To get the most life out of a battery, the Car Care Council suggests the following:
• Be sure the electrical system is charging at the correct rate; overcharging can damage a battery as quickly as undercharging.
• If your battery is the type that needs to be topped off, check it regularly, especially in hot weather. Add distilled water when necessary.
• Always replace a battery with one that's rated at least as high as the one originally specified.
• Keep the top of the battery clean. Dirt becomes a conductor, which drains battery power. Further, as corrosion accumulates on battery terminals it becomes an insulator, inhibiting current flow.
The Car Care Council is the source of information for the "Be Car Care Aware" consumer education campaign promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers.
You can get a free service interval schedule at www.carcare.org.