How Does A Car Battery Work, And What Does it Do?

Your car is an integral part of your day-to-day life. It facilitates mobility and can also be a crucial part of your business. Due to its importance, you always want your vehicle to perform optimally. One of the most important components in optimal performance of your car is the battery.

If your car’s battery is not functional, you will have a hard time getting the best out of your driving. It is thus imperative for every driver to understand everything about this important component in order to ensure it is fully functional.

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1. How Does a Car Battery Work?

Your car’s battery is the major cog that keeps your car running. It provides the electrical charge necessary to keep the electrical components of your vehicle running. If there is no battery, for instance, your car won’t start; that’s how important this small fixture is to your car.

The battery converts chemical energy into electrical energy that your car needs to start. Once the engine is running, the alternator provides power but the battery is still crucial in running electrical parts. It is also a stabilizer as it helps avoid damaging voltage spikes.

A car battery has a lifespan of 3 to 5 years but ideally it is important to replace your car battery every 18 months for the best performance of your vehicle. An older battery affects other components of your vehicle and this will add up to the repair bill. It might be a small component but its role in your vehicle is huge.

2. The Specifications of the Car Battery

Every car is unique and as such, the battery it requires will be based on its power needs. Your car’s battery specs are based on the size of the car battery tray, the Cold Cranking Ampere (CCA) or the Amp-Hours (AH). The AH is a unit of measure indicating how long the battery you choose can power a certain load while still retaining enough charge to start the car.

Higher AH is ideal but this also comes at a greater cost. More importantly, your car will come with its own AH battery specification to suit its load requirements. The Cold Cranking Ampere (CCA), on the other hand, is the amount of power your battery is able to supply in order to start the vehicle.

Your car battery needs to supply enough power when you start it. The required spark which starts the engine can only be produced by a battery with the right CCA. With modern cars, CCA is even more critical because more power is pulled by the fuel pump, computer and dashboard equipment, injector systems among other electrical components

3. Is Your Car Battery Good?

One of the most dreaded situations by a driver is when their car won’t start. While there are other causes, batteries are often the main culprits when your vehicle can’t start. To guarantee optimal performance of your vehicle, you need to closely watch your battery’s performance to avert a situation when it fails you.
Here are some warning signs to look out for in order to repair or replace your battery:

Voltmeter reading below 12 Volts: An optimally performing battery registers 12.66V or higher voltage when fully charged. If the voltammeter reads below this, then the battery is no longer reliable. If it reads below 11 volts, it is about to die and you better replace it before it disappoints you at the most importune time.

Engine cranks but won’t start: While this could be down to several factors including a faulty starter, the battery is also a major cause of this problem. When you jump start the battery and it picks up immediately, this could be an indicator that the battery is dead.

Car won’t start, no lights and the engine doesn’t crank: This is a sure indicator that the battery is at fault. It could be a problem with the battery alone or with the alternator system. Your mechanic is able to test the battery using the right equipment before proposing replacement or charging.

Cold cranking is a tough nut: If you are putting more energy into getting the right amount of Cold Cranking Amps to start your engine, it is most likely that your battery is running out of life. If you are also jump starting the battery every other day, you better visit a service station for a professional diagnosis.

4. Proper Car Battery Maintenance

Maintenance-free VRLA (valve-regulated lead-acid) batteries are all the rage today, but you still need to care for them to ensure maximum performance. A visual inspection of the battery once a month is recommended. If there is any corrosion on the terminal posts, brush it away using a metal brush with a mixture of water and baking soda.

If you have digital equipment in your vehicle, you need to appreciate their effect on battery power even when the car is off. Parasitic draining is a major cause of weak car batteries and it is recommendable to get another source of power for your audio and visual digital equipment.

A fully functional car battery guarantees a smooth driving experience. Make sure you care for this crucial car part to get the most out of your vehicle.

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