There’s a lot to consider when shopping for car batteries and knowing how it works can help a great deal. In this article, we explain in some detail how they work and the different types of car batteries you can buy. Here are some FAQ about car batteries along with handy tips on how to jump-start a car.
How Do Car Batteries Work?
How Car Batteries Work: Car batteries generate and store electrical energy through a chemical reaction. Each cell inside the battery contains mixed negative and positive electrodes where the positive electrode is made of lead dioxide whilst the negative electrode is made of porous lead.
When you connect an electrical load such as the lights or a starter motor to the battery, current flows through the electrolyte in the battery and the external load. This results in the battery discharging where the chemical composition of both electrodes changes into lead sulphate.
You can charge a battery by placing a current from an external electricity source like an alternator, dynamo or charging unit. This will effectively reverse the process of converting the lead sulphate back to the original lead dioxide and porous lead.
As the battery recharges, the electricity starts to decompose the water in the electrolyte into hydrogen and oxygen, which are released as gas. This is why a battery gases when it is charged.
How Long Does A Car Battery Last?
The answer isn’t a simple one as it will vary from vehicle to vehicle and depend on several factors, including vehicle type, battery type and battery age. In perfect conditions, a car battery can last anywhere from 3 to 5 years but the climate, electronic demands and driving habits will play a big part in how long it can keep your car alive.
Recommended: ‘Car Battery Testing And Maintenance Tips’
Why Does A Car Battery Go Flat?
Car batteries fail for several reasons, including reaching the end of their serviceable life or being subjected to service-related abuse. The more common causes of battery failure are overcharging, undercharging or deep cycling where it’s repeatedly draining the battery until flat.
If you store a battery in a discharged state it can also result in premature failure referred to as sulphation. Another cause is being exposed to a parasitic load, for example, a faulty alarm system or any other electrical component that continues to draw power when the vehicle is stationary and not in use.
Not frequently driving far or long enough can also have a similar effect as the battery never gets sufficient charge. You can cut your battery’s life in half by not fully charging it regularly, which will end up costing you money and increase the risk of a breakdown.
What Are The Different Types Of Car Batteries?
There are many different types and no matter how good they are, the lifespan will depend on how often you turn your engine on and off, how far you drive every year and whether you let your battery run down repeatedly. If this happens, you’ll be on the market for a car battery replacement before you know it. Let’s take a quick look at Lead Acid, Calcium and Yuasa Silver batteries.
Lead Acid Batteries
For now, lead-acid batteries remain one of the most common batteries found in vehicles as they are durable and relatively cheap to replace. They have approximately 20,000 starts which means they last a long time before needing a battery replacement.
Calcium batteries are slightly better than lead-acid batteries due to their guarantee and a rating of around 30,000 starts. These batteries will also give you 18% more starting power, which is particularly handy on colder mornings.
Yuasa Silver Batteries
At the top of the list, you’ll find calcium batteries which mostly come with a 5-year guarantee and a good rating of 50,000 starts. They also give you 33% more starting power! When it comes to a car battery replacement, you don’t really get better than this.
What Can You Do When A Car Battery Dies?
One of the most common reasons for a dead car battery is leaving the lights on without the engine running. If your battery isn’t completely dead, you could charge it using a car battery charger that plugs into the mains.
But if your battery is flat, simply charging it won’t work and your best bet is to try a jump start. For this, you will need a jump starter pack or a set of jump leads and a ‘donor’ car to provide the power. Here are some great tips on how to jump-start a car.
What If A Jump Start Doesn’t Work?
If your battery still doesn’t work after recharging or jump-starting it, there may be a more serious problem. When this happens, it’s best to contact Elite Garages as we can help check your battery and determine whether the issue is a flat car battery or something more sinister, like a faulty alternator.
When Do I Need A Car Battery Replacement?
It may not always be the case but there are several signs of a failing car battery you should know about. This includes the following:
- Struggling to turn over your engine even on warmer days
- Notice a battery light on the dashboard which indicates something may be wrong
- If your car battery goes flat just a few days after a full charge
- When your battery dies even with just the interior or parking lights switched on
Recommended: ‘Why Buy Your Car Battery From Elite Garages’
Does Elite Garages Offer Free Battery Checks?
Yes, we certainly do! If you are unsure about the state of your battery, book a FREE battery check now! Our expert technicians will run some tests and help get you back on the road in no time at all.
Car Batteries At Elite Garages
Regardless of the car you drive, Elite Garages stock a wide selection of batteries suitable for most makes and models. So, if you are looking for a BMW battery, VW battery, Nissan battery or Citroen battery, contact your nearest Elite Garage for more information.
You can find a new car battery in Brighton, Southampton or a car battery in Eastbourne and Haywards Heath, among many others, as Elite Garages have multiple depots across the south and southeast of England. For a full list of battery service centres, visit our locations page.