Do you know the second most important part of your vehicle's electrical system is the battery - just after the alternator?
A car battery aids the efficiency of the voltage regulator when the engine is running. It also ensures that your car's electronics are functioning properly as well. Although the oldest models of cars use generators for their electrical systems, but all recent vehicles rely on the battery. This shows its relevance.
A dead battery means the alternator will have to work beyond its capacity and the car won't even start at all. This is why it's necessary to always recharge and maintain your car battery. But in case your battery eventually dies, here is how to charge it without hassle and subsequently maintain it.
1. How can I recharge my car battery?
Once your battery cannot kick-start your car engine, you'll have to use an external charger to recharge it before use. These external car battery chargers produce 12V of direct current at a low voltage, which makes it ideal - as a high voltage can cause hydrogen gas to be given off.
The car battery is likely to explode once there's a rise in this offgassing. Therefore, it's wise to use a trickle charger or carefully hook up the charger you decide to use to avoid excessive voltage transfer.
You can jump start the dead battery using another car
First things first, ensure that the battery charger is unplugged. Place the negative wire of the charger on good solid ground, and the positive one to the battery's positive terminal. Once the charger is set to the right amperage and voltage, plug the charger. You can also check if the car battery charger is equipped with a timer.
Alternatively you can charge your car battery using jumper cables from someone's car. Though a bit risky, but quite effective. All you need to do is turn off all the accessories of the person's car. Hook up the jumper cables to the frame or engine of your automobile and to the battery. Give it a few minutes (depending on how drained your battery is), and you'll get a jump start. The alternator usually takes over once your engine starts running. Then you can drive your car to enable the battery charge more.
But keep in mind that the job of an alternator isn't to charge the car battery, so this is mainly for emergency situations. Therefore, using the external car battery charger is still ideal.
>>> To avoid unexpected situations in the middle of nowhere, check this! Top 8 things that will drain your car battery
2. How to maintain your car battery properly?
Car batteries get drained as a result of overuse, negligence and lots more. If you leave your headlights on all night, charge your phone in car or use put on the stereo recklessly, your car battery will likely drain in no time. Hence it's necessary to check the specific gravity and electrolyte level of your battery. If your car battery is transparent, you can easily see the electrolyte level. Always ensure its covering the lead plates inside - as exposure to air reduces the battery's life span.
On the other hand, when you're done charging your battery and the specific gravity is still low, then you need to get a new one. But if it's low on just once of the cells, then it's definitely an internal fault that can be fixed - to avoid any impending danger.
Maintaining your battery means saving your budget
Finally, keep in mind that a well charged car battery has the power a 25A load with its reserve capacity, for over half a day. The battery will read about 12.5V. But this voltage drops to about 10, which won't turn on the engine, after carrying a load like that.
Also, wears from charge and discharge or even harsh temperatures can heavily affect a car battery's reserve capacity. Hence, always put off lights and electrical system when not in use. Clean the battery's terminals with corrosion-removal fluid and wire brush. "Warm the engine" once in a while when the car isn't in constant use; and you're good to go. All in all, maintaining your car battery isn't a herculean task. Instead it saves you the stress of always recharging and money spent on purchase of new batteries.
>>> Check for more car and battery maintenance tips on Naijauto.com!