El Paso, Texas (NAPSI) - For many motorists, the battery is a case of under hood, out of mind until they’re stranded by a dead battery, which can be inconvenient and even dangerous but this doesn’t have to happen to you.

Look for such signs that the battery is failing as the headlamps look dim at idle and brighten when you rev the engine or the starter groans and turns slowly, barely starting the car.

Preserving theBattery

While no battery lives forever, these tips can help keep yours cranking:

• Keep it clean. Even on today’s sealed batteries, corrosion on the posts and terminals can compromise performance. Your service technician can clean it or you can. With the car off, loosen and remove the negative cable, then the red positive cable. Use a brass-wire battery brush dipped in a paste of baking soda and water. Rinse thoroughly with water, preferably distilled. Reinstall the cables, positive first, and coat the terminals and clamps with a thin grease to prevent new corrosion.

• Don’t run it down. Ensure that all lights and other electronics are turned off when the car isn’t being driven. If you do drain the battery and decide to jump-start your car, carefully follow the instructions in your owner’s manual to avoid damaging your car as well as the running vehicle. Wear goggles and remove your scarf, tie and jewelry.

Today’s average car has 20 or more onboard computers. Connecting a positive cable to a negative terminal—or vice versa—can cause an expensive electrical short that could destroy one or more of the computers.

• Have your battery checked. Your service technician can perform a load test, which provides a snapshot of how much life is left in the battery. He or she may also check to ensure that your alternator is charging the battery properly.

• Remove the battery if a vehicle is going to sit idle for more than 30 days.

Replacing theBattery

If your battery needs replacing, consider this: ACDelco batteries provide some of the best and easiest-to-understand free replacement warranties in the industry. There are choices for all models, budgets and priorities. In addition, the company’s alternators are 100 percent performance and reliability tested. Customers who have these things installed by a member of theACDelcoProfessionalServiceCenterprogram qualify for a nationwide, 12-month, 12,000-mile limited warranty on parts and labor and roadside assistance.

Learn More

To find a nearby shop or further facts and tips, visit www.acdelco.com.