We know you love your car and that's why you want to understand it's battery--one of the most important parts. In fact, the battery is so important that your car will not move a single inch if it is not working. It is therefore advisable for every driver to know about the electrical system and the battery. After all, you wouldn't want to be stuck in the middle of nowhere with a dead battery. Just like other car parts, a battery can last for a long time (somewhere between 3 and five years); however, the life of the battery is shortened if it is exposed to extreme weather and bad driving habits. Myths and misconceptions surround car batteries. That is why we have decided to enlighten you with all the facts so that you can get maximum output from your battery.
What is the role of a battery?
Let's start by defining the job this powerful little box. It powers the electrical components in your car by providing a jolt of electricity. This initial ignition is what cranks and starts your engine. When you turn the ignition key, a chemical reaction happens in the battery. Next, the battery turns chemical energy into electrical energy, and hence voltage is delivered to the starter.
In addition to this, the battery also stabilizes the energy supply (voltage) so that the engine remains running. The battery is, therefore, the heart and soul of your ride and without it, your car will simply not start.
Why do batteries die?
Well, I should start by saying that your battery will eventually die regardless of how good you are at maintaining it. However, your battery will live much longer if you avoid some things.
The temperature in the surrounding environment is crucial; cold reduces the battery's ability to transfer power while extreme low temperatures are likely to freeze it. On the other hand, extremely hot conditions can cause evaporation of the battery solution, and thus it can't hold a charge. The battery also loses charge when you leave stereo, lights or other electricity-consuming features on without keeping the engine running.
How will I know if my battery is dying?
When your battery needs replacement, you will notice some obvious symptoms, some of them include: rotten egg smell in your bonnet, low battery fluid level, battery warning light on your dash, slow engine crank, swollen battery case and check engine light on your dash.
Which maintenance practices should drivers practice?
Your battery should never be overly discharged; ensure that the engine is also running if you must run interior lights and headlights. Ideally, you should switch them off when the car isn't in motion. Also, be careful when plugging in cell phones electronics like GPS since they drain a lot of energy.
You should ensure that your battery is clean; use a damp rag to wipe the grime that builds upon the battery's exterior. You should also remove and clean the battery terminals to prevent corrosion (this should be done annually.) Finally, you should always refill the cells if your battery has fill caps, ensure that you use distilled water.