Batteries are made with a series of grids or plates and these are coated with a lead paste, the materials may differ when used on the positive and negative plates. It is when these are immersed in electrolyte, which is diluted sulphuric acid, that the electrons build up a charge on these plates.
When you turn the key in your car, it is the electrons that flow freely through the cables to the starter and all of the electrical system in the car. How many of you have tried to start a car at some time or another with a flat battery, or even worse one that is not as charged up as it should be.
It is the winter months especially when you have to make sure that your battery is in tiptop condition and good working order. It’s these months that batteries have to provide you with maximum power to start your car. Sometimes this can be restricted because of the low temperatures that can occur, and depending of course, as to what area or region you live.
It is worth remembering that the batteries power can become restricted because of any change in the weather for example your battery will only have 40% of its power when you turn your ignition key if the temperature drops below 40c when it actually needs two to three times as much in order for your car to start.
It is always essential for everybody to ensure that your battery is fully charged irrespective of the weather. Having a fully charged battery that will deliver all the power to your car is necessary in the prevention of any mishaps or embarrassing breakdowns.
The difference in a new fully charged battery is that the plate material has no problem in generating all the electrons that are necessary. It is as the battery ages that a lot of the plate material will slowly sulphate or harden. When this starts to happen, it becomes less capable of either producing or holding a charge.
There can often be a difference of opinion as to the actual life of the battery, there are those that say a battery should last approximately five years, this is normally the time when you might experience starting problems when turning your ignition on.
Then it has been known for batteries to last as long as seven years and in some cases longer, normally it is five years or a little over before you may start experiencing any problems. If it goes for a lot longer over this time then you can call that a bonus.
There are a number of things that can happen that will reduce battery life, and some of these things you may be able to avoid by following a simple checklist once a week. One occurrence that can happen is if your battery is sitting loosely, this will cause it vibrate and rattle around eventually cracking material on the plates. This will eventually loosen falling into the bottom of your batteries case.
This in time will cause a problem because the batteries surface area will not produce the electricity needed to function properly, and any loose material could fall in between a positive and negative plate that will cause them to short out and to cease working. That is why when purchasing a battery always go for the good quality one, these come with special sleeves built in around the plates preventing any damage from loose material bridging the two plates.
A common mistake made by most people at some time or other is leaving the car lights on, an easy thing to do in the winter months especially when all you want to do is park the car and go indoors. If the lights are left on until the battery goes dead, this will no doubt cause damage.
Once the battery is discharged, the plate material will start to harden, and it is because of this that the portion of plate affected won’t accept when trying to charge it again. The best solution if possible is if your battery has discharged, you must try to charge it back up as soon as possible. It has been known that if a battery completely discharges more than four times, reducing its capacity, then the only answer is to recycle it and purchase a new battery.