Learn about batteries, their characteristics, types, care, and signs of change
The car battery is a vital piece that does much more than power the engine, as it is responsible for providing power to all the vehicle’s electronic components, such as lights, radio, security system, multimedia devices, the dashboard, and ventilation.
The battery charge allows the engine to start thanks to the fact that it stores chemical energy, which is then released as electrical energy, flowing through the vehicle’s circuitry to create it. In general, batteries are designed to have a useful life of 2 to 5 years, where the most common causes of deterioration are extreme temperatures, short trips, since these do not allow it to be recharged, corrosion, and excessive use of multimedia elements.
We share an essential battery guide, which will help you choose the ideal one for your vehicle, the care it needs, and the signs that indicate the need to change for a new one.
It also reminds you that quality batteries reduce visits to the mechanic by more than 50% and have an excellent guarantee.
Essential guide to a battery
To know the capacity of a battery, it is essential to check the factory label it comes with. The initials displayed on it indicate: the voltage or nominal voltage of the storm, which is measured in volts (V); the amperage, which measures the energy sustained during a discharge (Ah); and the cold start current or engine start (CCA), so when checking the side of the battery, it will be possible to observe, for example, 12V – 45 Ah – 300 CCA.
Of these three acronyms, the most important is the amperes (Ah) and the starting power (CCA) since they define the discharge capacity per hour and the starting force of the engine. A car has an average amperage of between 40 Ah and 110 Ah; the figures vary due to the model of the car and if its engine is diesel or gasoline-based; for that reason, it is necessary to know the number of amps of the battery and that when replacing it must be of the same capacity. Regarding starting power, the average value ranges from 300 CCA to 600 CCA and depends, above all, on the climate and engine size.
Tips that will improve battery life
- In short distances, it is advisable to use the least amount of electrical components in the car so that the energy generated is used to recharge the battery.
- When the engine is off, avoid using electrical components.
- After a long period of immobilization of the vehicle (weeks or months), recharging it with a battery charger of the same voltage and capacity is advisable.
- The battery’s amperage must be clear to demand it based on its capacity.
- Frequently attend your trusted mechanical workshop to review and change it.
- Use a dedicated charger to charge the battery, if your battery is an AGM battery, you need to use an AGM battery charger to charge the battery, not other chargers that are not compatible.
Sealed packaging batteries are recommended for the latest generation cars and Start-Stop models. In contrast, it is better to use batteries with caps for cargo vehicles, public service, and discontinued cars so that the driver can give them the necessary maintenance.
So what is the ideal battery?
There are different options depending on the vehicle model, although the most commonly used are lead-based batteries with wet cells because they are cheap and require little maintenance.
Master Auto presents three types of batteries that have versatility in their functions, longer charge duration, and practical life:
- AGM Batteries: AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat) batteries, as the name explains, are made of porous fiberglass. These batteries do not usually discharge beyond 50 percent of their charge, so they are also used in boats, yachts, speedboats, all-terrain ATVs, and high-end electrical installations. There are also some ocean-going ships that use lithium marine batteries.
- Calcium-silver batteries: A calcium battery is a right choice if your budget is limited because it is low maintenance, entry-level and standard model. This battery is designed with great power for quickly producing a lot of energy, ideal for cold starting. Thanks to its calcium alignment, it does not suffer from corrosion. Therefore, the self-discharge due to fluid loss is reduced by 80%.
- Gel batteries: are made of lead acid with gelled electrolyte, which gives the battery a longer functional life. This type of battery supports better temperature changes and a more significant number of charging cycles than the others. In addition, they can be recharged even if they have been fully discharged.
Pay attention to the signs that indicate the change in the battery
- Difficulty starting the engine.
- The battery is discharged with minimal effort.
- Stronger start.
- Activation of the battery indicator on the dashboard screen.
- Frequent electrical failures, such as flashing in multimedia devices.
- Loose or oxidized terminals (positive and negatively charged metal parts on the battery).
Another factor implies more effort from the battery in winter. In this rainy season, it is essential to have a resistant battery during long traffic hours to provide enough energy to the different vehicle devices, such as windshields, lights, radios, etc.
Also, keep your RV in top condition at any time; these will significantly help improve visibility during any route. Do not skimp on the care your vehicle deserves.
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