The lead-acid battery was invented by a French physicist named Gaston Plante in 1859. It was special for being the first battery that could be recharged. The “wet cell” battery hasn’t changed much over the history of automobiles, and neither has the fact that without a working battery, you’re not going anywhere. Here are some things to know about your car battery.
Battery or Alternator
Have you known someone that bought a brand new battery to replace a chronically dead one only to find the new battery died quickly too? It’s important before replacing a battery to know whether the problem is really with the battery or another component of your vehicle. A failing alternator can often be mistaken for a bad battery.
Basically, the alternator is responsible for charging the battery. Some signs that could point to a bad alternator include lights on your dashboard that dim and brighten again, difficulty starting our vehicle, stalling, and the frequent need for jump starts. If you have any of these symptoms, or think there may be a problem with your car’s battery or alternator, bring it into Golden Triangle Auto Care for a professional diagnosis.
Just Add Water
While there are some “maintenance free” batteries out there, most need the water level checked on a regular basis. A wet cell battery works when an acid and water solution reacts with lead plates to create electricity in a chemical reaction. If the solution level gets too low or the battery is overfilled, it can damage the battery and shorten its useful life. If you are comfortable adding the water yourself, be sure to use distilled water (minerals in tap water will interfere with the chemical process and damage the battery). As always, feel free to bring your vehicle to Golden Triangle Auto Care if you are concerned about your battery’s performance.
Corrosion on a battery – white, ashy buildup – is an indicator of another problem. This could be as simple as a bad connection or a more serious problem with the battery itself. Many people try to clean battery corrosion themselves. If you do, remember that this is a potentially a dangerous task and take appropriate measures such as disconnecting the battery and wearing eye protection. If you find you are having a problem with corrosion, bring your car by Golden Triangle Auto Care for a checkup.
Nobody wants to be stranded by a dead battery. Be sure to maximize the life of your car battery through proper maintenance and keep an eye out for signs that might mean a problem down the road.