As an auto electrician in Katherine NT I have seem many things that happen to car batteries. This blog attempts to provide you information on some of the common things that can go wrong with your car battery and some suggestions to prevent reoccurrences or to rectify your problem.
Why do I always have a flat battery?
Questions to ask yourself
- How old is the battery
- Do you know how to determine the age of your battery?
- Are the battery terminals clean and making good contact
- Is there sufficient water in the battery
- Have I driven the car enough to recharge the battery
Determining battery age
All car batteries have a limited life expectancy and once reached they start to fail and don’t charge as well as they originally did and eventually fail. However for various reasons a few batteries fail prior to reaching their life expectancy, and need to be replaced under warrantee. But how do you know the age of your battery and if it is inside its warranty time?
- the battery age can be determined by looking at the battery posts, the original dealer usually stamps the battery posts. On one post it will be A, B, C, etc and on the other post 1,2,3, etc,.
- A,= January, B= February, C= March etc.
- 1 = 2011, 2= 2012, 3= 2013 etc.
- car Batteries have warrantee Australia wide follow up with your dealer
Some cars have a way of continually developing a build-up of green blue powder on the battery, battery terminals and in bad cases the battery box itself. This can affect the performance of your battery. A search of the internet will provide you detailed explanations for the cause of the corrosive build up. The simple explanation is that hydrogen gas omitted by the sulphuric compound in your battery as a normal part of its operation is not being adequately vented from the car. Whatever the cause it needs to be removed as it will reduce the ability of the charge to be transferred from the battery to the car.
- Disconnect battery terminals from the battery posts
- Clean posts, terminals and lugs with baking soda and water solution
- A regular application of vaseline or battery connector protective coating may help prevent a re-occurrence of this.
- Loose battery post (uprights on battery)
- worn terminals (the part with the nut and bolt is the terminal)
- worn lugs (in the above photo lugs are yellow)
Your auto electrician can assist you in this area
Maintaining your car batteries
There are two types of car battery, a sealed battery that requires minimal user maintenance and those car batteries that allow the water levels to be checked and toped up.
- Check water levels every two months. If low top up with distilled water. When driving in hot conditions batteries can require topping up more often.
Battery not charging
- Are you driving your car regularly and for enough hours a day to recharge your batteries completely
- Check that your battery terminals, posts and lugs are clean and properly attached to the battery.
- Are you starting more than usual
- Do you have an excess of accessories connected, eg fridge, laptop, phone charger this will drain the battery quicker than usual.
- It maybe your alternator is not charging correctly, your auto electrician can help you.
- If you have a solar panel charging your auxiliary battery, is it receiving enough light, have you parked under a tree? Don’t laugh I see one or two solar panel problems a year that disappear when the solar panel is moved to bright sunlight.
Bloated/ swollen battery
- A bloated or swollen battery is an indication one or more cells have collapsed in the battery and it will require replacing shortly.
- If your battery smells like rotten egg and is hot DO NOT TOUCH IT. This smell indicates that the cells in the battery have collapsed and any spark could cause the battery to explode. Wait until the battery has cooled down before carefully disconnecting and replacing.
- The smell is an acid gas that the battery is venting; this gas can cause burning to skin, eyes, clothes etc.
Do not under any circumstances use, move or touch a battery that is hot or smelly until it has cooled down.
- Directions for dealing with a flat battery can be found in my earlier blog
On the market are many and varied car batteries.
- A standard car battery is designed to produce a large current to start your car.
- Deep Cycle batteries that produce a small amount of power of a long time – ideal to run fridges, invertors etc.
- Marine batteries – ideal for boats
- And other batteries that need not be installed in an upright position.
- and the list goes on
Terry’s Auto Electrical & Auto Air Conditioning in Katherine NT is able to advise supply and install the most appropriate battery for your situation.
Terry’s contact details are found at http://terrysautoelectrical.com.au/
Terry’s Auto Electrical & Auto Air-Conditioning is ARC registered AU32253. Terry’s licence is L095095