Understanding how your car battery works
The Smile Servicing guide to car battery maintenance
You’ve probably clicked on this blog wondering if you’re going to need a new car battery? Well, let us explain. A car battery operates a number of important functions in your car and keeps it moving. If your car battery didn’t work, nor would your lights, sound system, heating and most importantly your engine. So, you’d think something this important would be well maintained in most cars, wouldn’t you? Well, it’s not as one-fifth of cars in the UK need their batteries changed every year.
At Smile Servicing, we want to help our customers maintain their car battery so that they spend less on call-out repairs and don’t get stuck away from home with a dead car battery!
So here are some tips and tricks with come up with to help you spot when you might need a new battery.
Car battery warning lights
To avoid being one of the five million cars this year with a faltering battery there are a number of warning signs you can look out for. The first key one is the red battery shaped light in your car’s instrument panel – this will light up when you turn the ignition on and if the battery is okay the light will turn itself off. If the light comes on while you’re driving this means that there’s an issue with your car’s charging system. This usually means that the alternator or the link between the alternator and the engine has failed. Despite this, you can continue to drive your car for as long as the battery is charged for. If there is a fault it is best to take it to your local garage to get fixed as they can diagnose the specific problem and resolve it. One thing you should never do is immediately assume that you need to change your battery and purchase a new one without getting a professional opinion.
Keep your car charged up
Another thing to take note of is if there isn’t enough current to turn the engine over as much as you’re used to. If possible you should avoid acid stratification, which is the process of acid in the cells starting to gather at the bottom of the battery. This only occurs if that battery is at less than 80% charge. To stop this from happening and to keep your car in good health you should drive it for at least 20 minutes once a week.
Check your service history
Cars are built to last and need batteries to match which is why the average car battery lasts between five and seven years. What can you do to get the most life out of your car’s battery? When you turn on your car let the car focus on cranking the engine before switching on headlights or whacking up the heating. It’s important to remember this, particularly in the winter because the engine oil tends to be thicker in colder weather.
Invest in a charger
If you don’t use your car regularly you should invest in a charger for your car battery to stop it from deteriorating. Smart chargers now provide you with plenty of information of how much charge your battery has – not only that but the charger also acts as a proficient power source. While this will work for some, it won’t work for everyone. Some car dealers recommend that you skip independently trying to fit a new battery, and instead suggest going to a professional to get a new car battery fitted. We also recommend going to get your car battery checked by a garage as they can diagnose how much life it has left in it and will often do so free of charge.
Smile Servicing provides MOT testing, car servicing and repairs in Portsmouth at affordable prices. Contact us for any advice and repairs with regards to your car battery and vehicle problems and one of our friendly team will be on hand to help.