Birds must fly, fish must swim, and batteries must die . It’s simple the science of automotive battery technology . Whether it’s parasitic exhaustion, normal self-discharge, or simple wear and tear, the ways in which a battery dies are manifold. Fortunately, there are almost as many ways to protect the battery from death. The key is to determine the reason why the battery died, or the factor that could cause it to die in the future, and fix it head-on.

Reasons Car Batteries Die

keep the battery from being discharged
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There are many Reasons why a car battery may die but extreme temperatures fall pretty high on the list. Cold weather can push a weak battery over the edge, as very cold temperatures reduce the available amperage to start the engine, but hot weather literally kills. battery .

On the other hand, parasitic drain will knock out even a brand new battery. Although the battery will almost certainly be fully charged, especially if you are under hand there is Charger the presence of a discharge in the system will cause the battery to fully discharge again.

To prevent the possibility of such a discharge during storage, it may be tempting to simply disconnect the battery. But while it’s true that it will prevent an accidental leak in a car’s electrical system from destroying the battery, normal self-discharge eventually drains even a brand new battery to a dangerously low level.

Keeping the weather from killing the battery

There is nothing you can do to protect your battery from the damaging effects of hot summer weather or extreme cold in winter, except in a garage. If that’s an option, then avoiding extreme temperature swings can help your battery last longer than it would otherwise. However, the best way to prevent a battery from dying in hot or cold conditions is to simply make sure it’s always in its best shape.

This means that a properly maintained battery is better equipped to deal with the severe temperature fluctuations that can cause problems. For example, the electrolyte in a battery is more likely to evaporate during the hot summer months, so it’s important to keep it fully charged. Low electrolyte levels negatively affect battery performance and you never want to ride with exposed plates.

electrolyte filling, when it gets low helps, but it’s also important to know how strong or weak the solution is. One of the most important indicators that a battery is on its way out is if the electrolyte remains weak even after the battery is no longer charged, or if one cell is weaker than the others. This can be checked with a simple hydrometer or refractometer.

In the same vein, keeping the electrical connections clean and the battery properly charged will help during the cold winter months when there is less starting amperage. The capacity of a lead-acid battery can drop by about 20 percent when the temperature reaches freezing, so each booster counts the further the mercury falls. This is especially true for small batteries that don’t have a lot of cold crank amps to begin with, and in cases where the battery’s starting current is relatively close to the current, the starter should crank.

Prevent parasitic discharge from killing the battery

Spotting a parasitic leak before it kills your battery can be tricky, as you usually don’t notice anything out of the ordinary. Though it’s easy to leave your lights accidentally, without noticing, such a situation actually has an outward indication that something is wrong. In the case of a lot of parasitic drains, the component that draws current when your car is turned off does not attract your attention until you start your car and hear the useless click of the starter.

The good news is that, unless your battery is already old and worn out, once the parasitic discharge won’t cause too long damage. The key is to identify the source of the leak and fix it, as well as prevent the battery from draining repeatedly. Because permanent damage is inflicted every time the lead-acid battery voltage drops below a certain threshold, it is recommended that this type of problem be addressed sooner rather than later.

While there are many ways to find and fix a parasitic draw, the easiest way is to use a simple trial and error process. With the ignition off and the battery disconnected, you can use a test light to check for leaks. If a test lamp connected to the battery terminal and the disconnected cable lights up, this means that something in the system is drawing power or that the relay is trying to energize.

You can also use an ammeter for this type of diagnosis, but it’s important to use the correct scale so you don’t blow the fuse in the meter.

In any case, you can often trace the source of parasitic drain by simply removing the fuses, one by one, until the lights go out or until the ammeter drops to zero. With the appropriate circuit diagram, you can trace the drain to a specific component or components. One of the most common causes of this type of drain is the trunk or glove compartment lights coming on due to a faulty switch, as it is not possible to see these lights on when the trunk and glove compartment are closed, but the drain can be significantly more difficult to trace.

Protecting the battery from death during storage

Depending on how long you plan to leave the vehicle in storage, you may not need to do anything at all, or simply disconnecting the battery may help. However, self-discharge will cause even a new battery to slowly lose charge. Although lead-acid batteries have a relatively low self-discharge rate of about 5 percent per month, long-term storage can allow normal self-discharge to discharge the battery to dangerous levels.

If you want to prevent the battery from draining during a long storage period, there are two solutions. The first is to charge it from time to time, and the other is to use a float charger that automatically charges when the battery falls below a certain level voltage .

While a battery pack or float charger will prevent the battery from draining while your vehicle is in storage, it is still a good idea to monitor the situation periodically. If something goes wrong and the charger doesn’t turn off, it could also damage the battery.

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