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Battery Testing, Maintenance And Myths
Your vehicle's battery is not very demanding, and most often only thought about when it fails. But just a small amount of care and mantainence will help insure it doesn't let you down when you need it most.
 More of this Feature
Testing The Battery
Testing The Battery (cont.)
Testing The Battery (cont.)
Buying A New Battery
Buying A New Battery (cont.)
Popular Battery Myths
• Popular Battery Myths (cont.)
Popular Battery Myths (cont.)
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5. "Maintenance free" batteries never require maintenance.

In hot climates, the water in the electrolyte is lost due to the high under hood temperatures. Water can also be lost due to excessive charging voltage or charging currents. Non-sealed batteries are recommended in hot climates so distilled water can be added when this occurs.

6. Test the alternator by disconnecting the battery with the engine running.

A battery acts as a voltage stabilizer or filter to the pulsating DC produced by the alternator. Disconnecting a battery while the engine is running can destroy the sensitive electronic components connected to the electrical system such as the emission computer, audio system, cell phone, alarm system, etc., or the charging system because the peak voltage can rise to 40 volts or more. In the 1970s, removing a battery terminal was an accepted practice to test charging systems of that era. That is not the case today.

7. Pulse chargers, aspirins or additives will revive sulfated batteries.

Using pulse chargers or additives is a very controversial subject. Most battery experts agree that there is no conclusive proof that pulse chargers work any better than constant voltage chargers to remove sulfation. They also agree that there is no evidence that additives or aspirins provide any long-term benefits. Short term gains are achieved by increasing the acidity of the battery, but this will damage the battery plates.

8. On really cold days turn your headlights on to "warm up" the battery up before starting your engine.

While there is no doubt that turning on your headlights will increase the current flow in a car battery, it also consumes valuable capacity that could be used to start the cold engine. Therefore, this is not recommended.

For cold temperatures, externally powered battery warmers or blankets and engine block heaters are highly recommended if the vehicle cannot be parked in a heated garage. AGM and Ni-Cad batteries will perform better than other types of wet lead-acid batteries in extremely cold temperatures.

9. Car batteries last longer in hot climates than in cold ones.

Car batteries last an average of two thirds as long in hot climates as cold ones. Heat kills car batteries, especially sealed wet Maintenance Free batteries and cold reduces the battery's starting capacity.

Next page» Popular Battery Myths (cont.) » Page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Additional information provided courtesy of ALLDATA

© 2004 Vincent T. Ciulla

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