This article will focus on your vehicle’s battery. Batteries sound simple enough to most of us. Usually it’s a black box somewhere under the hood that we take for granted until there’s a problem. Although they seem simple enough in nature, batteries tend to be complex, and can cause some very unusual problems.
An automotive lead acid or calcium battery by definition is a device that converts chemical energy to electrical energy, and stores it until needed. Batteries are not that simple, but here are some tips that can help you to get the most out of yours.
Like any electrical device, batteries don’t respond well to temperature extremes. While most of us think of battery trouble as a cold weather ailment, summer’s heat actually is harder on a battery than winter’s cold. Both hot and cold temperature extremes challenge the battery’s ability to perform well. A vehicle kept in a garage for example, has a much better chance of starting well, and enjoying longer battery life.
According to AAA, the number one reason for road service calls is battery failure. Batteries do not have a finite life. Most good batteries will last 4 plus years, with some actually lasting much longer. The only way to tell battery condition is with an accurate test performed by a skilled technician. When you have your vehicle serviced, you may want to ask for a complete battery analysis. Like any other diagnostic procedure, the results are only as reliable as the technician and equipment used to perform the test.
Dirty, corroded, or loose battery terminals are a very common cause of battery failure, including the dreaded “No Start” condition. Check your battery terminals with regularly scheduled services. Today’s cars rely more heavily on proper battery connections and condition than in the past. A faulty connection not only may leave you stranded, but it may also affect engine performance, ABS brake performance, and a host of other things.
If you purchase a new battery, do not look at price alone. Consult you owner’s manual or call your dealer to determine exactly what size and capacity battery is required. An under capacity battery can cause poor performance and may also damage your expensive alternator. That’s right! If the battery is too small for the vehicle, the alternator will work overtime, and that will shorten the charging system’s life.
Purchasing the correct capacity battery for your application, keeping the terminals clean and tight, and following the recommendations in your vehicle’s owners manual, should help to keep your vehicle trouble free and dependable.
This next article deals with battery ratings, size, and lots more valuable information on how to get the most out of your vehicle.