.With the advancement in car technology over the last few years you might be forgiven for thinking that everything car related has improved to match it. Unfortunately not all components in the car world progress at the same rate. One of the latest technologies, the stop-start car, promises wonderful savings for fuel and more importantly for the pennies in your back pocket.
This may be true as you pull up to the lights and stop. The engine nicely turning itself off and your grin increasing as you save valuable fuel while other motorists around you grimace at the thought of how much all this engine idling is costing them. Your smile grows broader as you think about the environment and how you are selflessly being green and preserving our planet for future generations.
However maybe not all is as it seems. You see this constant stop-starting does have a cost and that is all related to the components in your car that take a little bit extra abuse from being thrown back into life every few minutes.
The one component that really needs care is the battery. A normal original equipment manufacturer (OEM) battery does not have to go through many cycles of charge in a standard journey. Typically it is used to start the car and spends the rest of the journey being recharged by the alternator.
This is important to note because a battery typically has its life measured in cycles and not by age. Therefore it is easy to see that your battery life is very much dependent upon how many times it is effectively used to start the car.
Imagine a typical car journey commuting to work. A conventional battery powers up the car at home and spends the rest of the commute being recharged. Call this one recycle. A Stop-Start car may do exactly the same journey but at five different points on the journey may turn itself off and on. So the battery in the Stop-Start car is performing five cycles to every one, for a conventional battery.
If a battery in an eco car is performing up to five times more often than a conventional one then surely it makes sense to invest in a specialist replacement at renewal time. The huge extra load a Stop-Start system places on a battery requires a much stronger battery that can cope with those extra cycles.
Whether you use your car for getting to work, running a taxi-service for the family or if you are about to take a driving holiday around the country, the last thing you need is for your car to break down. One of the most common causes of car failure is a dead battery, but luckily it’s also one of the easiest problems to avoid because there are a number of tell-tale signs that the battery is beginning to fail. If you know what those signs are, you can deal with it before it becomes a real problem.
One of the first things you might notice if your battery is failing is a problem with any electrical accessories in the car: the electric windows might be slower than usual, the radio may be quieter and the dashboard lights may be dimmer or not work. The headlights are another indicator, no pun intended, of battery problems; if the headlights dim or flicker as you turn on the ignition, or just after the car has started, this is a clear sign.
In spite of some or all of these signs being present, the single thing that is most likely to draw your attention to a problem is when your car fails to start smoothly. When you turn the key in the ignition, a clicking sound often suggests battery trouble, as does an initial failure to turn over which resolves itself. While you are actually driving, you may start to notice a change in the sound of the engine, a pitch alteration, when you turn on the heater or air-conditioning. This is a sign of a struggling battery and there’s really only one thing to do when you realise you have this problem.
There are a number of reasons why your battery may not be holding its charge as well as it should and it takes an expert to be able to find out what is making yours fail. If you take your car to be checked, then the problem can be diagnosed and resolved, often simply by replacing your worn battery with a new one. Without a reliable battery, you don’t have a reliable car: watch out for all the signs to make sure you know when to get help. To find out more about replacement batteries or battery failure visit: http://www.battery2u.co.uk/
There are numerous causes of battery failure, the most common being down to driving habits. Generally speaking, if your car battery is over four years of age then there’s a considerable risk that it’s on its last legs.
Most breakdowns are caused by failing batteries; statistics show that this is responsible for a whopping 52%. So it’s important to consider the factors that can affect the condition of a vehicle’s battery:
- If it’s too cold, your battery’s efficiency can be limited and it can suffer considerably during the winter if the car is not regularly maintained. Similarly, hot weather can be just as damaging, and extremely high temperatures can burn out your battery.
- If you forget to switch off those headlights or dashboard lights overnight then there won’t be much left of your battery come the morning.
- Inactivity. Leaving a car idle can actually be just as draining on your battery as it can lose all electrical charge. Taking it out regularly, even if just for the sake of avoiding inactivity, will help to keep the car battery in good shape.
So what can you do to protect and prolong the life of your battery?
- First and foremost, if it’s reaching that four year age, then it’s time to start considering a replacement. You may get five years out of it but there’s a risk it won’t last.
- Secondly, make sure you take a moment to check that your headlights and other electrics are all switched off when leaving the car.
- If you don’t plan on using the car again for some time, giving it a brief charge can help to keep the battery in shape.
- Keep your battery water levels topped up to avoid battery damage.
- Try to store your vehicle in a warmer environment such as a garage where possible to avoid the extreme freezing temperatures in winter.
- Finally, a battery analyser can tell you the condition of your battery before you set off on any longer journeys.
There are many financial costs involved in the running of a motor car. Some of these are, to a degree, out of our control; the price of fuel, car insurance and MOT for example. These are things that we simply have to tolerate as drivers if we wish to keep our car on the road legally.
Other costs though are within our control and we can reduce these costs by making the right choices. Of course, it is natural to try to cut our costs down but sometimes we allow this to blind us somewhat. One example of this is many people’s decision to buy a used car battery instead of a new one.
Although this may be very tempting indeed, any money saved by buying a used battery is more than offset by the potential risks involved. Also, buying a new car battery need not be as expensive as you may think.
There are now many companies which offer very good quality cheap replacement batteries for your car and are made using the latest technologies available. This should ensure that the batteries have a long life span and won’t let you down.
Of course, even the best made battery can go wrong from time to time, especially if proper care is not taken of it. If you do decide to buy a used car battery though, there will be little or no action that you can take to get it replaced other than buying a new car battery, which, of course incurs an extra cost, thereby defeating the object of buying a used battery in the first place.
Most new car batteries though, even the less costly ones, should come with a 12 month guarantee. If no guarantee is offered, then even these new car batteries are perhaps best avoided in case they do let you down leaving you with little choice but to spend even more money to replace it.
According to the Annual Breakdown Review conducted by the AA Ireland Insurance, flat batteries still remain to be one of the main causes for breakdown of cars in most cases. According to the recent facts furnished by the AA, almost 30 per cent of the total number of 140,000 call outs that were attended by the rescue team of the AA between the period of October 2009 and September 2010 can actually be blamed on flat batteries of the cars. That accounts for a staggering 40,000 breakdown cases!
Among these 40,000 breakdown cases on account of flat batteries, a majority of these cases were to be blamed upon old or faulty batteries that required immediate replacements. Other cases were self-inflicted ones like head lights left on accidentally, using electronic gadgets in the car with the engine switched off, leaving cars idle for long periods of time and so on. Some of the other causes included malfunction in door switches, cold temperatures, etc.
Taking Care of Batteries
Listed below are some of the essential measures that would come in handy with averting the problem of flat batteries.
1. Batteries should be specifically tested during annual servicing. This would help in determining whether the replacement for car batteries is required or not and if yes, then when should the replacement for car batteries must be done.
2. It would be important to know the age of the battery, since they would last to a maximum of 5 years only under usual circumstances.
3. Unnecessary electrical components, such as heaters should be switched off whenever it is not being used.
4. The heater fan must only be operated when the engine warms up.
5. The car must be run regularly during the course of the colder months to keep the battery charged and warm.
Battery chargers also need to be kept in place for addressing emergency situations. Besides, in case batteries have worn out or died out completely, complete replacements would have to be facilitated soon enough. Well-maintained batteries are less likely to flatten leading to avoidable callouts.