I’m sure most of us, recall the feeling of the mighty starting power of a freshly replaced car battery. Over time though, the ability 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.
Most of us have the mindset that a car batteries primary function is to start your vehicle. It can’t be further from the truth, because in “this day and age”, the sophisticated electronic and computer management systems of modern cars, place heavy loads on a battery. However, to withstand these extra heavy demands, battery technology has advanced with the ever changing automotive technology.
Regular inspection should be a monthly habit of 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 healthy, 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 advanced batteries are still perishable items. As their internal components break down, so to, their starting and auxiliary power will diminish as time advances. 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 analysed.
As a general “Rule of Thumb”, when it reaches about three 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 has insufficient time to keep it fully charged.
It promotes plate corrosion, due to the acid being denser 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 sulphate considerably, they cannot hold the charge and will need replacing.
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 behaviour. Don’t wait till it dies and leaves you stranded, change it before the inevitable happens.
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