Every part of the car has its own resources.
This also applies to the battery. Over the years, the battery loses its characteristics, the battery capacity decreases, and it becomes more difficult to start a car in winter.
However, some drivers may not pay attention to battery problems for a long time until you stop to take a break and the car and can’t start again, on the road or even worse on the highway.
To avoid this situation, you need to monitor the battery life and replace it with a new one.
What is the lifespan of a car battery?
It is considered that the battery should be changed every 3-4 years of operation.
so that you will feel confident in winter, and won’t have problems with the ignition. However, it is known that batteries from well-known manufacturers work for about 4-5 years.
You need to remember that the operating conditions of the car may be different, so do not rush to the store. It is better to conduct several tests and checks.
What are the signs of a bad battery
- Almost every engine start is difficult, including in warm weather
- The onboard computer constantly indicates the need to charge the battery
- The battery has an unpleasant smell
- After an hour of listening to music or any device that consumes electricity, the battery runs out and the car cant start. By these signs, you can understand that the battery needs to be replaced, if not replaced, then at least seriously checked.
- After an intense and long ride, checking the battery voltmeter shows a low battery level
- Even after a whole night of charging the battery, the density of the electrolyte does not reach the norm (1.25). Low level of electrolyte density in a battery indicates that you should replace your battery
If the car is used in a taxi or a minibus, which means, “very intensive usage”, the battery is in constant recharge mode and significantly wears out.
The service life of such a battery can be only 1-2 years. However, you need to understand that problems with the battery do not always indicate the need to replace it.
Maybe The battery isn’t fully charged.
Checking the battery charge
Checking is simple, but first, you should turn off the battery.
Measure the voltage at the terminal’s and evaluate the result.
The optimal battery voltage is 12.6 V. This means that the battery is fully charged and working properly.
A reading of 12.2 V indicates a slight discharge. If the voltage is below 12 V, the battery should be charged immediately.
Can you test a car battery?
You will need a multimeter – a device for measuring voltage.
If you don’t have it, you can ask your friends or buy it in a store.
The device is inexpensive, the simplest one costs around 5 dollars.
it is recommended to buy a digital multimeter, not a pointer because it is more convenient to work with.
Do not rely on battery measurement using the vehicle’s onboard computer, because they are wrong.
These voltmeters are not connected directly to the battery, which means that losses are possible. Therefore, the voltage on them may be shown less than on the battery itself.
Checking battery with the engine on
Measure the voltage once the engine started.
It should be from 13.5 to 14.0 V.
If the motor is running and it is more than 14.2V it indicates a low battery charge and that the generator is working in enhanced mode to charge the battery.
This is not always the case, for example, in winter there may be an increased voltage because the battery could be discharged overnight due to cold temperatures.
Or the electronics detect the air temperature and give more charge to the battery.
There is nothing wrong with high voltage.
If everything is normal with the electrical equipment of the car, then after 5-10 minutes the electronics will throw it off to normal: 13.5-14.0 V.
If this does not happen and it is not gradually reset to the optimal value, this may result in a battery recharge. It will work at maximum output, which threatens to boil off the electrolyte.
If the voltage is less than 13.0-13.4 V when the motor is running that means that the battery doesn’t charge at all. Do not immediately run to the car service. to begin with, the measurement must occur with all energy consumers turned off. So turn off the music, lights, heating, air conditioning, and all power consumption devices.
Checking battery with the engine off
If the voltage is less than 11.8-12.0 V-the battery is low, the car may not start and you will have to jump-start it. The normal value is from 12.5 to 13.0 V.
There is an old and simple method to find out the charge level.
12.9 V – 90%
12.5 V – 50%
This is an approximate method of measuring the charge level, but it is effective, which is confirmed by our own experience.
There is one caveat. If the measurement takes place after the engine is stopped, then one reading is possible, and the next morning – another.
It is better to measure the battery voltage before driving.
The battery charge level indicates its ability to keep the voltage on for some days. If it is fully charged, or has not been driven for more than a week, the voltage will not drop much. Otherwise, if the car battery is low, the voltage will drop quickly.
Before making conclusions about the need to replace the battery, it is necessary to fully charge it with a special device.
By the way, manufacturers do not recommend using batteries in the cold, if they are charged less than 75%.
Before the onset of winter, be sure to fully charge the battery, so that it does not stall on the road.
If you have fully charged the battery, but it could not start the car engine, then it is serious and the battery should be replaced.
Unless, of course, the problem with the ignition is something else, for example, the starter failed.
It happens that the battery is able to start the engine only once or twice in a row, and then the voltage drops significantly at the clamps.
This means that the battery life is exhausted and you should think about buying a new battery.
If you doubt the quality of the battery, you can always contact specialists.
For example, in stores that sell batteries, there are also services for checking your battery.
It happens that the fault is not the battery, but the generator, which does not give the necessary power for charging.
How to check the battery capacity
Battery capacity is a very important indicator that reflects the duration of battery operation without loss of current.
The capacity is measured in ampere-hours. It can be difficult to conduct it yourself, so it is better to contact the service station.
The standard laboratory method for determining battery capacity is the long-term test discharge method.
In the beginning, the battery is fully charged, and then discharged with a constant low current. At the same time, they keep track of battery discharge time.
The battery capacity is calculated as the product of the current strength over time.
The complexity of the method consists of the need to maintain a constant value of the discharge current, for this purpose special equipment is used.
A common way to measure battery capacity is to discharge the battery using a constant load.
In this case, one or more car lamps are used as a load, choosing the load from the calculation of 1/20 of the nominal capacity.
The time is marked by a regular clock.
This method is inaccurate, since the battery voltage decreases during testing, and therefore the load current changes.
You should also be careful of a full (deep) discharge of the battery since it can lead to battery failure.
so, again, it is better to contact the service station.
An old battery that needs to be replaced can be a headache for any car enthusiast.
Difficulty starting the engine in winter is the most common problem.
Therefore, you should not hope for a chance and wait for the time when you are late somewhere because of an unreliable battery.
At the same time, a used battery can always be sold to buyers or handed over to a store to get a good discount.
In this case, the new battery will cost less and will not let you down on the road.