Aside from the motor, the second most noticeable part under the hood of a car is the battery. Sadly, the reason most people know where the battery is, has nothing to do with the size, but rather because they have needed to jump a car at one point.
*Side note, some car batteries are placed in the trunk of your car!
But what exactly does the battery do if the motor is in charge of powering the car?
The batteries found in most automobiles are referred to as wet – cell batteries, after the liquid electrolyte inside of the rechargeable batteries. Under the wet-cell battery sector there are two types of batteries which are installed, they are SLI (Starting, Lighting, and Ignition) and the Deep Cycle battery.
Because most cars come with a generic SLI battery from the manufacturer the rest of this blog will be highlighting aspects specific to that type of battery.
The batteries job is simple,
Provide small bursts of electricity to power the engine and other accessories on the car. Within the battery itself there are 6 cells, and inside of each one are plates. The plates are immersed in an acid that will trigger an electric reaction and turn the vehicle on.
So then the real question becomes when to change your battery?
• Slow engine crank
– This is when you go to turn on your car and the start is not instant. Always be aware of the sounds your car makes as it could save you headaches.
• Check engine light
– While this little light might be every driver’s worst nightmare, it could mean that you have low voltage on your battery, have your battery checked at your local auto shop.
• Old battery
– Batteries are designed to last 3 to 5 years yes, but living in an area with hot weather does shorten their life span to 1 year or 1 and a half if you’re lucky.
• You get stranded
– This one isn’t so much a result as it is a big red flag that something bigger than your battery could be wrong. If this occurs we recommend having your car looked at immediately.
Once you have decided on purchasing a new battery, visit your trusted auto shop for a replacement. Keep in mind that while it is unusual, some batteries can leak. If you are having the battery replaced by a certified technician, they will make sure they are not installing a damaged battery.
If you are changing the battery on your own, there are details which cannot be ignored for the good of your car and your well-being.
- Make sure there are no cracks on the battery casing, this could lead to leaking from the battery
- If leaking has occurred you will most likely know due to dripping or bubbling coming from the battery.
- Never install a battery if it appears inflated or looks like it has sustained visible damage.
*Note, seeing a build up of corrosion on your battery DOES NOT mean that you have a leak, or that there is anything wrong. It can generally be a side affect of living in an are with high salt content in the air!
Stop by Memorial Drive Tire & Auto for a battery check and new battery, or contact us with any of your questions. To learn more about batteries check out our video below.