Pre­vent ve­hi­cle break­downs with bat­tery care

The Reporter (Lansdale, PA) - - AUTOMOTIVE - By Metro Cre­ative Ser­vices

Many drivers have ex­pe­ri­enced the mis­for­tune of get­ting into their ve­hi­cles only to re­al­ize their en­gines won’t turn over. Al­though there may be plenty of rea­sons why a car will not start, quite fre­quently a dead bat­tery is to blame.

Car bat­ter­ies can last for five years or more when prop­erly cared for, but many bat­ter­ies wear down and be­come in­ef­fi­cient within three years of daily use. Ac­cord­ing to the UK-based com­pany War­ranty Wise, car bat­ter­ies de­te­ri­o­rate with ev­ery charge from a ve­hi­cle’s en­gine. Nat­u­rally, drivers who are stranded by dead bat­ter­ies wish they had done more to pre­vent their bat­tery dy­ing while they’re on the road. Cer­tain fac­tors might of­fer clues as to how much life ve­hi­cle bat­ter­ies have left.

-- Longer start time: A dy­ing bat­tery may cause the en­gine to crank, but it can be slow to start or not seem to ex­ude a lot of power.

-- Cranks but doesn’t start: You may turn the key to hear the en­gine try­ing to turn over, but it won’t. Even if the ve­hi­cle even­tu­ally starts, have the bat­tery checked and, if nec­es­sary, re­placed by a me­chanic.

-- A jump start has been nec­es­sary: Bat­ter­ies that have re­quired a jump or mul­ti­ple jumps are on their last legs and should be re­placed im­me­di­ately.

-- Dim lights or check en­gine in­di­ca­tor: Bat­ter­ies pow­ers the elec­tric com­po­nents in a ve­hi­cle, so dim lights could be in­dica­tive of a loss of power. Hav­ing the “check en­gine” light come on also can be a clue.

-- Ex­treme tem­per­a­tures: Ac­cord­ing to Fire­stone, hot or cold tem­per­a­tures can shorten a bat­tery’s life. If you live in an ex­treme cli­mate, your bat­tery may not last as long as the man­u­fac­turer sug­gests it should.

-- Short driv­ing trips: Peo­ple who take many short trips (less than 20 min­utes each) may find their bat­ter­ies do not have enough time to fully recharge, short­en­ing their life ex­pectancy.

-- Pun­gent aroma: Leak­ing and cor­ro­sion around the bat­tery ter­mi­nals can cause bat­tery is­sues. If there is a rot­ten egg smell un­der the hood, it may be a leak­ing bat­tery on its way to dy­ing.

Drivers can have their ve­hi­cle bat­ter­ies tested by me­chan­ics. Bat­ter­ies can be re­placed at home or at a garage. Ser­vic­ing the ve­hi­cle fre­quently can pre­vent per­for­mance in­ef­fi­cien­cies and help de­ter­mine if any com­po­nents are strain­ing the bat­tery and caus­ing pre­ma­ture loss of bat­tery life.

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