Vehicle Maintenance with AA Auto Service & Repair
Getting a head start on winter
Interesting facts about car batteries and what makes them go dead before their projected lifespan expires.
Winter means more than just cold weather for your battery. A dead battery in extreme cold can strand motorists and a battery failure at the wrong time can be a headache to say the least.
With the average car battery only lasting three to five years and some not even that long due to harsh conditions, you may have to deal with the battery issue more often.
What shortens a Batteries life?
An overcharging condition can cause a boiling condition inside the battery that eventually will reduce the amount of water and electrolyte in the cells.
An overcharge condition can be caused by the vehicle’s on-board alternator stemming from problems with voltage regulators or even the alternator itself.
A charging system test can reveal a problem with the on board system. Also automatic battery chargers can cause this same condition when the charger does not live up to its automatic functions.
You may not be able to do anything about this next cause of a shortened battery life if you have a sealed maintenance-free battery which most of us do.
Incorrect electrolyte levels in the battery cells will reduce the batteries storage capacity. Electrolyte can be lost due to evaporation during hot weather as well as an overcharge condition mentioned above.
More things that shorten Battery life
Battery corrosion can develop from an overcharging condition as well. The corrosion is actually created from any naturally occurring gas that develops from the electrolyte acid and water combination.
A little known fact about car batteries is that a light corrosion film that builds on top of the battery cover can also create a path for current travel. This can allow the battery to have a slowly discharging condition. Keeping the top of the battery clean as well as keeping the terminals and connectors clean and protected can have extremely positive effects on the life of the battery.
Another possibility that can have negative effects would be if your automobiles charging system is not fully recharging the battery.
A worn drive belt can slip and not turn the alternator to its full capacity. Internal problems such as blown diodes or defective regulators can cause an undercharge condition as well.
But another common problem would be a short run time coupled with lots of stop and go driving. If the vehicle runs for a short time and only at idle the alternator will not have the proper RPMs and length of time to fully recharge the battery. Do this often enough and you will have a short battery life.
Temperature affects the power and operation of batteries as they do not like cold weather or extremely hot weather either. At 0°F a battery is said to be working at about 40% of its available capacity. This is because the chemical reaction inside the battery is hindered by low temperatures. Added to the problem is that an engines oil will become thicker at lower temperatures therefore requiring more cold cranking amps to turn the engine over. Extreme heat can cause the loss of electrolyte as explained above.
Cut out the below coupon and come in to one of our North Shore stores for a free battery check so you don’t get caught out in the cold when you least expect it.
AA Auto Service & Repair: WAIRAU PARK – Link Drive, by the roundabout. Phone 443 1759. DEVONPORT - 73 Lake Road. Phone 445-9732.