You already know that your car’s battery is essential — you’re not going anywhere without that power. So, you probably check the terminals to make sure they’re staying free of corrosion and replace the battery when it’s worn out. But when was the last time you checked your battery hold-down?
What Is That?
Maybe you have a different name for it — base clamp, brace, “that thing that keeps my battery secure.” Whatever you call it, the battery hold-down keeps your battery from moving as your car goes up and down hills, around corners and through quick starts and panic stops.
If you tightened your battery hold-down the last time you replaced the battery, that’s a good start. But all those abrupt motions and vibrations from driving, the road and the engine loosen it over time.
What Can Happen If Your Battery Hold-Down Is Loose?
Batteries are big, heavy things, so they seem snug when the car is parked and you try to move it around with your hands. But the forces are different while you’re driving. There’s a whole list of bad situations that can happen if the battery clamp gets too loose.
For example, if your battery is not secured properly, it puts added tension on the battery cables. This could lead to a short circuit, which could leave you stranded by the side of the road. Beyond that, a loose battery can injure the other components around it under the hood. You might also have to replace any parts that hold the battery if they sustain damage.
How Often Should You Check Your Battery Hold-Down?
Check your battery braces as soon as possible. There’s no sense in letting a problem you don’t know you have get worse. Make this part of your seasonal checkup, about four times a year. That’s also a great time to take a look at everything else under your hood, including possible battery cable terminal corrosion or loose hoses. While you’re at it, check your battery tray. Is it time to replace a corroded original?
Like all maintenance, checking your battery’s base clamps often results in a more reliable car with less need for repairs in the future.
Check out all the batteries and battery hold-downs available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on car batteries, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
Photos courtesy of Pixabay and Mike Hagerty.
Mike Hagerty is an automotive journalist whose work has been featured on radio, TV, in print and online since 1997. He's the Publisher and Editor of MikeHagertyCars.com, and contributes car reviews to the Los Altos Town Crier and losaltosonline.com. Previous outlets have included KFBK and KFBK.com in Sacramento, California, the ABC television affiliates and Hearst-Argyle and Emmis radio stations in Phoenix, Arizona; AAA magazines for Arizona, Oklahoma, Northwest Ohio, South Dakota and the Mountain West and BBCCars.com.