Batteries & Battery Fitting
We all know that batteries don’t last forever, but a car battery has a life longer than most. When it goes it’s never at a convenient time – You can guarantee it’ll be during the school run or on the way to work.
Car batteries last for around 2-3 years, but cold weather is the biggest culprit for cutting that life short. Thankfully, replacing a battery is made easy with Ian Jones tyres and doesn’t take long – Exactly what you want to hear on a chilly winter morning!
Cold Cranking Is Hardwork
If you look at your battery, somewhere on it you should find a label stating a number for “Cold Cranking Amps.” Those amps are responsible for giving your engine enough energy to get started the first time of the day, generally referred to as “cold cranking.”
Thus it’s not surprising that an early sign that your battery is running out of life—a sign most people miss—is that you are regularly putting extra energy into starting the vehicle. You know what I’m talking about. You get in your car, you tap the accelerator pedal, you turn the key a few times, and all you get for the first few minutes is lots of weak rotations of the engine. After you’ve all but decided the car is going to make you late for work, it suddenly starts up and sustains an idle. What we mean by “regularly” is having to do this more than three times per week. That would be a sign that your battery is giving notice and getting ready to retire.
Keep in mind that if it’s really cold out, it’s fairly normal for your vehicle to hang back and start only with difficulty. Not only is your fuel hard to vaporise and oil gooey when it’s cold, but batteries put out only half their normal power when the temperature is very cold. The cold you may need you to be patient, but if your car doesn’t go back to a reliable “cold” crank when the weather warms up, you’ll want to get a new battery within the next month.
One Day It Starts Fine, The Next It Doesn’t
If starting is an intermittent problem for you, it’s a sign that either 1) your battery terminals are loose, broken, corroded, or calcified or 2) you have a parasitic draw (your power is being drained by some gizmo that’s on when it’s supposed to be off, or by some wire that’s touching something it shouldn’t).
Check out the battery cables first, as they are usually the prime suspect and are easier to check yourself.
Make sure the cables fit firmly and securely on the battery posts. There should be no play in them; you shouldn’t be able to wiggle them even an inch when they are tight. Also make sure that the cables going to the terminals are not frayed or falling apart; if they are, replace them as soon as possible.
No Life, No Start, No Life
This situation is pretty straightforward to diagnose; it’s an even stronger indication that your battery is at fault. Your battery powers all the accessories and lights in your car, especially when the alternator is not running. So if your car just seems to be completely void of all signs of life, then your battery is the first thing you should be looking at.
Be aware that in this situation, where your vehicle doesn’t even have the juice to work the lights or turn over the engine, it could be a combination problem involving your alternator was well as your battery.
If the car won’t crank or start but the headlights do work, that may indicate some more interesting problem, maybe the starter or a mechanical problem in the engine.
Engine Cranks But Doesn’t Start?
If your engine cranks or turns over when you turn the key, but it won’t start. We’d say the most likely culprit is your battery. It might be your starter, it might be something else, but 94% of the time, it’s really your battery, even if the car is cranking fairly vigorously. Even if an ammeter (current-measuring device) says the battery is good, it can still be a few volts shy of what your vehicle needs to run efficiently.
Batteries normally have a maximum life expectancy of three or four years, even if manufacturers say they will last five years or more. If anyone sells you a “super long life” battery, keep your receipt and get a warranty. Especially if you use your battery for a lot of accessories (things other than starting your car) it’s unlikely to last as long as promised.