Most of us have been there: you leave the headlights or the interior lights on, and the car won’t start. Sometimes though, it’s not a matter of user error but the battery’s natural life cycle coming to an end. A car battery is the kind of part that eventually wears and needs replacing. It always seems like this comes at the most inopportune times, though. Thankfully, you can call Big Jim’s Auto and we’ll get a tow truck out to you and get the problem resolved.
While a battery’s life can be depleted more quickly depending on how a vehicle is used, there can be a number of other factors that affect its proper function. These factors include:
- Corrosion of Posts
- Alternator Failure
Car batteries are not invincible and changes in temperature can cause damage to them. Heat can cause fluid in the battery to evaporate which would result in internal corrosion. It can also cause corrosion on the terminals and cables, which will result in issues transferring current to start your vehicle. On the other hand, an extreme cold can reduce the current output of the battery as well. Some batteries are not rated for extreme levels of cold, so it could be if your battery always fails in the winter, it simply needs to be replaced with one more suited to our climate.
Corrosion of Posts
A normal result of the use of your car’s battery is corrosion. Over time, the circuiting of electricity between the different types of metal on the cable and the terminal will result in corrosion. As the battery charges, hydrogen gas is also off-put, which can cause corrosion on the terminal posts. This can be fixed fairly easily by cleaning the terminal posts.
While the vehicle’s battery is mostly used in the ignition process, the alternator regenerates it as you drive, but only at higher speeds for longer periods of time, and only if it’s working properly. If your alternator is failing, you might notice your battery is repeatedly dying, even newer ones you’ve had installed. If you’re suspecting you may have an issue with your alternator, contact us and we’ll inspect it.
Protect Your Battery in a Jump
You might not be thinking of your battery when you jump someone else’s car, but it can be a huge drain on your vehicle if done improperly. When using your car as the power supply, make sure you’re not overly taxing the battery by running the heat, radio, and lights when you jump start another vehicle.
Start with your vehicle turned off. Attaching the cables in the correct order is important. First, attach the red clamp to the positive battery terminal of the car being assisted, then the other red clamp to your own battery’s positive terminal. Next, apply the black clamp to the negative terminal of your vehicle, and the other black clamp to an unpainted metal surface in the other vehicle. Start your vehicle and run it for a few minutes before attempting to start the vehicle being jumped. After getting their car started, the jumpee should drive the vehicle for at least fifteen to thirty minutes to allow the alternator to charge the battery. If the vehicle will not start again the next time, the battery needs to be replaced.
If your car or truck shows no signs of starting with the turn of the key, it might be the battery. Call up Big Jim’s and we’ll get a tow truck out to you. Or, if you can manage to get a jump, make sure to charge up your battery by driving around before you stop at our shop. We’ll be glad to help you get to the bottom of your battery issue.