Today’s report from Bells Mill AutoCare is on car batteries, why they die and what we can do to lengthen their life. Most of us have had a dead battery at one time or another. In fact, it would be very unusual if you hadn’t. You may be surprised to learn that only 30 percent of Chesapeake vehicle batteries last for 48 months.
Now that’s an average. How long a battery lasts depends on many factors. You may not know that one of the biggest factors is the temperature where you live and drive around Chesapeake. You might suppose that cold weather was harder on batteries because it takes more power to crank a cold engine, but the opposite is actually true.
For more information on your battery, please visit us: Bells Mill AutoCare 964 Bells Mill Rd Chesapeake, VA 23322 757.436.5950
Batteries in very cold climates have a life expectancy of 51 months as opposed to 30 months in very warm climates. The reason is simple: batteries are chemically more active when they’re hot than when they’re cold.
A car battery will actually start to discharge on its own within 24 hours in hot weather. It takes several days in cold weather. When batteries are left too long in a state of partial discharge, the discharged portion of the battery plates actually, for the lack of a better word, ‘die’. Recharging the battery will not restore the dead part of the battery plate.
One of the big problems for the way most of us drive in the Chesapeake area, is that our batteries are often partially discharged. The biggest job the battery does is to start the car. It takes some time for the alternator to recharge the battery after starting. If you’re driving short distances, especially if there are several starts and stops, your battery may not fully recharge.
Another issue is that vehicles are coming equipped with more and more electricity hungry accessories like navigation systems, DVD players, CD and MP3 players, heated seats, heated steering wheels and so on. And we often plug in cell phones, computers and other gadgets. Combine that with short trips and it’s no wonder that our batteries are partially discharged.
Experts say we can extend our battery life by topping off the charge periodically using a good quality battery charger. You may’ve heard these chargers referred to as ‘trickle chargers’. They’re attached to the battery and plugged into a wall outlet to slowly bring the battery up to full charge.
Now there’s some science involved with how fast a battery should be recharged. If you buy a cheap manual charger, you’ll have to tend it. Frankly a learning curve on how to do it right and requires much attention. A computer controlled charger – or smart charger – monitors the process and determines the appropriate rate of charge. And it even stops charging when it’s fully charged. It costs more than the manual charger, but the automatic model is worth it.
The suggestion is to charge once a month in warm weather and once every three months in cold weather.
Another thing to avoid is deeply discharging your battery. Something like running the headlights and stereo with the engine turned off. That’ll take months off the battery life every time you do it.
Now, as we discussed, heat is hard on a battery. A dirty, greasy battery holds more heat. You can wipe off excess dirt with a paper towel or ask your service advisor at Bells Mill AutoCare to clean it for you. Bells Mill AutoCare can even test your battery and tell you if it’s time to replace it.
Batteries are fairly expensive, so taking a few steps to make them last longer is well worth it. Of course, the battery will eventually need to be replaced. Always make sure you get a new battery that meets the factory specifications for your vehicle. If you feel you need more battery capacity than what came with your vehicle, talk with your service advisor at Bells Mill AutoCare about appropriate upgrades.
If you have a dead battery, be careful to inspect it before you jump start it. If the case is bulging, cracked or leaking, do not jump start it. Damaged batteries can explode or catch fire. And deeply discharged batteries can freeze. Do not jump start a frozen battery.
A New Battery In Chesapeake
Posted on March 27,15 by truck2
Hello Chesapeake drivers, let’s talk about batteries. Car batteries are just like any rechargeable battery. They will eventually wear out and die. If you are shopping for a new battery in Chesapeake, here’s some auto advice to help you.
There are two measurements to consider when purchasing a new battery: cold cranking amps and reserve capacity. The power required to start a cold engine is measured in cold cranking amps. The number you need is determined by what kind of vehicle you drive and where you live. In general, higher-cylinder engines require more cold cranking amps than lower-cylinder engines. In other words, an eight-cylinder engine needs more cold cranking amps than a six-cylinder one. Also, diesel engines require more cold cranking amps than gasoline engines.
The Chesapeake weather also determines the number of cold cranking amps you need. The colder the pickup engine, the more power it takes to get it started. Also, cold VA weather reduces the electrical efficiency of the battery, which reduces the amount of energy available in the battery to start the engine. Thus, in freezing temperatures, you need more power to start an engine, but you have less power available to get it started.
