- October 1, 2018
People of all walks of life are dependent on their cars. Students need transportation to school, professionals to and from work, and parents rely on vehicles to get everyone in the family where they need to be. As much as these vehicles are relied upon, more often than not, our cars become an afterthought. Maintenance is put off until there is a real problem to contend with.
Take your car battery, for instance. For something so small comparatively to your car, it is responsible for many– if not most of the functions in a modern car (more so in the electric car varieties.) But there is far more to consider when it comes to your car battery than just when it loses its charge. Before you understand the problems with your car battery, you need to understand the battery itself.
Lead-acid car batteries are made up of lead plates and lead dioxide suspended in an electrolyte solution of about 35% sulphuric acid and 65% water. During ignition, such as when the battery is used to start the car or power the headlights, the sulphuric acid within the electrolyte solution is lessened, leaving the solution with a higher percentage of water. Sulphate coats the plates, reducing the surface area on which the reaction can take place. Charging reverses this chemical reaction, returning the sulphate to the acid.
Here are 3 basic battery issues that can occur:
- Damage to the Physical Battery — If there is damage to the battery itself, it will be pretty evident, even to someone who is not a mechanic. This issue typically only happens by front-end damage to your vehicle, usually from an accident. If you’ve been in some type of accident recently, you should get your battery checked out to make sure that everything is still in order.
- Corrosion Corrosion is something you should already be familiar with. It is a phenomenon that happens to most batteries and not just on those of the car variety. Corrosion is due to hydrogen gas being released from the battery acid, that reacts with other substances in the air under the hood and produces the corrosion. Generally, if the corrosion forms on the negative terminal, your battery is likely undercharging. Cleaning the terminals regularly using water and a wire brush will prevent build up, but make sure you wear protection for your eyes and hands because the white powder is harmful and should not be touched, breathed, or eaten.
- Lost Charge For most of us, the major issue we worry about is the prospect of our battery dying. For many this comes in the form of getting into the car and not being able to start it. Even if you have some type of roadside assistance, being stranded somewhere for goodness knows how long is not a situation that most people relish. Not to mention, it can be potentially dangerous.
To avoid running into problems with your car battery it is recommended that you get it tested at least twice a year to make sure that always make it to your destination safely.
With the weather getting cooler, now is a great time to make sure that your battery is fully charged and in good shape. Cold weather can be especially draining on batteries and you don’t want to wait for a freeze to learn that your battery isn’t functioning property.
Batteries don’t always give warning signs before they fail, so, it is advisable to replace batteries that are more than three years old. If you are curious if your battery is at the end of its lifespan, visit us at Bellingham Automotive today.