As our weather changes so do the car battery. A discharged battery can surprise the driver in all weather conditions. High temperatures cause battery failure more often than low temperatures in terms of weather. Maintaining the battery in good condition is a relatively simple task, but many drivers ignore simple recommendations. To avoid this situation, it is worth remembering a few treatments that will prolong the life of the battery.
We do the inspection of the car at least once a year, but often we pay too little attention to the control of the power system (alternator, electrical system) and battery status. And this is often the cause of major failures at the least expected moment.
- Reasons for the discharge of the battery.
- We often forget that the lifetime of starting-acid lead-acid batteries is from 3 to 4 years, even though manufacturers declare a much longer time of their operation. Shorter battery life results from the lack of proper conditions of use. These are among others:
- Too low or too high temperatures – contrary to various opinion, not only does cold weather has a negative impact on the condition of the batteries, but also the hot weather.
- Intensive city driving with a large number of stops, eg in traffic jams – too frequent charging and discharging cycles, which cause a state of permanent undercharging of the battery.
- Frequent riots that consume a lot of energy.
- Overuse of electrical consumers, eg leaving the rear window heater switched on and frequent driving with lower and lower engine speeds (saving fuel), which means the battery is not charged.
- Incorrect selection of the car battery or incorrect installation.
Sometimes the cause of battery failure is a malfunctioning alternator that should charge the battery while the engine is running. That is why it is worth checking the car’s alternator and electrical installation. Sometimes it is enough to simply measure the battery charging voltage using a voltmeter. The voltage should be in the range of 13.9 to 14.4 V, the exact amount depends on the type of car and is given in the instruction manual of the car. Some manufacturers, eg Benz, Ford, and others use a charging system ( Smart Charge, battery control module), which has a voltage of 14.1 / 14.8 V.
What should I check?
The cause of the battery failure may also be impurities such as moisture, oil, dust and rusty keys. We should clean it from time to time because dirt and grease can make it difficult to transfer energy from and to the battery. One of the common mistakes of drivers is leaving the battery in a car that is not used for a long time. It should be remembered that devices in a vehicle that is not in use constantly draw electricity. It is not only about the alarm, but also about the memory of the controllers and the radio. Experts advise – in such a situation the best solution will be to remove the battery or to make sure that the car is systematically activated.
How do you know that the battery should be replaced?
Battery performance should be tested regularly. Special testers are used for this purpose – the cheapest ones cost about NGN 2000 (Naira). The LED indicator shows the battery charge status and thanks to it you can also monitor the alternator voltage. Just place the device in the cigarette lighter socket and observe the indications. No less important is the electrolyte density in the battery.
Three types of batteries are available on the market: gel, service and maintenance-free. In older solutions (service), we have access to the electrolyte after unscrewing special plugs. Maintenance-free batteries also require electrolyte monitoring. The difference lies in the fact that they have a control viewfinder and a lid. In-gel batteries, the electrolyte replaced the acid containing silica.
A special tester is used to test the electrolyte density. The price of such a device is about1000 naira or less. A special scale informs us about the condition of the battery. This allows you to find out if it is completely discharged and qualifies for replacement, or if it needs immediate charging.
Accessories that are worth having
We do not always have to buy a new battery immediately. Sometimes it is enough to connect the battery to the charger. It is not an expensive device – the cheapest costs about 10000 Niara. For a slightly more expensive and advanced, equipped with a boot option, we will pay about NGN 30000 naira. Before buying, it is a good idea to match the charger to your battery model. The most advanced are microprocessor rectifiers. They allow safe charging of the battery – without the need to disconnect from the car’s electrical system. In addition, this device is able to disulphate the battery in the vehicle, and after charging it automatically turns off.
You should have start-up cables in your boot. Thanks to other good drivers close to us in times of need, we can start the car with a discharged battery when another driver lends us electricity. It is not difficult to start the car using start-up cables, although some very important rules must be remembered. If in our car there is, for example, a 60 Ah battery, it is better not to try to connect it to a diesel whose battery has twice the capacity. It can cause big damage to your battery or electrical systems. Before buying cables, pay attention to their parameters, including the maximum current carrying capacity.
I’m passionate about new technologies and luxury cars. Do not accept the word “problem” and “can not”.A graduate of MA studies in Engineering Technology, A web developer. In the automotive industry for over 12 years. Founder of otomoto.ng portal. A football fan since childhood.