They’re considered laws of nature: when you have tickets for the ballgame, it will rain. And the greater your hurry, the more likely you are to get behind the wheel to find the battery dead. Jiffy Lube® can’t change the weather, but we can help predict and preserve your car battery life.
Let’s tackle the big question first: How long does a car battery last? Answer: 4-6 years. That’s good news because, thanks to technological advancements, car battery life is longer than before. While there’s nothing anyone can do to make a battery last forever, there are things you can do to help extend its life.
To better understand how to maintain your battery, let’s look at what it does and how it does it.
WHAT DOES A BATTERY DO?
A lot! A 12-volt vehicle battery is often referred to as an SLI battery because it’s responsible for:
It’s hard to exaggerate the importance of the battery to your vehicle’s operation. Without the electricity stored in your battery, your car, truck, minivan or SUV simply will not start. The battery also provides short-term power when the engine is off, enabling you to turn on the lights, raise and lower the windows, open the door locks, operate the heater’s blower and play the radio.
HOW DOES YOUR BATTERY WORK?
It’s at the heart of your vehicle’s starting and charging system, consisting of the battery, starter and alternator all working together.
The battery contains electrical energy.
The starter draws upon that energy and converts it to mechanical energy to crank the engine.
The alternator produces an electric current that replaces the energy the starter drew from the battery.
The cycle repeats, over and over, to keep the engine going.
The battery also performs like a surge protector under the hood of your car, stabilizing the voltage to help safeguard the starting and charging system and keep your vehicle running smooth and safe.
MODERN VEHICLES USE ELECTRICAL ENERGY IN NEW WAYS
Today’s cars have control modules that operate braking, steering, lighting, navigation, etc. Consistent power is required to enable those modules to retain their memory, so there’s always a small electrical load on the battery. Always. Even when the car is not running. Even when it’s parked in your garage overnight.
Did you know that even a small electrical current can eventually drain the power from the battery to the point where the vehicle won’t start? This can occur in as little as two to three weeks and usually happens to highly-optioned vehicles in long-term storage.
These options have a direct impact on your battery. All those cool new options designed to make driving more fun and life easier are actually draining power from, and shortening the longevity of, your car battery!
YOUR DRIVING STYLE CAN IMPACT BATTERY LIFE
How have you been driving? If you make a lot of short trips, or frequently find yourself in stop-and-go traffic, the alternator may not have a chance to fully charge the battery.
Where have you been driving? If you’ve been traveling on unpaved, dusty roads or near highway construction, you may find that dirt and debris have made their way under the hood and are interfering with your battery’s terminal connections.
SO CAN OLD MAN WINTER
Winter weather can be especially hard on your battery. It gets dark earlier, so of course you’re using your headlights and heater more, which can drain your battery. Ice-melting road salt can make its way under your hood, just like dirt does, and can damage battery terminals.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Can you have an impact on how long does a car battery last? Yes!
A LITTLE DIY
There are things you can do on your own. Before you take on these tasks, make sure your engine is turned off and disconnect the battery cables. Always undo the negative cable first and then the positive cable (Important: refer to your vehicle owner’s manual for instructions). Please wear goggles and kitchen or rubber gloves.
Your battery is constructed of a plastic box or housing. Inspect the housing for cracks, wet spots or bulges. Oil residue and dirt can build up on the housing and make it hard to see any damage, so wipe it with a cloth or paper towel. If you spot any damage, bring your vehicle in to Jiffy Lube® for a check.
Clean and dry the battery terminals. Corrosion can interfere with battery performance, so remove it with a homemade mixture: one tablespoon of baking soda dissolved in one cup of distilled water. Using a toothbrush, gently scrub away the corrosion. Wipe the clean terminals with a damp cloth and then, using another rag, dry them completely.
Now make sure the battery is secure. Excess vibration can shorten its life. Grasp the battery and try to move it side-to-side. The battery shouldn’t budge.
Remember to be careful when you reattach the cables. If you aren’t comfortable working on your battery yourself (it’s OK, many drivers aren’t), you can stop by any Jiffy lube location and let the pros take a look at it.
STICK TO THE SCHEDULE
Consistent, timely maintenance is a major contributor to battery longevity. It’s generally recommended that batteries be checked twice a year (every 6 months or 6,000 miles). You’ll find the maintenance schedule for your specific vehicle in the owner’s manual. No manual? No problem! Jiffy Lube technicians can access your car’s maintenance schedule and the recommended procedures.
BE ON THE LOOKOUT
Your battery will let you know if a between-inspection check is necessary. Are the lights a little dimmer? Do you hear a clicking sound when you turn the key or press the ignition button? Did you experience a slow crank during start-up? Is the “charging” light on? Any one of these signs should send you on your way to Jiffy Lube to have your battery inspected.
RELY ON JIFFY LUBE FOR BATTERY MAINTENANCE
Since battery testing is included with every Jiffy Lube Signature Service® Oil Change, you can be confident that Jiffy Lube technicians will help keep your vehicle on the road. Battery maintenance can also be done as a standalone service, so if you notice any troubling signs with your battery between oil changes, don’t hesitate to bring your vehicle in. A TRAINED JIFFY LUBE TECHNICIAN WILL:
Visually inspect your battery, including the hold down and connections
Perform a thorough terminal cleaning (as needed with your approval)
Replace cables (as needed, and with your approval)
Electrically test the battery, including OCV (Open Circuit Voltage) and CCA (Cold Cranking Amps)
Inspect and adjust your battery fluid level (if possible)
Remember, you’re in capable hands with Jiffy Lube. We’re dedicated to helping you keep your vehicle running right. That’s why we use quality Pennzoil® products whenever possible and consistently install parts which meet or exceed Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) recommendations.