Car batteries play a crucial role in a vehicle functioning properly. Any motorist who has experienced a flat car battery knows what a frustrating experience this can be. Not only is a flat battery annoying, it can also impact your safety by leaving you stranded in an unsafe area. So, you may be wondering why car batteries go flat in the first place. Well, here’s why…
Leaving your car lights or radio on
If you forget to turn your vehicle’s lights off once you’ve parked, you’re sure to wake up to a flat car battery the following morning. Likewise, if you switch off your car’s charging system and continue to listen to the radio, you will also drain the battery. Using your car as a sound system when you’re not driving it can place unnecessary strain on the battery. Not only is replacing a car battery inconvenient, it is also another expense that you can do without.
Leaving your vehicle stationary for extended periods
When you leave your vehicle stationary for an extended period, sulphation occurs. This means that a white layer of salt forms on the battery, which inhibits its capacity to power your car. To avoid a flat battery, make sure that you start your car up and take it for a drive if you’re not using it regularly. If you’re going on a long holiday, you can either remove the battery and store it in a safe place or find someone who can take care of your car while you’re away. Leaving new car batteries on a shelf in your garage can also cause them to lose their charge slowly over time. You can extend the life of your car battery by using it frequently and by making longer trips. The constant stopping and starting of short journeys don’t give the battery the opportunity it needs to recharge properly. If you only use your car infrequently for short trips, it may be worth buying a battery conditioner that can be connected over extended periods without doing any damage.
Faults within the battery
If you wake up to a flat car battery, you’ll need to test whether it’s faulty or not. To check for an electrical fault, you can test your theory by charging the battery and then re-installing it. Once the battery is back in place, check its voltage and re-test it later in the day to check if the voltage has decreased. You’ll need a voltmeter to check the voltage of your battery. If the voltage decreases, it is indicative of an electrical fault. If the charging system isn’t working properly, it can eventually damage your battery. Alternatively, visit your nearest battery specialist for fault finding.
Both very hot and very cold temperatures can affect the life of car batteries as well as their performance. The health of your car battery is affected by the climate that you live in. Car batteries require large amounts of amperage to start and cold weather can decrease the battery’s ability to cope with pressure from the starter motor. Starting your vehicle in cold weather can put strain on the battery. Headlights and heaters are used more often in winter, which puts additional strain on car batteries. While cold temperatures have a negative impact on your car battery, hot temperatures also affect its lifespan. When the electrolytes in your battery heat up, the chances of it evaporating increase and if lost electrolytes aren’t replaced it can lead to permanent damage. Overcharging a battery can also decrease its lifespan and result in permanent damage. You can protect your battery in winter by making sure that it’s charged properly. Ensure that your battery is properly maintained by checking the electrolyte levels and by making sure that there are no signs of corrosion on the connections. Proper maintenance can ensure the longevity of car batteries in both very hot and very cold conditions.
Now that you know more about the things that can drain your car batteries, remember to avoid them as much as possible.