So if you live in a cold climate, or in an area in VA where winters can get really chilly, it is important to have a battery with more cold cranking amps than if you live in a more mild or warmer climate.
The battery that was installed in your pickup at the factory may not have the appropriate number of cold cranking amps for your area. It is vital to check the manufacturer’s recommendations and get at least that number of cold cranking amps, but you may want to upgrade if you live in a colder climate.
Reserve capacity is the number of minutes your battery can maintain essential functions in your pickup without being recharged. There are two things that affect reserve capacity. The first is referred to as parasitic drain. Your pickup has power systems that must be kept running while the engine is off. These may include the security system, the remote start systems, and any computer systems. The number and power requirements of these systems has greatly increased over the last few decades. As a result, the need for reserve capacity in vehicles’ batteries has also increased. Very short trips around Chesapeake and Suffolk do not allow a vehicle’s battery to recover the energy that was used to start the car. So these trips require reserve capacity as well.
Again, the reserve capacity in the battery installed at the factory may not be what you need for your Chesapeake lifestyle and driving habits. Again, use the manufacturer’s recommendation as a minimum, but consider upgrading if your pickup has a lot of parasitic power drain or if you frequently make very short trips around Chesapeake.
Your considerate technician at Bells Mill AutoCare in Chesapeake can help you choose an appropriate battery for your vehicle and your lifestyle. If you need extra power owing to cold weather or a need for more reserve capacity, you may want to choose a heavy-duty battery. Just make sure it fits into your pickup. An oversized battery may give you the power you need, but it’s a serious safety hazard if the terminals come into contact with other parts of the vehicle.
Car batteries aren’t cheap in Chesapeake, so you may want to consider the warranty when purchasing. Pro-rated warranties will give you credit for a portion of the battery if the battery fails during the warranty period. The amount of credit will depend on how long the battery lasted. A free replacement warranty will replace your battery if it fails during the warranty period. Before you purchase a battery, make sure you know what you are buying.
Keep in mind that preventive maintenance and good car care can extend the life of your battery. Judicious use of electric gadgets and good driving habits is important and can help you get the most out of your battery.
Charge It In Chesapeake For Extended Battery Life
Posted on December 25,14 by truck2
Here’s an interesting statistic for our auto owners in Chesapeake, VA: Only thirty percent of car batteries make it to forty-eight months. And the life expectancy varies by where you live. It ranges from fifty-one months in extremely cold areas to just thirty months in extremely hot climates.
Why is that? It turns out that it’s our modern cars with all their electric accessories that are to blame. Things like, GPS, DVDs, and entertainment computers are keeping pickup batteries from maintaining a full charge. The longer a battery goes with a low charge, the sooner it’ll die.
It’s clear that you Chesapeake auto owners need to recharge your batteries. This is the job of the alternator. The problem comes when the car’s demand for electricity is high and we are driving in stop and go conditions or short trips around Chesapeake or Virginia Beach. The alternator just can’t keep up.
The result is shortened battery life. So what can we Chesapeake auto owners do to improve our battery’s health?
We need to keep the battery as close to a full charge as possible. That can be hard because sitting for just twenty-four hours in hot weather between charges can be too long. When the weather’s cold in Chesapeake, sitting for several days will cause discharge.
So some highway driving between Chesapeake or Chesapeake will help keep a full charge if the battery has not been deeply depleted. Car batteries are not designed to be run down really low, or deep cycled, as it’s called. So using your headlights or other power accessories when the car is off can deeply deplete your battery. Using the alternator to recharge from a deeply depleted state is also very dangerous to your battery because it charges too fast. In fact, on average, your battery would only last for ten recharges like that.
If you do find yourself with a dead battery or very low battery, use a good quality battery charger to slowly bring the battery up to full charge. Follow the instructions on the charger or talk to your considerate Bells Mill AutoCare tech.
Because our batteries are so often at less than a full charge, the experts at Bells Mill AutoCare suggest that we use a battery charger from time to time to keep the charge up. They recommend once a month during hot weather and once every three months during colder times.
Now, a key word on safety for Chesapeake auto owners. Batteries contain sulfuric acid that can severely burn your skin and could blind you. If you find yourself with a dead battery, carefully inspect it before you jump start it. If the case is bulging, cracked or leaking, do not jump start it. Damaged batteries can explode or catch fire. Deeply discharged batteries can freeze. Do not jump start a frozen battery.
At Bells Mill AutoCare, we provide quality automotive service including cabin air filter, safety inspection and cabin air filter.
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