All motorists with lead-acid automotive batteries should be wary of the possibilities of stratification, which is a phenomenon that can cause cells to fail. But what is car battery acid stratification? We will go through the basics of it to hopefully help you be better equipped to prevent it.
While there have been regular advancements in the performance of vehicle batteries, their general components have been the same since the 1880’s. A standard lead-acid battery contains a liquid mix of sulfuric acid and water. This mixture is called the electrolyte.
The electrolyte should be evenly distributed between the top and bottom of a battery. An even concentration within the liquid is vital for the optimum performance of cells. If the acid concentration settles on the bottom of the battery, this is called car battery acid stratification. It causes sulfation in the plates located in the bottom half, which will significantly reduce a battery’s lifespan due to accelerated corrosion.
Which drivers are more prone to experience this battery condition?
Anyone that does short distance driving on a daily basis does not use their car regularly enough or has a faulty under-charging alternator. It is a common problem with city dwellers who live in proximity to their amenities, with the result being, the alternator is not allowed to give sufficient daily charge to the battery.
How Do You Prevent Car Battery Acid Stratification From Forming?
Stratification can occur if a battery is undercharged. You must make sure that the charger voltage is high enough to charge the battery properly and to spread evenly the electrolyte solution. To prevent stratification, you can perform an equalization charge, which balances the voltage and specific gravity of the electrolyte in your vehicle’s battery. Specific gravity refers to the ratio of weight of the liquid solution to the weight of water at a specific temperature. Equalization also prevents the build-up of sulfate crystals.
Keep These Three Battery Maintenance Tools Handy!
By regularly checking the state of your battery you will avoid getting stranded with a dead one. Ongoing inspection is the key to have years of trouble-free starting power, longevity and not having to call a roadside replacement service for a Long, Long Time.
Fact: Short distance driving and not using your vehicle enough leads to undercharged batteries which equals acid stratification and sulfation. The number one reason they fail prematurely.
1) The Matson Electronic Battery Tester with Printer will give you an Instant State of Health in the condition of your battery. This is a “Must Have Tool” if you would like to increase the Longevity and Replacement Intervals.
2) In the event the digital tester says it requires a charge the Ctek MXS 10 12V 10 Amp Smart Battery Charger (56-823) and will keep your battery in Optimum Condition at all times.
3) If you accidentally leave your Headlights or an Interior Light on you must keep a portable Matson 12 Volt Lithium Jump Starter in your Glove Box. It’s happened to most of us only to find out our battery has gone completely flat and unable to start the vehicle.
If you are a driver who does short trips on a daily basis, or doesn’t use their car often enough, get your battery checked regularly. Keeping your battery at optimum charge at all times, to get its maximum starting and auxiliary life-cycles.
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