You are late for an appointment. You rush out and jump into your car, turn the key but all you hear is a “click”. Your car won’t start. Is the battery dead?
The battery is a car component that plays a really crucial function: it produces the electricity to start the car engine. It must be charged at 75% of its capacity or more for problem-free starts. The battery also powers the vehicle electrical systems and accessories such as the radio, headlights and alarm system (before the car has been started). A car battery has a life ranging from four to five years. However do signs exist allowing an estimate of how much battery life remains?
1. If your car is hard to start
The most telltale sign that a battery is past its prime is when your car is hard to start. This decrease of a battery’s starting capacity is a clear signal that it may be at the end of its rope. Practically speaking a weak battery means your car will start some days and won’t on others, or it will take several attempts to start. Still do not jump to conclusions: a battery failure is not always the reason that your car won’t start. The problem instead can lie with the starter or the alternator. Sometimes your car may simply need a tune-up.
Practical tips to get your car to start: Turn everything off in your vehicle such as the defroster, headlights, heating, interior lighting, heated seat, radio, etc.) Then attempt to start your vehicle.
2. In extreme cold conditions
In Quebec frigid winter temperatures and summer heat waves have an adverse effect on the power of a car battery. No doubt about it, at -18°C and lower the effectiveness of a battery is reduced. However with a sufficiently charged battery (recharge at 100% starting at 12.6 Volts min.), you should not experience any difficulty starting your car even in cold weather conditions. So if you have needed to get your car boosted a few times lately it is quite probable that your battery is nearing its end of life. In any case, a temperature below -10 C can negatively affect battery performance. But did you know that July and August heat waves can also prove detrimental to battery life? Surprisingly, prolonged heat waves can be just as damaging to your battery as cold weather conditions.
3. If you seldom use your car or use it too frequently
It may seem counterintuitive but a car that is seldom used will wear down its battery sooner than a car used on a daily basis. For that reason if you do very little mileage and your car is often immobilized over several weeks or months, purchasing a car battery charger is a great idea. The car charger will keep your battery fully charged when your car is not used over an extended period of time.
A car used for long trips is ideal since the battery can then recharge itself. On the contrary, when repeatedly driving over short distances you are multiplying the start cycles of the battery and in so doing draining its charge. What can also wear down your battery even more, besides frequent short trips, is the powering of all those car accessories such as the radio, the heated seats and the GPS receiver, to mention just a few.
4. How to test your car battery?
Book an appointment with your garage workshop to find out if your battery is nearing the end of its lifespan. At Point S our experts can easily change your battery and provide practical tips relative to its maintenance. Drop by your nearest Point S dealer for more information.