AutosCar battery will last even more than 5 years. You just need to know a few things

Car battery will last even more than 5 years. You just need to know a few things

Charging the battery
Charging the battery
Images source: © Autokult | Marcin Łobodziński

6:47 AM EDT, October 3, 2023, updated: 9:01 AM EDT, October 5, 2023

Have you noticed that batteries seem worse today than they used to be, losing their power after just 3-5 years? Do you feel like you have to replace them more often than before? Such opinions are becoming more common. However, experts believe this is not true. They argue that the problem isn't with the quality of the batteries, but with how they are cared for.

The experts from the "mrBattery" YouTube channel are convinced that any battery can easily last 10 years, provided that the user invests some of their time and attention in it. However, it's crucial that this care is given at the right time—preferably before winter and the start of summer. Here are a few tips that the experts would like to share with the users.

The most important rule is to charge the battery twice a year. Experts are confident that regular charging of the battery before winter and summer could significantly prolong its life — even doubling it. However, it's crucial to use a good rectifier. You might ask, why charge the battery before summer, when winter seems to be the most obvious challenge?

It turns out that it is in the summer, not the winter, when a car battery is most at risk of damage. High temperatures have the greatest impact on battery life. Charging the battery before the summer season allows the electrolyte to mix, which reduces corrosive processes and prepares the battery for the most difficult conditions. In neglected or "tired" batteries, so-called self-discharge may occur.

Problems with the battery are most often associated with winter, as this is when all the problems resulting from its improper use throughout the year are revealed.

However, it's worth noting that a lot depends on how the car is used. If it is primarily or exclusively used for short distances, the battery may require more frequent charging — even as often as every three months. This is due to the fact that the drives may be too short for the battery to be properly charged by the alternator after starting.

Basic battery maintenance includes replenishing the electrolyte level and cleaning. If possible, it is also worth checking the density of the electrolyte using inexpensive devices. This can be done before charging, which means twice a year.

Terminals and poles can be cleaned with sandpaper or an inexpensive device. It is also worth cleaning the battery housing from time to time to avoid situations where creeping currents appear on it.

You can check voltages using a simple electrical meter (multimeter), but remember that it must have a working battery. A discharged battery in a meter can distort the measurement, which is significant in the case of an accumulator. What exactly are we measuring?

  • Resting voltage — from 12.55 to 12.8V, when the car is turned off and closed (only the hood is open).
  • Starting voltage — up to 10 V, the absolute minimum is 8.5 V — measured during car startup.
  • Charging voltage — from 14.0 to 14.5 V, measured during engine operation.
  • Voltage drops—maximum of 200 mV, measured between the alternator and the battery. To check the power circuit, we apply one electrode of the meter to the alternator current wire, and the other to the positive terminal of the battery. To check the ground circuit, we apply one electrode to the alternator casing, and the other to the negative terminal of the battery. We only measure drops when the car is old and there are problems with charging the battery.
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