If we compare a car engine to a human heart, then a vehicle battery is the power that makes this heart beat. An accumulator is a key appliance for starting your automobile. Moreover, the electric car’s systems are tightly linked with the battery’s condition. That’s why if you want to keep your vehicle operable, it depends on how you make use of the battery. We decided to discuss some key points concerning accumulator usage and the difference between accumulators in new cars and salvage cars for sale, for example. Keep reading to learn more.
The Fundamentals Every Driver Should Know
A battery is a device for storing electrical energy for further use, which is widely used for the autonomous power supply of various electrical devices and equipment, particularly vehicles.
The car battery weight is directly proportional to its capacity. That is, the greater the power, the greater the mass. For example, a battery with a capacity of 50 Ah weighs an average of 29 lbs, and a battery with a capacity of 100 Ah weighs 54 lbs.
Remember also that the accumulator life is usually limited to five years. At the same time, with proper and careful use, this term can be extended.
Battery capacity is supposed to be one of the main characteristics of the appliance, which allows you to understand how long the accumulator can support a certain load. The easiest way to measure battery capacity is to use a multimeter. To do this, it is enough to fully charge the accumulator and disable it from the general system. Determine the level of the charged battery based on the voltage and density of the electrolyte obtained with a multimeter.
Keep in mind that batteries for Japanese and European cars differ in the type of terminals, sizes, and capacity. You shouldn’t try to interchange them. Owners of American cars with large-volume engines should be especially careful: “American-type” batteries are small but capable of generating a starting current of up to 800 A. If you have a car with a start-stop system, it is better to choose an accumulator specially designed for use in this mode.
Which Battery Is Better?
Today, three main types of car batteries can be distinguished:
- lead-acid battery;
- AGM battery;
- gel battery.
The first type of accumulator is one of the simplest, oldest, and cheapest. They are resistant to overcharging, but with a deep discharge, they may lose capacity or stop charging altogether. Such batteries are quite suitable for old cars.
AGM batteries are more expensive than lead-acid batteries because the first ones are an improved version. Their advantage is that such accumulators are able to work at almost any angle and are resistant to vibrations. If we talk about the drawbacks of AGM batteries, they include the tendency to both deep discharge and overcharge at the same time. Such accumulators are suitable for owners of new cars who have no reason to fear a generator malfunction.
Gel batteries are the most expensive. Their main advantages are that they remain functional during deep discharge, can withstand several charge-discharge cycles and don’t deteriorate. In addition, they, like the previous ones, aren’t afraid of tilting and shaking. Gel batteries are, however, demanding in terms of charging conditions, and they tolerate voltage drops and short circuits very poorly.
When choosing an accumulator, you should also pay attention to battery capacity and starting current. The higher the parameters are, the better. If you want to check the battery of a car that does not have sufficient documentation, you can reassure yourself by finding out the information about the original battery in the window sticker by vin, which is usually presented on various parts inside the car.
Rules of Exploitation
Before starting a car with a manual transmission, depress the clutch. This will reduce the load on the battery and the starter because they won’t have to turn the primary shaft of the box.
The starter should be turned on for no more than 2-3 seconds. If the engine doesn’t start, wait at least 15 seconds before the next attempt to start.
You shouldn’t get carried away with turning on consumers of electricity when the engine is stopped. Along with that, always keep an eye on the battery charge indication.
A very important point about battery exploitation is that it must be fixed securely. If the accumulator bounces on potholes, it will cause its plates to crumble. The battery terminals must also be cleaned and tightened. If they spark, it causes strong surges in the current passing through the plates. It has a bad effect on the battery’s life and can also cause damage to the car’s electrical systems.
We still need to remember how frost affects the battery. When the temperature drops, the electrolyte in the accumulator freezes, so the chemical reaction in it decreases. Accordingly, the amount of current produced falls. If the battery is heavily discharged, the density of the electrolyte in it decreases, and this affects the temperature at which the electrolyte itself freezes. A severely discharged battery can have a freezing temperature of 32 °F, or 0 °C.
It should be remembered that when the electrolyte freezes, it, like any liquid, expands, as a result of which microcracks can form on the walls of the battery. As a result, the electrolyte can leak, and this will damage the car’s body. Keep in mind that a completely frozen battery is no longer usable and cannot be charged.
How to Charge a Battery Properly
Charging the accumulator is a fairly simple process, but it requires compliance with the following rules:
- Charging the automotive battery is prohibited if the electrolyte temperature is less than 37 °F, or +3 °C.
- It isn’t recommended to charge the battery without removing it from the car first.
- AGM and gel batteries can only be charged with constant voltage chargers.
- Don’t use the fast charge mode with the above-mentioned batteries.
If we speak about how much to charge the battery, there is no definite answer here since everything depends on the ability to receive a charge and the duration of battery life. As a rule, it needs about 9 hours for a new accumulator, while an old appliance can take more than a day to charge.
Any driver, especially a new one to the automotive world, should keep an eye on the battery’s condition. It will be easier with our pieces of advice on how to fully use an automotive accumulator. In any case, we recommend taking consultation from an expert when it comes to choosing and using a battery. Otherwise, even a small mistake can lead to a huge problem.