Need a Battery Inspection?
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The battery is your vehicle's main source of electrical power.
It gives power to the starter motor, fuel pump, engine control computer (when the driver turns the key), and allows the vehicle to start.
It also supplies power to the radio, headlights and other electrical components inside the car which provides entertainment and information to the driver.
It is important to make sure your battery and charging system is in good working order, otherwise, you may get stranded with a vehicle that won’t start!
How does a Battery Work?
The Battery is an electrical storage device which provides power to all the electrical components both inside and outside the vehicle.
Modern day batteries are filled with liquid, also known as electrolyte fluid, and 6 conductive plates sit in this fluid.
When a charge is applied to these, a current flow is created which creates electricity.
A brand-new car battery can last almost 2 hours without being charged, so an alternator is driven by the engine to recharge the battery and ensure there is plenty of electrical current to keep the vehicle running.
Common Battery Issues
The inside of a car battery is made up of cells, which hold the electrolyte (the electrically charged fluid inside the battery) and the plates that conduct the electricity.
If one of these plates fails, the battery is known to have a ‘Bad Cell’ and will need to be replaced.
A battery with a bad cell may still show that it is holding a good voltage, which is why load testing is the best way to test a batteries state of health.
Low Electrolyte Level
Most new batteries these days are known as ‘Maintenance Free’ batteries.
This means that the electrolyte level cannot be checked, and the health of the battery can be checked through a coloured sight glass on top of the battery.
However, in older batteries there are 6 caps on top of the battery that can be removed to check the electrolyte level inside.
Over time, the electrolyte level may drop as it evaporates through the breather tube attached to the battery, and will need to be topped up to keep the battery in top condition.
An alternator that is not charging correctly will significantly reduce the life of your battery, as it will not top up the battery charge whilst the vehicle is running.
Having the charging system inspected at the same time as the battery is a good way to narrow down a problem.
If a component in the vehicle is staying on after the vehicle is switched off, this will cause a drain on the battery.
If this is not rectified, the battery may be drained when you next go to start your car.
These issues may be hard to locate, or as simple as leaving your interior light on overnight.
If your alternator and battery are testing ok, but still have a drained battery after leaving the vehicle, having your electrical system inspected is highly recommended.
Corroded Battery Terminals
The battery cables and terminals are both susceptible to corrosion.
The acid from the battery can cause corrosion to appear on the terminals of the battery, and this prevents proper contact.
This can cause hard to start issues, and not allow the alternator to fully charge the battery.
If you notice a white, powdery substance on the terminals of your battery, it will need to be cleaned away to restore proper contact between the cables and the battery.
Applying terminal protection grease or Vaseline can stop this issue from re-occurring.
Vehicles equipped with Stop/Start systems
More and more new vehicles are being fitted with this feature, which shuts down the engine during certain situations to save fuel.
These systems place massive stress on the vehicles starting system, including the battery.
Manufacturers have designed special batteries for these vehicles.
Using a battery that is not certified for these systems may cause starting difficulties, and premature battery failure.
How is a Battery Inspection Carried Out?
Our mechanics will load test your battery, as well as check the charging system of your vehicle, including the output of the alternator, and quote on necessary replacement or repairs if needed.
Why It’s Important to Have Your Car Battery Checked
Having your battery inspected and the charging system checked will give you peace of mind whenever you turn your vehicle off.
Operating a vehicle with a failed battery or charging system can be dangerous. Your vehicle may stop suddenly, endangering your family and other motorists around you.
If you've read this far, you obviously care about your car. A lot. So next time you need a battery health check or replacement visit AutoGuru.