For such a little thing, a car battery can cause a lot of frustration. Once your car battery starts going, you'll often find yourself stranded -- unless you have a battery pack on you. But there are ways that you can extend the life of your car battery, thus avoiding costly battery replacement charges and inconvenient calls to roadside assistance.
1. Never Leave It On
Everyone has had that moment: you left your car's lights on and now it's dead. Every single time you do this, you harm the battery. It isn't just that you need to get your car jumped; you may also need to purchase a new battery entirely. Get into the habit of double checking your vehicle when you leave to make sure that the interior lights go off and you don't have your daytime running lights on.
2. Disconnect When Not In Use
If your vehicle isn't going to be in use for a while -- such as when you're on vacation -- you should have someone knowledgeable disconnect the battery entirely. This will throw off your system clock, but this doesn't have any other adverse side effects. There's always some draw on the battery, however slight. If you leave the car idle for a long period of time, it's likely it won't be able to start when you come back.
3. Install an Insulation Blanket
An insulation blanket fits over the battery and helps avoid temperature extremes. Like all batteries, a car battery functions poorly when it's either too hot or too cold. Prolonged exposure to these extremes -- which can be especially bad if you do not keep your vehicle in an enclosed garage -- could shorten the life of your battery.
4. Take It In For a Cleaning
You should check under your hood frequently to make sure that there aren't any visible issues in your engine. In particular, if your battery looks like it's becoming dirty or corroded, you may want to take it in to your mechanic for cleaning. In fact, if your car doesn't start, sometimes it can actually be remedied by just cleaning off the battery pack.
If you find that your car's battery is dying a lot, there may be something wrong with your vehicle. You may want to check with your mechanic. There may be something that is drawing power within your vehicle when it should be idle, such as a faulty interior or exterior light.