Maintaining Your Honda Battery
There is so much talk on the internet these days about vehicle batteries and the significant breakthroughs in technology that we find ourselves focused on what may be instead of what is. We often forget about the conventional batteries that have stayed in our lives throughout our family road trips, hustles to work and car karaoke amongst friends. Your Honda’s car battery is one of those components in your vehicle that doesn’t get talked about day to day, yet it should be. With all of the newest technologies and gadgets, the charging and lighting of your Honda play an important role behind the scenes.
What Affects Battery Life?
Currently, the average age of a vehicle’s batteries on the road is about 4.5 years. Most experts say that the average life of a battery lasts from 3-5 years before needing to be replaced. We don’t want to pay for a new battery unless we need to, but we also want to make sure that the battery we’re using is still in safe, functioning condition. While it might be common to get 5-7 years of life from a battery, pushing the limits of your battery can lead to multiple risks. A failed battery can leave you stranded, result in a tow and certainly make you late for dinner. To understand how long our vehicle’s batteries last and why this is so, it is important to know what affects battery life aside from age.
It’s a frigid winter morning in January as you turn the key to start the engine. Your car sputters or the engine won’t start at all – we’ve all been there. It takes low temperatures to freeze a battery as the liquid electrolyte’s solution to spark and hold a charge is hindered. The effort of doing so puts repeated strain on your battery. According to AAA’s Automotive Research Center, at -17°C, a car’s battery loses about 60 percent of its strength. At just 0°C a battery is 35 percent weaker. With a wind chill, it doesn’t take very long for winter nights to reach this level.
We can’t remember everything, especially with five bags of groceries balanced along our arms and clutched in white-knuckled hands. Leaving the door open in your vehicle is a battery killer. The next day, your vehicle will be drained of battery power. The engine of our car won’t always be running, especially if we just want to listen to the radio, yet using infotainment systems with the car off can cause your battery to die prematurely. The power needed to start your engine is diminished as it is used to fuel the radio. Many vehicles today have automatic light shut-offs, but leaving the headlights on in your car for an extended amount of time will also labour your battery.
Repeated Short Drives
When starting your vehicle your battery will be using the most power. As you drive, the alternator needs the chance to recharge and recover. Turning the engine off before the alternator can recharge the battery will result in the power cells continued drain.
Tips to Extend the Life of Your Battery
Extreme cold and heat can impact your vehicle’s battery life. If you have a garage, use it as much as you can to ensure temperature fluctuations are reduced. Make an appointment with your dealer to get your battery checked. If your battery is about to die, it is better to know while you have the time to fix it. Watch out for grinding, clicking sounds when you start your engine or headlights that are suspiciously dim when idling. Should it be an extra cold day, use a block heater to plug your car in and you’ll wake up to a toasty engine.
There are going to be things you won’t be able to control about your batteries life, but preparation is the key to extending it safely. Unplug and turn off vehicle accessories after each trip. GPS, phones and other personal electronics may draw power from the battery even after the vehicle is turned off. Reevaluate what you need within your vehicle by unplugging it after every trip to prevent these parasitic draws. Monitor how you idle your vehicle or how much you use it while the engine is off. If you have a keyless remote, keep your keys away from your vehicle when parked. Most keyless remote keys will communicate with the vehicle when they are within its proximity. Hanging your keys inside the garage or just inside the door can cause the vehicle to activate these communications and run down the battery. Keep your battery fully charged. If you don’t drive often, consider a trickle charger to charge the battery when you aren’t driving. Should you go on a drive that is less than 10 minutes, make a circle around your neighbourhood to give your alternator the chance to recharge in preparation for the next day.
Knowing when to replace your battery can be a bit of a headache. Like most maintenance items on a vehicle, a battery doesn’t get assigned a replacement lifecycle. The battery is the heart of your vehicle. Going beyond a 5 year window for your battery may be considered borrowed time. Major battery replacement manufacturers do not warrant replacement beyond 4 years, some may go to a 6 year replacement boundary based on proration. If you haven’t replaced your battery in the last five years, consider it a regular maintenance item. Winter has not hit its peak yet, keep a look-out in Honda’s newsletter for a coupon and an offer to have a test and replacement if needed.