Many people check their vehicles before taking a road trip. They check the tires, the oil, transmission fluid and coolant. But they don’t think about the battery and charging system. Making sure the battery is reliable and the alternator is charging means your vehicle starts smoothly and has the power for all the essential components, including lights. If the battery dies in the middle of nowhere, you’ll have to call a tow truck to rescue you. You won’t be able to charge your phone or use the vehicle’s lights.
Pre-Trip Inspection in The Woodlands TX
Vehicle batteries don’t last forever. They can also get corroded, and the terminals can come loose. You should make it a habit of checking the battery every month, especially before you go on a trip. Check the terminals for corrosion and clean them if they show corrosion. Make sure they are not loose – if so, tighten them. Make sure the battery brace is tight and that the battery is not puffed out or otherwise damaged.
Cleaning the Battery Terminals
Corrosion shows up as a white powdery substance on the terminals. Always use gloves and safety goggles when cleaning the terminals.
- Make sure the engine is off.
- Remove the key from the ignition.
- Disconnect the terminals. Always start with the negative (-) terminal. It’s the black cable. Take care not to touch both terminals at the same time.
- Clean the terminals with a mixture of baking soda and water or battery terminal cleaner. You may need a wire brush to get some of the more stubborn deposits off.
- Rinse the battery terminals off with water.
- Dry the terminals with a clean cloth.
- Reconnect the terminals starting with the positive (+) cable. This is usually a red cable. Make sure they are snug but do not over-tighten them.
If you are not comfortable cleaning the battery terminals, we can clean them at Repair One.
Battery Test at Repair One in The Woodlands TX
You can do a battery check and charging system check at the same time at Repair One. One of our technicians will do an alternator and battery test to ensure the battery is holding a charge and the alternator is charging properly.
Keeping the Battery Charged
If you don’t use your vehicle often, the battery can go dead, especially when temperatures are cooler. Hooking a battery maintainer up to the vehicle can save you from the frustration of a dead battery. Be sure to choose a maintainer that automatically turns off when the battery is charged and on when you need it.
You can also drive your vehicle for a half-hour once per week instead of using a battery maintainer, but the maintainer leaves no room for error – in case you forget or don’t drive for a long enough time.
Avoid Excessive Short Trips
Short trips do not give the alternator time to recharge the battery. Try combining errands into one longer trip or, if you have no choice but to take short trips, drive at least 30 minutes at a time once per week.
Check for Parasitic Drains
Sometimes, something will constantly drain the battery. At Repair One in The Woodlands, we can test the charging system, locate the parasitic drain and repair the component that is causing the drain.
Protect the Battery from Excessive Heat
Texas can get pretty hot in the summer. If you park in the shade, you can add time to the battery’s life and prevent damage from the heat.
Contact Repair One
Batteries always require replacement. You can check the date code on the top or side of the battery.
If you have a fleet of vehicles and are looking for someone to help you maintain your fleet by scheduling you at the best times, call the shop to discuss your needs. We treat every customer as an individual, not a number, and we get you on the road as soon as possible without sacrificing quality.
If you break down and need repairs immediately, instruct the tow truck driver to bring your vehicle to us. Once your vehicle is on the way, give the shop a call and let us know that your vehicle should be arriving shortly. Contact Repair One at (936) 271-1110 for an appointment. We have two locations for your convenience: