possible problems at the charge system (e.g. alternator).