Holiday weekends are a perfect time to take a road trip to explore nearby tourism areas. Trips that are close enough to home but far enough away to relax, make great road trips. While you’re making your “to-do” list of travel essentials, be sure to add battery maintenance to your list before you hit the road. Making sure your battery is in the right condition will ensure a much smoother ride for you and your passengers.
There are a few simple steps you can do yourself or take to a trusted mechanic to ensure your battery is prepared for a road trip:
- Inspection - begin by popping the hood and inspecting your battery. Look for any corroded cables or connectors, dirt, or any other abnormalities. Most often what you’ll identify is corrosion. In lead acid batteries, the positive battery corrodes more often than the negative cable. This occurs because the battery is not a sealed unit, although it appears so, and breathes out battery acid which attaches to the positive terminal. The result is a chemical reaction due to the positive post, energy, and battery acid.
Don’t let the corrosion concern you too much, as the corrosion you visually see is not as bad as it may appear. However, the concern lies where it connects to the battery on the inside of the cable connection and the battery terminal. As the corrosion builds, it will begin to eat away the cables and wires. The more corrosion on the outside of the unit, the more it is likely to consume and damage the insulation, get into the cables, and continue to spread.
- Clean - Keeping the outside of the battery clean helps keep corrosion at bay. If you notice that the outside of the battery is dirty, it is also likely the inside connection is dirty, as well.
To clean the battery:
- Disconnect cables
- Clean the inside of the connectors and the outside of the terminals—both male and female, with a steel brush, sand paper, or a steel wool scrubber.
- Test – The battery should be tested as often as every oil change or at the very least, once per year. The battery should be checked for cranking amps and voltage. A new battery will begin with about 500 amps, however, as batteries age, the number of amps decreases. It’s important to find a decent, heavy duty commercial battery tester in order to get the most accurate reading. This will allow you to identify the temperature of the battery, voltage, and amps.
The Benefit of Professional Battery Care
While performing DIY maintenance on your battery is perfectly acceptable, a professional will be able to identify problem areas that you may have otherwise overlooked. If a battery needs to be replaced, a technician can easily replace it for you saving the hassle of having to purchase and exchange your new and old batteries. Technicians perform battery maintenance often and possess expert tools and equipment, making battery maintenance a breeze. They use specialized chemicals for battery cleaning and are able to test the battery in an efficient manner by connecting an expert testing machine to the terminals. They enter the batteries original cranking amps into the testing machine. Then they obtain temperature of the battery, as this will affect the end results. Finally, the technician will draw from the battery to complete the test to identify whether or not the number has decreased faster than it should and determine if the battery has a bad cell or is perishing.
Taking a road trip can be enjoyable by all and there are wonderful memories to be made. Don’t let one of those memories be of you and your passengers immobilized by a dead battery. Stop into Sun Auto Service for a battery inspection before your next road trip. Our friendly technicians will test the amps and voltage readings of your battery and clean the cables and terminals. Most batteries struggle to last more than one or two summers in the southwest and if a battery replacement is needed, we’ve got you covered there, too. We provide top-quality batteries that are built to stand up to the demands of a severe climates common in the southwest. You’ll love that our batteries come with an unprecedented 5-year replacement warranty. For details or to schedule your next battery maintenance service, click here.