A vehicle battery is one of many important components a car or truck cannot go without. When a vehicle battery is bad, it can put drivers in a stressful situation. Let’s take a look at some of the common things that can cause failures.
The Weather – Vehicle Battery Killer
Cold weather is known as the number one battery killer. When temperatures start to dip, a vehicle battery naturally starts to weaken. If there aren’t enough cold cranking amps available, your vehicle will struggle to start. This is especially true on an extremely frigid morning.
While keeping your car in a warm garage will help to prevent trouble, not everyone has this luxury. The best approach is to have your battery tested before Old Man winter starts to set in. If the battery is on its last leg, don’t hesitate to buy a replacement.
Hot conditions also contribute to premature battery failure. Elevated temperatures can evaporate the battery’s vital fluids, thus leading to a weak charge. This is referred to as heat deterioration. In the summer, try to keep your vehicle parked in a shady spot whenever possible.
Time – Car Batteries Unfortunately Do Not Live Forever
A vehicle battery is not designed to last forever. When there’s no juice left in the battery’s cells, even attempting to jumpstart the car will prove to be a wasted effort. After being manufactured, batteries are stamped with an expiration date. When your unit begins to approach this expiration date, it’s already on borrowed time.
Keep in mind that not all batteries are created the same. While cheap “economy” batteries often fail after a year or two, top-quality batteries can last for five years or more. If you plan to keep your vehicle on a long-term basis, always purchase the best battery that you can afford.
Don’t fall for the hype of a “maintenance free” vehicle battery. Although modern batteries don’t require as much upkeep as before, they still need some care. Simple tasks, like periodically checking the tightness of the cables, can help prevent problems.
It’s even more important to keep an eye out for corrosion on the terminals, which typically has a green or bluish color. Because corrosion can cause a poor connection, it’s important to remove it as soon as possible. Brushing the terminals with a 50/50 mixture of baking soda and vinegar is usually an effective solution.
Forgetting to Turn Off the Headlights and Other Electronics
Unfortunately, human errors can cause a vehicle battery to fail sooner than normal. Accidentally leaving the headlights on for long periods can completely drain a battery. Drivers are then left stranded in a parking lot.
If your vehicle is equipped with an amplified sound system, you must be careful about playing it while the vehicle is not running. Using car electronic equipment with your vehicle off causes your battery to expend a lot of energy. In the event that your battery suddenly weakens overnight, you could be dealing with an electrical short or an accessory that is not functioning properly. A mechanic will need to track down the issue.
Bad Alternator Will Not Charge Your Vehicle Battery – Therefore Killing It
When your alternator isn’t working properly, this forces a vehicle battery to power everything. It’s then only a matter of time before the battery ruins out of juice. If your headlights suddenly become dim while you’re driving at night, this is a telltale sign of a bad alternator. You may also notice a squealing sound coming from the part’s worn bearings.
The only option is to have a new alternator installed. In some instances, you may have to get a new battery as well.