Tips & Advice
Battery & Electrical Systems
Did you know?
Many electrical problems stem from loose and corroded battery connections? Battery grime can also cause leaks and shorten the life of your car battery. The next time you check your car’s fluid levels, check to see if your battery has any corrosion on the posts or cable connectors.”
If you see any corrosion you’ll want to clean both posts completely. If the corrosive build up is not cleaned off, it will interfere with the electrical connections and can eat away at the wires and terminals to the point of replacement.
One of the most important things to remember when cleaning the battery is to not allow the tools to contact the positive battery terminal and a ground source at the same time. This can destroy the battery. You’ll also want to make sure that the terminals are reconnected correctly and snuggly.
By having a great and clean connection your vehicle’s electrical and ignition systems will run at their peak. It will also prolong the life of the battery, saving you money in the long run and help prevent problems when driving.
Batteries are a huge part of life in Wheelers Hill, Monash and Waverley; I mean how many battery chargers do you have?
And when people come into Waverley Exhaust and Brake Centre in Notting Hill and need a new battery they’re really not very happy about having to spend the money. But the fact is that 70% of batteries don’t last 4 years.
There are some things you can do to extend the life of your battery. First keep it clean. If you see it getting dirty or greasy, let us know at Waverley Exhaust and Brake Centre and we can clean it off. A dirty battery runs hotter and that shortens its life. If your battery terminals are corroded, let us look at that too. We can clean them and if the corrosion has gotten into the battery cables we can replace them.
Also running the battery way down is bad for it. Things like running the headlights or watching a DVD player when the car’s not running can deeply deplete your battery. The typical battery can only take about 10 of those deep cycle depletions before it gives up the ghost.
Because we often take short trips around Waverley, Monash and Clayton with lots of stops for errands our batteries can end up not being fully recharged just by driving around. This also shortens the battery life. You can attach a good quality battery charger at home from time to time. We recommend charging once a month during the hot weather and every 3 months during winter.
Now when it’s finally time to get a new battery we can help you find the right replacement. We’ll always make sure to meet your manufactures recommendations. And if you have special needs like living in a very cold climate or having lots of electrical accessories we can upgrade the battery to give you all the power you’ll need.
Your car’s electrical system powers everything from the ignition and fuel systems to accessories such as radio, headlights and wipers. The electrical system is in turn powered by the engine.
Here are the 3 key components of the electrical system…
Battery: When the car engine is switched off, the battery provides the required power to the rest of the system as well as cranking over the motor during start up. It also supplements the power from the charging system during periods of high demand.
Charging System: This is the heart of the electrical system and consists of 3 main components, the belt driven alternator, various electrical circuits and a voltage regulator.
The alternator supplies power to the electrical system and recharges the battery after your car has started. Just like it sounds the voltage regulator controls the voltage, keeping it within the operating range of the electrical system.
Starting System: This system consumes more power than any other in your car. The starting system consists of 3 components which work in tandem; the ignition switch, the starter relay or solenoid (which activates the starter motor) and the starter which cranks the motor until it starts.
Car Batteries Wear Out Just Like Any Other Batteries and Need to Be Replaced
There are a couple of things car owners should know when looking for a new car battery. One is cold cranking amps and the other is reserve capacity.
Let’s start with cold cranking amps. This can be thought of as the power used to start the engine. The number of cold cranking amps you need depends on your vehicle and how cold it is where you live.
The two factors are the colder an engine is the more power it takes to turn the engine over to get it started. It has all that cold, sluggish oil to contend with. The other factor is the chemical reaction in the battery that creates electrical energy is less efficient in the cold.
So the colder it gets in Notting Hill, Monash and Wheelers Hill the more power is needed but the available power drops.
If you live where it’s really cold you need a battery with more cranking power than more moderate climates. You should always get a battery with at least as many cold cranking amps as the manufacturer recommends.
Now with all this talk about cold temperatures, it’s important to note that heat is the real enemy of long battery life. In other words the damage that is done over the hot summer months shows up with the increased demands on the battery when the weather turns cold.
Now on to reserve capacity: It’s a measurement of the number of minutes of reserve power a battery has at a given load. That number is important these days because of parasitic drain. Parasitic is the battery energy that is used when the key is turned off. In other words the power drawn by the vehicle security system, the remote start system, even the power the computer needs to retain its memory.
Reserves are need when you make short trips around Waverley, Wheelers Hill and Clayton. You’re not driving long enough for the battery to recover the energy it used to start the engine.
So go with the minimum recommended by your manufacturer and upgrade if you need more. Talk with the team at Waverley Exhaust and Brake Centre about your options. If you need more from your battery, a larger capacity battery may be called for.
Batteries are a big ticket item for most motorists, so the warranty gives peace of mind. Be sure to ask about the warranty at Waverley Exhaust and Brake Centre so you know what you’re getting.
The battery light indicator triggers when there is an issue with your vehicle’s electrical system. The cause may be something small, such as a loose wire or something larger like your battery not holding charge. If the light turns on while you’re driving try to keep the engine running because tuning off the engine may mean the engine may not restart. Bring your car into Waverley Exhaust and Brake Centre for a battery test straight away. If you are unable to get the car started, call Colin or Chris and they’ll advise you what to do.
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