Battery care and maintenance in many cases is forgotten until the battery fails to start your car. It only takes a small amount of care and maintenance to prevent the battery from failing you when you need it the most. Cold weather is the worst time to have a dead battery, but then cold weather is the hardest on your battery.
By performing regular care and maintenance on your battery year round you should be able to catch those batteries before cold weather sets in and the before the battery leaves you stranded in four feet of snow and ice. Testing and taking care of the maintenance on your battery only requires a little bit of time and a small amount of tools. If you only perform the maintenance and care your battery needs once a year, make that once a year in the fall. Fall is a great time of year to putter around outside, so you might as well putter around with the battery in your vehicle. It is always recommended before you do anything with your battery to wear eye protection and keep open flames away from the battery.
This means no smoking. Batteries produce a hydrogen gas, which is highly flammable and because batteries contain sulfuric acid, you want to do what you can to protect your eyes from sulfuric acid getting in them. If you get sulfuric acid on your skin, mix baking soda and water and apply to the area. This will neutralize the acid and prevent additional damage or burns to your skin. You will want to inspect the battery for any obvious problems. A broken alternator belt, a dirty or wet battery, corroded or swollen cables, corroded terminals, or a leaking or damaged battery case could cause your battery to fail.
Clean, repair or replace any of the items listed. Distilled water should be used replenish the water level of the battery. Battery testing does not have to be so hard, and you do not have to be a rocket scientist to find out whether or not you have a good battery. You do need to make sure your battery is performing, as it should, so you do not get stuck when you need it the most. There are so many testers on the market and so many different types of testing methods, sometimes it can get quite confusing. Always use a proved method of testing.