The battery of your car is the main source of electricity for the entire car. Most importantly, power from the battery is used to power the starter motor that starts your engine. Most of what you see of the battery is just the outer plastic case, but inside that case are plates made of lead and lead dioxide that are submerged in a liquid solution. The liquid solution is composed of two parts water and one part sulphuric acid. When a chemical reaction occurs between these plates and the liquid solution, electricity is generated which powers your vehicle. Outside of the battery is your car’s alternator, which charges the battery back up to allow it to be used for a long period of time.
Reasons the battery fails
Worn out battery
Every battery has maximum number of days until to goes bad and that is no different from your car battery. It is recommended that you get your car battery changed every 3-5 years to prevent that awkward moment when your car will no longer start, even though it just did yesterday!
Leaving the lights on after turning the car off
The headlights are a massive drain on your battery. Normally this isn’t a problem when driving because the alternator will recharge the battery while the engine is running. However, once you turn the engine off, the alternator stops running, and the battery will eventually die out if you keep your headlights on for too long.
Cold weather is a common nuisance that can cause all sorts of battery issues. Winter weather will slow the chemical reactions inside the battery down, resulting in less power being produced. It will also take a lot longer for the alternator to recharge the battery, increasing the chances of a failure. In the winter, it is common to run the defrosters, heat, and wipers all at the same time, which could overload your battery if you are not careful.
Power loss due to “always on” accessories
In modern vehicles, there are loads of different accessories that might continuously draw power even when the engine is turned off. These may include the clock, engine computer, aftermarket stereo system, and keyless entry systems. While these are typically small battery drains, a weak battery will not be able to keep up and thus fail.
Frequent short trips
Avoid taking frequent short trips with many accessories running if you can. You want to give your alternator enough time to recharge your battery to avoid it going out. Frequent short trips can also cause something known as acid stratification – where battery acid concentrates at the bottom of your battery and creates poor battery performance.
Corroded battery cables
Corrosion in and around the battery cables will seriously impact the amount of electricity that can travel where it needs to go. This may mean that not enough electricity can reach your starter motor to start the engine or not enough power is received by the alternator to recharge the battery. Either way, corrosion around the cables make battery failure imminent.
Low electrolyte level
If you’ve been using your current battery for a while, the amount of liquid solution inside may deplete to a point where not enough power can be created. This is when you know for sure it is time to replace the battery.
Car battery maintenance
If you find that your battery fails and you are unable to start your car, a jumpstart may be able to give you enough power to drive to the nearest mechanic. A jumpstart requires a working battery from a different vehicle to be hooked up to your battery via jumper cables to give your car enough power to start. Whether the jump is successful or not, get your battery and charging system checked out by a car care professional when possible. Your car care professional will inspect the full charging system – which includes your alternator and starter – to ensure that the issue is indeed with the battery. Once the issue is diagnosed, the technician will resolve the issue and might replace your battery. Be sure to replace your car’s battery as often as recommended by your car’s manufacturer.
The best way to get maintenance done on your battery is to book your appointment through CarAdvise. CarAdvise makes car care simple and guarantees that you’ll pay less than retail price on all car maintenance services.« Back to Glossary Index