I’m the type that tries to look for the simplest most straight forward fix for any problem. This is especially true when talking about topics I might not be real familiar with, like electrical issues. Recently I had a bout with a battery in my Ford F150 that was repeatedly dying and failing to start. First I thought the worse possible scenario, then I got smart and started with the basics. Let’s look at some simple steps that could fix a repeatedly drained car battery.
First things first, how are those connections? The positive and negative terminals on your car battery should be clear of build up. Got some corrosion built up around the terminals and even on the spades? Time to start cleaning, even a small amount of corrosion built up around the terminals can start draining a good car battery. A weak battery will not have the cranking power to start a vehicle.
While speaking of build up, what does the top surface of your battery look like? In my case, on a 04 F150, the top of the battery is exposed to the engine compartment. This allowed for a greasy build up to occur, a very thin gooey substance covering all the plastic, not even at the terminals. Believe it or not, this can slowly drain a battery over time, sucking millivolts out. This scenario would explain while it starts fine with a jump and may even start properly a few times, before finally dying.
After cleaning the wet substance on top of the battery, problem solved. I’ve found I have to do this any winter where we get a lot of snow. The cold temperatures, wet environments, and then the heat from the engine cause the battery problem described above.
Remember, when trying to repair a vehicle yourself, start with the simplest fixes first. In my case cleaning the battery was simple, took 10 mins for a thorough job and saved me the price of a new battery or worst case scenario taking it to a shop. It’s just good preventative maintenance to keep those battery terminals clean and the casing of the battery clean of any wet build up.
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