When you think of a dead car battery, you probably think about it being the dead of winter. You try to start your car one frigid morning and nothing happens. This week alone we have had 4 battery failures with 1 of the failures actually exploding when the car was being started.
Battery failures can occur in the cold weather but that's not usually what has caused the problem. The drain on the battery's resources most likely occurred during the summer's hot weather.
There is no battery that last forever! When you buy a battery the label usually tells you how long you can expect it to last. Five to seven years is not unusual as long as the battery is operated under normal conditions. Extremely hot weather and overcharging are the two main reasons for shortened battery life, according to the Car Council. The battery contains liquid and heat causes it to evaporate. Low fluid levels will damage the internal structure of the battery.
Your car's voltage regulator can be another source of trouble. If it malfunctions, allowing too high a charging rate, your battery suffers a slow death. There may not be any warning signs until one morning, when you are already late for an appointment, your car won't start.
Your driving habits can also contribute to shorter battery life. Frequent engine on/off cycles will cause more wear on the starter than a simple back and forth to work.
Other factors include driving and weather conditions, mileage, vehicle age and excessive electrical draws like in-vehicle entertainment systems. A tel-tale sign your battery could be on its last legs is when you notice headlights and interior lights dim, accessories fail to operate, or the "check engine" and/or battery light comes on.
By having your battery routinely checked will allow you go get more life out of it. Keep the top of the battery clean. Dirt and engine grease can build up and, when they do, they serve as a conductor, which drains battery power. Look for corrosion accumulating on battery terminals. The corrosion, often blue in color, services as an insulator, reducing current flow.
Call The Auto Analyst, your local one stop auto repair shop, (530) 621-4591 to have your battery checked today. Visit our website www.theautoanalyst.com.
A picture of what your battery should NOT look like.