With Father’s Day coming up, it’s important to look back at some of the wise and wonderful life advice your dad has bestowed upon you as you’ve grown up. Take your car for example, many dads know a thing or two about how to best look after a car. While we’re sure your dad has passed this knowledge on to you many times in life, it’s probably also true that you never wrote it down. But worry not, these 5 tips on how to keep your car moving should help you jog your memory and keep the advice your dad gave you about car maintenance top of mind.
1. Never ignore the ‘check engine’ light on your dash
This one is key! When car manufacturers create warning systems, they do so with a purpose. Your check engine light, or any other warning light on your car’s dash, is there to help prevent you from having an unwanted breakdown. For example, when the ‘check battery’ symbol lights up, it could only be one of two things, the alternator or the battery. Testing both these important components is rather simple. Just pop into your nearest battery specialist, and they will do a complete assessment of your battery and alternator. And the best part is – it’s free. If the battery needs replacing, it’s quick, easy and most of all, affordable.
2. Be safe when jumpstarting a car
If your car was parked for a while during lockdown, or you simply ignored the ‘check battery’ symbol, don’t stress. All you need is a set of jumper cables and a friend’s car. Just make sure you follow the safe jumpstarting protocols. Make sure both cars are turned off. To be safe, remove the key from the ignition and place it on the seat. Then follow these steps:
- Connect the red jumper cable (positive) to the positive terminal of stalled cars battery.
- Connect the red jumper cable (positive) to the positive terminal of the good car’s battery.
- Connect the black jumper cable (negative) to the negative terminal of the good car’s battery.
- Connect the black jumper cable (negative) to the negative terminal of the stalled cars battery.
- Start the good car and let it run for 3 – 5 minutes, then start the stalled car.
- Remove the cables in reverse order, black first, red follows.
- Take the stalled car for a drive to get the battery recharged.
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3. Minimise power usage when the car is turned off
Car batteries are happiest when they’re close to a full charge. For this reason, always make sure you have turned the radio off, double-checked the lights, and checked all the doors are closed before leaving your car parked anywhere. That way, the warning systems won’t drain any unnecessary power and your car will be able to start without a problem when you return.
4. Always keep your battery terminals clean
Check the battery does not have residue around the terminals, this negatively impacts the performance of your car battery. Corrosion causes high-resistance that results in terminals heating up and reduces the charge output, making your battery work harder to start the car. Clean the battery by using an old toothbrush and a mixture of baking powder and hot water. This safely removes the corrosion. Remember to turn the car off before cleaning the terminals.
5. Check your battery at least twice a year
In addition to having your fluid levels checked, it’s also important that you have your battery checked at least twice a year by a specialist. You can do this at home with a voltmeter, but it’s best to take your car to the trusted battery specialists, not only will they check the health of your battery, but they will also check your alternator, for free.
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