Car Battery Care

A healthy car battery is one of the essential parts of a functional car. It needs regular service and maintenance to perform well over time. Knowing how it works, its purpose, how to spot a bad car battery, what time it needs a replacement, etc., can help as the last thing one would want is a dead car battery in the middle of a road.


Introduction to a car battery

A normal car battery is a rechargeable battery that is used to start (crank) a car along with various other functions. It is one of the car parts that does not get enough attention, but it does a lot of things and plays a vital role in ensuring a car remains functional & running. In technical terms, “a battery is a device that translates chemical energy into electricity.” All batteries are composed of cells that store up chemical energy which can be converted to electricity on demand. Most of these batteries based on a lead-acid chemical reaction fall into the category of SLI, which is short for starting, lighting, and ignition. A normal car battery is designed for a certain number of cycles (one cycle is defined as a complete charge to complete discharge).  A car battery goes through a lot, including severe fluctuations in temperatures. Both extreme heat and cold weather conditions deteriorates the life of a car battery & like any other part of a car, its battery also needs care and maintenance.

General causes of battery failure

Few common reasons of a battery to fail earlier than the designed life span is keeping the vehicle non-functional for long periods, frequent small trips due to which the battery do not get full charge & as a result acid stratification takes place, the steady buildup of dirt and dust could also be the reason for a degraded battery, the terminals of the battery can also corrode over time. The accumulation of dirt and drainage of the battery charge could cause a short circuit too, Keeping the vehicle started on idling with AC, lights & other gadgets switched on for long quickly discharges the battery as all these gadgets at that time are compensating the load from battery.   

Precautions to maximize the battery life

Switch on the battery on regular intervals, do not put excess load on the battery in small trips/ journeys and while it is switched on while parked, keep the battery terminals clean & to do so a periodic inspection must be done, always take a battery health check report on periodic interval from your workshop.

Right Time to replace the Car battery

The right time to change the battery is when the cranking starts getting weaker, cabin light start flickering on idling speed while headlights are switched on. Timely replacement will help you avoid inconvenience & financial loss by paying more for a battery or towing your vehicle as you will be short of options at that time.


Tips to ensure your battery stays alive upon your return from vacations

Ideally the battery negative terminal needs to be disconnected while leaving vehicle for long as this prevents your battery from losing charge. In case where it is not possible, make sure that there is nothing remained switched on which will drain the battery. Another important aspect is to keep the vehicle parked away from the excessive heat or cold as the extreme weather will increase the drain rate.

Is it OK to use a battery that is not OEM

Car batteries are manufactured by various companies & every battery has a part number mentioned on it which helps in distinguishing it from the others. All batteries of the same size (part #) are ok to be fitted but will give a different service life depending on their characteristics.

Is battery technology walking the path of green energy

Renewables are a promising tool in the fight against climate change. The only thing that’s holding those resources back from becoming 100 per cent of our total electricity generation is the ability to store that energy and dispatch it as needed. Not only have there been incredible breakthroughs in solar, wind and hydropower, the cost to generate clean energy has dropped. It’s now far cheaper than fossil fuels. Renewables, grids and storage now account for more than 80 per cent of total power sector investment globally, according to recent analysis by the International Energy Agency (IEA). Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries have come to dominate more than 90 per cent of the global grid market.

What happens to discarded batteries?

Lead-acid batteries are highly recyclable, with many countries achieving recycling rates of more than 90 per cent. However, that doesn’t mean they can go into the waste bin at home. Toxic substances like lead can leak into the environment when car batteries and other lead-acid batteries end up in landfill. Recycling lead-acid batteries is a rigorous process and is necessary to ensure that the different parts are safe to reuse.

Once the batteries are collected, they are taken to a hammer mill where they are broken apart. The main parts of lead-acid batteries are lead, plastic coating known as polypropylene, and sulphuric acid. The sulphuric acid is neutralized and turned into sodium sulphate, which is used to make fertilizer and detergent. The lead and polypropylene parts are separated by putting the broken battery pieces into a vat, where the lead falls to the bottom and the plastic materials float. The plastic pieces are then collected, and the liquid is drained off from the vat to retrieve the lead. Both the lead and plastic casings are then recycled into new batteries or used in other industrial products.