Things You Can Check on Your Vehicle's Battery from the service professionals at Subaru of San Bernardino

When your level of fuel gets too low, you naturally head to the gas station for more gas - because you want your car to start and carry on with your life. But what about your car's battery? It too has a level of power that dwindles over time and, without it, your Subaru is going nowhere fast. But monitoring the health of your battery is a little trickier than watching a needle in a dashboard gauge. Here are four tips from the Subaru of San Bernardino experts that'll help you monitor and maintain your car's battery - to give it the longest service life possible.

Learn a few quick tips to keep your battery healthy!

#4: Battery Terminal Corrosion

As they experience countless charge and recharge cycles, car batteries can develop a corrosive build-up on the connecting points called posts. Over time, this corrosion can become so bad it interrupts the electrical connection from the battery. This can lead to sluggish starting, dim headlights and even prevent the engine from starting at all.

You can use a wire brush or a special battery post cleaning tool to remove this corrosion. A popular urban legend suggests that the one way to clean corrosion from the battery is to use Coke as a solvent - and, while it might technically work, we (obviously) can't recommend using sugary beverages to clean any part of your car. Simply scraping the posts clean should do the trick.

Learn how to check your battery fluid levels.

#3: Battery Charge Level

A multimeter is a digital tool that measures electrical currents - and if you've got one, you can use it to check the level of charge in your battery. As a general rule of thumb, your battery should read at 12.45 volts or more if it's properly charged. A reading between 12 and 12.45 volts indicates that your battery needs to be charged, and any reading below 12 volts indicates that the battery is almost completely discharged.

As you drive along, the alternator recharges the battery so that the battery can start your car up the next time you turn the key in the ignition. A battery that can't hold a charge will give you trouble when you go to start the car, and need to be replaced.

Let the service professionals at Subaru of San Bernardino test your battery health.

#2: Battery Fluid Level

Most modern car batteries are sealed, which means you can't access their nougat-y center. Over time, small amounts of battery acid will evaporate and, eventually, you'll find yourself with a dead battery that will need to be replaced.

However, some car batteries come with small holes and plastic covers in the top of the case. If you're the type to wrench on your own car, you may prefer these batteries, as you can top off the battery acid with distilled water as it evaporates. You may be able to have an even longer battery life with a non-sealed battery such as this. Just check periodically to make sure the fluid is covering the battery plates inside. If it's not, add distilled water until they're entirely submerged again. Ordinary tap or bottled water should not be used, as it contains minerals that can damage the battery's internals.

#1: Keep Alive Memory

Modern cars have extremely sophisticated computers that monitor and control almost every system that makes your car run. As the engine ages, the computer makes mild adjustments to things like engine timings and fuel mixture and so much more to keep your car running smoothly and performing as best it can.

When your car sits parked, a tiny amount of electricity from the battery maintains a function of the computer called Keep Alive Memory. It stores all the engine computer settings when your car is off. If the battery totally discharges, or you go to replace the battery, you could interrupt power to the Keep Alive Memory. The engine computer will then start from scratch, and need to re-learn all the adjustments it made over the life of your car. This can lead to problems like rough idling, bad gas mileage and poor-feeling shifts, as the computer readjusts itself.

If you plan to replace a battery yourself, be sure to check your vehicle's Keep Alive Memory needs. Usually, plugging in a small power source to the computer will save the Keep Alive Memory information while you swap out the old battery.

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Subaru of San Bernardino

645 Auto Center Dr
Directions San Bernardino, CA 92408

  • Sales: 909-888-8686
  • Service: 909-571-5305
  • Parts: 909-571-5397
  1. Subaru of San Bernardino

    645 Auto Center Dr
    San Bernardino, CA 92408

    • Sales: (877) 501-8065

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