Most robust cars are designed to suit the needs of the modern consumer. They are equipped with cooling and heating systems, enhanced airbags, comfortable interior lighting and seat warmers. The hidden component that supports all these advanced electrical features of your car is a car battery. High-performance car batteries are responsible for the smooth functioning of all these car features, and therefore, your comfort. Here are some interesting details about your car battery – the powerhouse of your vehicle.
Automotive Batteries – Types and their Functioning
The basic principle behind the design of any cell, automotive or otherwise, is the conversion of energy from chemical to electrical. Automotive batteries are designed to suit vehicles operating in different climates and on different fuels. Diesel and petrol-powered cars run on batteries designed to deliver a large amount of current for a short duration. The main functions of a car battery in such vehicles are to support starting, lighting and ignition, giving it the name SLI battery.
Except supporting start-up, car batteries also power electrical equipment or driver assistance features. They work as a stabiliser too, preventing harm in case of voltage spikes. The two primary types of high-performance car batteries installed in most models are:
Wet-cell car batteries contain lead-based cathodes and anodes. Plastic cases and woven sheets prevent internal short-circuiting in such batteries. An electrolyte, usually consisting of sulphuric acid and water is filled in the cells. In some variants, the electrolyte level can be monitored using a small cap fitted on the top. Recent upgrades of the wet-cell battery may not require water addition. Flooded car batteries are intolerant of deep discharge, for example, complete drainage of the car battery if you forget to switch off the interior lights.
VRLA batteries come in gel cell and absorbed glass mat (AGM) varieties. They do not require water addition and have an automatic pressure release valve. The gel cell variety is usually used in heavy-duty vehicles that operate in a hot climate. AGM high-performance car batteries are installed in vehicles operating in colder climates.
Some significant reasons for car battery failure include terminal corrosion or Sulphation, excessive heat, internal short-circuiting and standard wear-out mechanism. High-performance automotive batteries do not drain easily if properly maintained. To ensure long battery life, try some of the following –
What Signifies a Dead Car Battery?
Running frequent checks on your high-performance car battery allows you to replace it on time. While a battery check and replacement expert must always conduct final tests, there are a few tell-tale signs of a weak car battery that you must not ignore –
Since car batteries power up both the headlights and the rear lights of your car, a drained battery leads to decrease in brightness or constant flickering of headlights. This problem might be a result of a fault in other electrical components of your car, but to be safe, tit is recommended that you get your battery checked.
A car battery typically sends an electrical signal to the starter solenoid of your car. This starter solenoid later prompts the engine to start. Weak or faulty car batteries fail to muster enough power to signal the starter solenoid sufficiently. On receiving less than the demanded electrical power, the solenoid makes a clicking sound which is easily noticeable while turning on the ignition.
As a regular driver, you must already be familiar with the noise your engine makes during start-up. This cranking gets slower as your car battery weakens. If you experience slow engine start-up, your battery is likely in need of a replacement.
A prominent sign of a failing car battery is backfiring. A weak battery causes intermittent sparks which leads to fuel accumulation in your cylinder. As the built-up fuel is ignited suddenly, your car backfires. Other mechanical or electrical faults might also cause backfiring in your vehicle. If you experience it, get your car checked immediately.
Remembering the age of your car battery is very important. As a car battery ages, the electrolyte stored within it weakens or evaporates, leading to battery failure. Any battery that is more than 3 to 5 years old will most likely need replacement.
Jump starts are not foreign to most car drivers. While one or two jumpstarts shouldn’t alarm you, any car that needs jumpstarts frequently to get started is probably stuck with a weakening car battery. As batteries age, they forego their ability to hold a charge for long hours, needing repeated jumpstarts.
If you notice a blue film on the positive terminal of your car battery or see a clear coating on its body, be aware of its imminent death. Corrosion usually occurs due to leakage of acidic fumes from the battery body. Cleaning the battery body and terminals in such cases will only prove to be a temporary fix with the issue again surfacing sooner or later. Hence, if your battery shows signs of corrosion, get it replaced immediately.
Internal short-circuiting often causes leakage of acidic fumes from the battery, leading to a sulphurous smell (smell of rotten eggs). While such smell might sometimes be indicative of other faults in your car, having your battery checked is a good idea.
Temperature alterations caused by frequent charge/discharge often led to a swollen battery case. If your car battery shape is anything but rectangular, seek replacement pronto.
If you notice the signs mentioned above, head to a car battery expert to have your battery checked and if needs be, replaced.
What Should You Know Before Buying a New Car Battery?
If you are shopping for a replacement for your high-performance car battery, know the below-mentioned specifications to avoid buying the wrong product.
The dimensions of a high-performance car battery are grounds for its classification into different groups. The battery tray of your car is designed to adequately carry a battery of only one size. This ensures a snug fit and saves the battery from mechanical jerks and shocks. The group size of a car battery varies from model to model and for different types of cars. If you want to check the group size of your car battery, refer to your car owner manual. You may also check the label or the body of your pre-installed battery for this detail.
Also called standing power, the reserve capacity of your high-performance car battery refers to the time for which a battery can power the electrical systems of your car in case the alternator or the fan-belt fails. It is measured in minutes. Most vehicles are designed to suit a range of reserve capacities. Whenever you buy a new car battery, make sure it fits into the reserve capacity range as specified on your vehicle owner manual.
Cars that operate in extremely cold climatic conditions often do not start smoothly in the morning. This happens because of the thickening of engine oil brought about by low temperatures. Cold Cranking Amps is simply the power your battery supplies to your engine during start-up. It is defined as the number of amps a car battery can support for 30 seconds at zero degrees Fahrenheit. When you buy a new car battery, stick to the original CCA rating as prescribed by your car company. Purchasing a cell with a CCA rating significantly higher or lower than the recommended one can damage your car.
It is crucial to buy fresh car batteries. As batteries age, their electrolyte weakens. Any high-performance car battery that is older than three months from the date of purchase will not render satisfactory performance. Never forget to check the date of manufacture mentioned on the label of a new car battery.
Typically, high-performance car batteries come with a free replacement warranty period followed by a pro-rata warranty period. During the free replacement warranty period, manufacturers replace your car battery without extra costs. As your battery enters the prorated period, you can expect partial reimbursement of the purchase cost in case of a manufacturing defect in your car battery. Buying a car battery with an extended warranty is financially beneficial, for you do not have to suffer the hassle of buying a new battery if the replacement fails shortly after being installed.
Reputed brands like Amaron and Exide manufacture most high-performance car batteries. These brands ensure optimum customer service and produce high-quality cells that are suited for most car models. They are recognised all over the country for their durability and reliability. Buying a cheap knock off might make financial sense to you initially. Still, the replacement, repair and maintenance costs that accompany such low-quality batteries may end up being a cross too heavy to bear.
Careful Installation is Important
After you have had your battery checked and shopped for a replacement, seek professional help to avoid making installation mistakes that could damage your car permanently. Head to AIS Car Fit Experts to have our professionals check your car battery and provide you with a high-performing replacement for it. Our battery replacement experts are well versed in all the technical aspects of battery installation and observe the highest safety standards while handling your car. We cater in world-class high-performance car batteries from reputed brands such as Exide and Amaron to grant you the most perfect fit for your car. We also offer doorstep battery check and replacement services to make battery replacement hassle-free for you. Get in touch with us today!