I’m sure most of us, recall the feeling of the powerful starting power of a freshly replaced car battery. Overtime though, the power diminishes with the heavy demands of peak city stop-start driving conditions, cold weather starting, auxiliary car accessory power draws and heat degradation. Remember, a battery is not a “Fit and Forget” item, it still requires maintenance and cleaning in the surrounds it lives in.
Most of us have the mind-set, that a car batteries primary function is to start your vehicle. This can’t be further from the truth, because in “this day and age”, the sophisticated electronic and computer management systems of modern vehicles, place heavy loads on a battery. However, in order to withstand these extra heavy demands, battery technology has advanced with the ever changing automotive technology.
Regular inspection is highly recommended by checking and cleaning the battery terminals, casing and tray areas. The Built-In State of Charge Indicator, should also be inspected to give you a quick diagnosis of the condition of the battery whether it is good, needs charging or replacing.
Telltale Signs a car battery needs to be replaced?
The modern day automotive batteries, are manufactured with Sealed Maintenance Free Technology. They are engineered with advanced internal design and engineering to withstand the heavy demands of modern vehicles and the ever increasing peak traffic conditions. With these improvements, the batteries life has also increased to an average of about 3.5 to 4.5 years, as opposed to 1 to 2 years for the old technology.
Despite this, even modern batteries are still perishable items. As their internal components breakdown, so to, their starting and auxiliary power will diminish considerably as time goes by. As soon as you detect some hesitation in the starting power, we advise taking it to your preferred mechanic or battery outlet to get it analyzed.
As a general “Rule of Thumb”, when it reaches about 3 years of age, get it checked. At this stage, it reaches about 50 to 60% of its original capacity from when it was new. A Midtronics Digital test will identify if it needs replacing, “Better To Be Safe Than Sorry”.
One important factor to take into consideration that affects the longevity of a battery, is whether you drive your car often enough. Probably, the most common and least known about in the general public, is the effect of battery acid stratification. The longer you leave your car parked or drive short distances, the more rapid the battery becomes discharged as the alternator is not given enough time to keep it fully charged.
This promotes plate corrosion, due to the acid being heavier than water and settling at the bottom of the solution. This leaves the upper areas of the plates exposed to water/electrolyte, thus causing sulfation/corrosion. Once the plates sulfate considerably, they cannot hold charge and will need to be replaced.
As a quick summary, keep all the above points in mind, so as to keep you fully aware of any changes in your vehicle’s battery behavior. Don’t wait till it dies and leaves you stranded, change it before the inevitable happens.