Car battery rookie? Let us give you the full run-down

If it’s under the front hood, doesn’t mean it can be overlooked. Live by these words and your car will go a long way. Battery is one of the most crucial components of a car. Getting it to know more about this beast is a key point all drivers should know. 

Here are some answers that can improve your understanding on car batteries.

1. How does a car battery work?

The basic understanding of a car battery is that it provides jolts of electricity to power the electrical components of a vehicle. In simple words – without a battery, the car won’t start. 

2. Warning signs you might need a new car battery

  • Car has been unused for a while.
    How often you drive your vehicle determines your battery lifespan. This is because driving your car charges the battery. If you drive your car on a daily basis, the chances of your battery lasting longer is more compared to a car that sits unused for long periods of time.
  • Bad smell
    Foul smell (sulfuric / rotten egg) odor emanating from your battery is a potential problem. Professional causes and remedies should be seeded as soon as possible.
  • Takes for the engine to start
    If your car is taking a longer time to start, that’s a good indicator that your battery life is beginning to fail. When the lights on dashboard goes dimmer or flickers when you start your car, that is another indicator that the battery may be getting weak.
  • Dim headlights
    Especially when car is idling (despite brightening the lights when you rev the engine).
  • Battery corrosion
    You can check for signs of corrosion at the battery terminals and cables.
  • Basic functions are very slow
    Such as windows are opening and closing very slowly when engine is idling compared to their speed when the car is moving.
  • Car stops frequently
    Your car stops frequently, having to repeatedly jump start your car even when in a stand still traffic. 

3. When to replace your car battery?

Car batteries are sometimes taken for granted until one fine day when they stop working. Knowing when to replace your car battery will save you the time, hassle and inconvenience of being stranded somewhere when your battery dies on you. 

In an average, car battery should last around 1.5 year if the battery is according to correct specifications. 

There are a few warning signs but in most cases a dead battery can be caused by unavoidable human errors such as leaving the car lights on overnight causing it to drain. Jump-starting your car’s batter may help to recharge it. However, other problems may indicate that your battery is reaching it’s end.

  • Extreme temperatures (hot & cold) can weaken your battery over time. 
  • Leaving interior or exterior lights on will cause battery to drain. 
  • Poor or corroded battery connections can make it difficult for the charging system to continue to supply power.
  • Minor use of the battery can cause it to drain easily. 
  • Parasitic drain – when a trunk light, glove compartment light or another device is left on. 
  • A failed charging system – can cause battery to die when car is moving because alternator is not working properly. Therefore, it fails to adequately charge the battery. 

4. How to maintain car battery health?

Follow these tips to keep your car battery healthy and working optimally:

  • Switching on and driving the car regularly
    The battery losses its charge when it is unused for an extended period of time which drains the power rapidly. When it looses its charge completely, it will require a jumpstart to start the car. 
  • Minimize battery usage when the engine is turned off
    Car batteries tend to discharge more quickly when the engine is off but the interior lights and music systems are still on. It hampers the total lifespan of the battery. That said, whenever exiting the car just make sure the interior/exterior lights and accessories are all switched off. 
  • Keeping the battery itself clean
    Ensure there is no dirt accumulating on the battery, which could drain the battery charge through the dust on the battery casing. This is because it can result in a short circuit that could make the battery dead. The terminals could also corrode over time. So, make sure to clean the terminals and casing with the help of a brush to reduce dirt related corrosion. 
  • Minimize long term heat exposure
    When it comes to exposion to extreme heat over long period of time, it can drastically evaporate the fluids in the battery. This even happens to newly sealed batteries. To protect your car from excess heat, try parking at shaded areas whenever possible.
  • Check the battery voltage
    A car battery life will reduce when it is left uncharged or half charged. Keep an eye by checking it’s voltage from time to time with a voltmeter. Generally, a healthy car battery should have a minimum charge of 12.7 volt or above. If it lowers down to 12.5 – it is recommended to recharge the battery. A car battery with lesser than 12 volts, is considered completely dead. 

These details can seem daunting if you’re not familiar with them. But worry not, as you can always check with GoCar Garage as we offer a wide range of professional car care services. Just book via the GoCar app and select your preferred appointment date & time to get an expert to inspect your car for you.

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