Understanding Your Car Battery
Every time you push on a start engine button or twist a key to start your car there is a series of events that instantly takes place. The core of those events starts from a battery. The car’s battery plays a crucial role in waking up the engine. In this article, we will talk about everything that you need to know about the car’s battery.
Importance of a car battery
The battery provides the necessary power to help start the vehicle. It does this by converting the chemical energy into electrical energy and delivering this electricity to the starter motor that starts the engine. Without the battery, the starter motor would not get the required power to do its job.
How does a battery function?
Most vehicles are equipped with a lead-acid battery. The chemical reaction between lead and acid releases energy and this energy is stored inside the cells in a battery until your vehicle needs it. It is then converted into electrical energy to power your car.
Once the engine is up and running, the car’s alternator sends the electrical energy back to the battery and this is then converted back to chemical energy. This means the car’s battery is rechargeable. But this loop process fades with time as the battery becomes older. On average, a battery would last 3 to 5 years, but factors such as driving habits and exposure of the battery to extreme elements can shorten the battery life.
How exactly does a battery work in a car?
We already talked about how the battery transfers the electricity to power the starter motor which starts the engine. But there are a couple of more steps that take place in between. Upon receiving the power from the battery the starter motor engages with a gear that is then connected with a bigger gear, also called a flywheel. The starter motor turns the flywheel which runs the crankshaft and helps start the engine’s combustion process. Once the combustion process is started, the starter motor disengages and its job is complete.
The engine’s serpentine belt runs the alternator which supplies the electricity while the car is running and also charges the battery. If the vehicle is using more power than what the alternator can provide, in this case, the battery provides the backup power. If the vehicle uses the backup power of the battery too often or for too long then there are risks of draining the battery.
Signs it’s time to replace your car’s battery
A healthy battery can be recharged by the alternator but an old battery struggles to do so. There are various signs that could help figure out the time to replace the batteries.
- Slow engine start. When trying to start the car you may experience a sluggish cranking sound and a longer than normal start.
- The battery case appears to be swollen. Mostly excessive heat makes the battery swollen and decreases its life.
- Check engine light is ON. The check engine light appears when the battery voltage is not enough to start a vehicle. Some vehicles also have a low battery light.
- The car does not start the engine at all but you hear the rapid clicking noise.
- Low battery fluid level. This is usually caused by a cracked or leaking battery. overheating or overcharging could also drop the fluid level.
- Your battery is older than 3 years. Although the battery can last more than 3 years, there are factors that can reduce the battery life. It is recommended to get the battery inspected once it has reached the 3-year mark.
Next time when your vehicle struggles to start and shows any of the above signs, you know it’s time to get a new battery. Contact your technician to get the right battery size and fit for your vehicle.