Battery – Few things you need to know about automotive batteries

Battery – Few things you need to know about automotive batteries

Despite being a basic item for the operation of the car, many people do not understand the real importance of the automotive battery, nor how it works, or how to act in adverse situations that normally occur due to its misuse. That’s why we’ve made a complete and simple guide with all the useful information about automotive batteries so that you’re no longer in doubt about the subject. Come on?

What is it for:

The automotive battery is nothing more than an energy accumulator. Its function is to have a reserve available to be delivered to the car whenever it needs it, that is, at the time of activating the starter motor (starting the car) and to turn on any electronic item (sound, internal lights, headlights, etc.). But, by now, you may be asking yourself: how does this energy not end? Very simple! The car’s electrical system has an alternator that recharges the battery when the engine is running, so that energy is always available, as long as you know how to use it correctly. And that’s what you’ll learn from this text, so let’s move on!

Do not use electronic items when the car engine is off:

You may have already turned on the stereo when the car is stopped, or even forgotten the headlight on when you parked somewhere. In fact, these items work with the engine off, but that doesn’t mean they should be used that way. When you demand battery power with the engine stopped, it only releases the stored reserve without recharging it, since the alternator only performs this function when the engine is running.

This way, if the battery uses all of its reserves without starting the engine, when you try to start the car, there will be no energy stored to crank the starter, so the engine will not run. So if you don’t want to be on hand when turning the key in the ignition, avoid using items that require battery power when the engine is off.

Don’t leave your car parked for a long time:

This is a precaution for those drivers who only take the car once in a while. Be aware that you might be surprised when you can’t start your car engine. This is because, even when stopped, the car continues to consume a small amount of energy. So, if you leave the engine off for too long, the alternator won’t recharge the battery and energy can be completely consumed, and it might not even crank the starter when you need it. It is recommended to start the car at least once a week, keeping the engine running for about 10 minutes. This is enough to make the alternator recharge the battery and keep it ready to run longer.

Turn off the car’s electronics before turning off the engine:

In a hurry to arrive soon, we usually just stop the car, turn off the engine and leave. This may sound normal, but it ends up decreasing battery life. The fact is, when you turn off the engine without first turning off the car’s electronics, they’re on standby, ready to turn on as soon as you get back in the car and turn the key again. This practice can cause the battery to overcharge, as it will have to provide the energy to crank the starter motor and turn on all these items at the same time. So, remember: when stopping the car, turn everything off before turning off the engine, your battery thanks to you.

Maintenance:

As mentioned at the beginning of this guide, sealed batteries available on the market today no longer require the periodic addition of demineralized water for maintenance. This brought a lot of practicality, but it doesn’t mean that we can forget about it trusting that everything is OK just because it is working.

Despite being quite dangerous, this reaction is relatively slow and can be stopped with very simple cleaning processes. If you find this type of residue on your battery, follow these instructions:

1) Turn off the vehicle and disconnect the battery terminals from the car’s electrical system.

2) Unscrew and remove the negative pole clamp first, then do the same on the positive pole (it is very important to follow this order).

3) Prepare a solution with 1 tablespoon of baking soda in 200 ml of water.

4) Use a brush or cloth to rub the solution well on the region affected by the cinnabar. Be careful not to drop the solution on other parts of the engine.

5) After all the cinnabar is removed, use a damp cloth to rinse and a dry cloth to dry the terminals.

If you want to prevent future corrosion, rub a little grease or Vaseline on the clean poles.

Connect the terminals to the respective clamps in the reverse order they were disconnected, cover them with plastic protection and you’re done!

How to recharge?

Situations, where the car battery runs down, are not uncommon. At this time, despair hits, we don’t always know how to act and, often, we don’t have the necessary equipment to get out of this situation.

Now that you have a power source and a cable to transfer it, start the procedure as follows:

1) Completely turn off both cars.

2) Identify the negative and positive poles of each battery to connect the transfer cable correctly.  

3) First connect the red cables to the positive poles, starting with the discharged battery and then to the charged one.

4) Now connect the black cables to the negative poles, also starting with the discharged battery and then connecting the charged battery.

5) Make sure that the fasteners are secure in each terminal and, only then, start the charged car engine, accelerating it for 10 minutes at a rotation of at least 1500 rpm.

6) After this time, start the car that was unloaded and run the engine for another 20 minutes.

If the car does not start on the first attempt, repeat the same procedure a maximum of 5 times. If you still can’t get the car to start, don’t try anymore. In this case, the only solution is to replace the battery.

Another article on this blog that may interest you:

How Battery Energy Storage Systems Work

Rob Prosser