Knowing Your Car Battery

Keeping your battery in good condition

Common causes and fixes for car battery trouble

A car battery powers all the electrical equipment in your vehicle, from the radio and phone charging facilities to more important elements such as the lights.


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Where to find your car battery

Depending on the type of car you own, the battery’s exact location will be different, however, it is almost always found within the vehicle’s engine. Don't worry if you can't find it, you're not alone as 30% of all UK drivers wouldn't be able to do the "show me tell me" section of a driving test once they pass!

Maintenance tips

Maintenance tips for looking after your battery

There are various things you can do to prolong your car battery’s lifespan and be sure it is working efficiently.

Keep it clean
Keeping it clean should prevent corrosion and clean terminals will ensure your car battery holds its charge. Check for signs of dirt and debris, especially around the connector terminals, as corrosion will stop the battery from working properly.

Turn off the electrics
Avoid overusing electronic equipment in your car when it’s not running as this will drain the battery a lot quicker.

Replacing and refilling

Replacing and refilling a car battery

Replacing

No matter how much effort you put into its maintenance a car battery will need to be replaced eventually. If you’re feeling adventurous you can replace a car battery yourself fairly simply. It is often a case of turning everything off, unplugging the cables and any screws holding it in place before installing the new battery, however if you’re unsure it may be best to head straight to a garage.

Refilling

Don’t jump straight into changing a battery, sometimes you don’t need a new battery at all and it could actually just be a case of needing to refill the electrolyte fluid. Electrolyte fluid usually becomes low from getting hot.

Refilling this can be a little bit trickier than swapping out a battery so, again, if you’re not confident make sure you take it to a garage. Only refill if you are completely confident in what you’re doing.

Dealing with battery trouble

Dealing with battery troubles


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Causes

Battery faults are the most common causes of breakdowns. Although in theory they can die at any time winter is especially bad as the cold weather affects its performance.

Bad driving habits or cars that aren’t driven regularly are more likely to encounter problems with their batteries.

Solutions

If you do experience trouble, there are a couple of preventative measures:

  • Only buying new batteries from reputable sellers
  • Drive your car at least once a week to avoid the battery getting cold – this is especially important in winter

If you’re dealing with a dead battery you can jump start your car. Connect the leads between two cars’ batteries, positive to positive and negative to negative, and start the working car. This should give it the boost needed to reignite the battery – remember to wait a few minutes after the jump start before driving.

Hopefully these tips will help ensure your car’s battery runs smoothly and you can deal with any problems that may crop up.

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Images courtesy of iStock

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