Car Battery: At one point in our life, we have all heard the following: owning and driving a vehicle involves two main concerns, cost of maintenance and cost on repairs. Aware of the aforementioned “secret”, why do we still avoid facing the reality, cars are bound to malfunction, to break down, to get exhausted and to wear out. Whether it’s the engine, transmission, brakes, water pump or as simple as the battery, they all typically fail based on the mileage, time and the way we drive and handle our car.
Today the limelight shines on the BATTERY.
The battery is considered the sole source of electrical power for the car. If the battery is not charged sufficiently, the vehicle will not start, hence you will not be able to use any of the electrical components such as the lights and the radio.
The average life span of a battery is four years. However, various factors contribute on elongating or shortening the life of the battery such as being subjected to extreme temperatures, driving conditions, wide array of devices attached to the vehicle: MP3 players, GPS receivers and others.
Let’s analyze the factors closely:
Driving conditions: short and frequent car trips contribute in shortening the life span of the battery since it does not allow the alternator to fully charge the battery. If the battery receives a full charge sporadically, strong crystalline deposits can form on the negative plates and consequently prevents the battery from charging properly – this is called sulfation.
Extreme temperatures such as extreme heat accelerates the corrosion of the battery and extreme cold reduces the battery’s chemical action and reaction.
Usage: forgetting to turn off the map or dome lights, using AC when it is not necessary, leaving the radio on for a long period of time when the vehicle is idle and keeping the front and fog lights on when you need them can shorten the lifespan of your battery.
We all try to avoid spending money on costly repair, why can’t we also avoid being stranded on the side of the road because our vehicle will not start. Waiting until the car breaks down before replacing the battery is avoidable.
Therefore you should make sure you get periodic battery check-up every oil change. Intermittently you can check for the following minor setbacks as a warning to maintain or replace your battery:
- Check engine light
- Slow engine crank: when you attempt to start your vehicle and it takes longer than usual to start.
- Low battery fluid level: if the fluid level is below the lead plates then it’s time to have the battery tested.
- Battery leak (which may cause the corrosion around the posts).
- Swelling and bloating of the battery case.
If you experience any of the preceding setbacks, get your battery checked.
Here are a few hints on how to elongate the battery’s life:
- If you do not use your vehicle for long periods of time, removing the negative battery connection during periods of non-use assists in the longevity of your battery life.
- Avoid overusing your gadgets when your car is not running.
- If there is space, install an insulation blanket around the battery. This will protect it from extreme heat and cold.