Facts About Car Batteries

inside car battery image
Car Batteries look inside

Interesting facts about car batteries and what makes them go dead before there projected lifespan expires. If you keep your vehicle the average 5 to 7 years that most people do chances are you will need to learn something about batteries along the way.

With the average car battery only lasting 3 to 5 years and some not even that long due to harsh conditions, you may have to deal with the battery issue more than once.

Side note: A car battery can be dangerous! You should always wear safety glasses. You should always work in a well ventilated area. It is rare that it will explode but it can happen! The invisible gasses floating above can be triggered by sparks, flames or even cigarette ashes.

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.

Image of Alternator

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.

In proper 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.

Related Reading:  Beware of cheap oil change services

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. This stuff can attack and destroy not only connectors and terminals but the battery hold down straps and tray as well.

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.

image of alternator drive belt
Altenator and Belt

Another possibility that can have negative effects would be if you were automobiles charging system is not fully recharging the battery. There may be several causes for this type of condition. One possible cause would be a malfunction or problem in the vehicle’s charging system.

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.

Related Reading:  Car maintenance

This fact about car batteries is sometimes considered an urban legend. The legend states that temperature affects the power and operation of it. This is actually a very true statement in fact batteries 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 a 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.

If you need information on getting a new one take a look at this page about replacement battery guidelines which is located on my Auto-Facts.org website. This next link takes you back to this blogs homepage and more auto repair information.