5 Facts About Car Batteries for Students in Online Automotive Course
Without batteries, cars would just be attractive hunks of metal and plastic. These electric cubes are necessary if you want a vehicle to start, but are often misunderstood. Car batteries can be finicky, but with the proper amount of knowledge and care, they can remain in peak condition for many years.
For students in online automotive courses, thoroughly understanding how batteries work, how to protect them, and how to ensure they’re long-lasting and functional is important. Here are five facts you should know about car batteries.
Car Batteries are Affected by the Seasons
Just like us, batteries aren’t fond of weather that’s too hot or too cold. The weather can wreak serious havoc on a car battery if it’s not properly prepped for the season. Contrary to what you might assume, intense heat is actually the worst for battery health, rather than cold temperatures.
Heat can speed up corrosion in the battery, as well as cause water to evaporate from the liquid electrolyte. These effects can impact battery life negatively. With that in mind, drivers should ensure their batteries are properly assessed and ready for the sweltering summer months.
Cold temperatures can also harm car batteries, and it’s important to take the fall as an opportunity to properly prep the battery for winter. Graduates of online automotive courses should check the charging system, and keep the battery’s connections clean, tight, and free from corrosion. Because the engine requires more power to start in cold weather, the battery is more stressed and needs to be regularly maintained to prevent any issues.
Weak Batteries Harm Your Car
A car is a system of many parts, all of which rely on each other. If the car battery isn’t working correctly, the surrounding elements will start to overcompensate and eventually cause damage. For instance, the starter motor and the charging system can be affected because they notice the lack of battery power and start drawing excessive voltage to overcompensate.
Drivers should make sure that they assess their battery regularly so that they’re not accidentally stressing otherwise healthy car parts. Batteries older than three years, in particular, should be checked at least once a year.
Battery Voltage Should Never Drop Below 12.4 Volts
During an electric fundamentals online course, you may learn that car batteries sometimes need to be placed into storage for a number of reasons. If this is the case, those handling the battery should be aware that it should never be allowed to drop below 12.4 volts. If it does, it is at risk of damage.
In order to prevent this, the battery can be stored in either a float charger or a multistage charger. If these chargers aren’t available, the battery should be disconnected from the vehicle and stored in a cool, dry location.
Students in Online Automotive Courses: Beware of Sulfation!
One thing that could happen to a car battery if it drops below 12.4 volts is a process known as sulfation. Car batteries hold their power through a chemical reaction, and sulfation can block this reaction, making the battery fail.
The process of sulfation involves an excessive growth of sulfate crystals. When the crystals aren’t sufficiently recharged, they’ll start to combine to form larger crystals, which are more difficult to dissolve. This process can be reversed by using the de-sulfating mode of a charger, but make sure to catch it before it’s too late.
Frequent Short Trips Wear on a Battery
Car batteries generally last three to five years, but if you’re constantly using it only to drive to the corner of the street and back, the lifespan might be cut short. Starting the engine takes a lot of power from the battery, but the engine’s alternator recharges the battery while it’s running. During short trips, the alternator may not have enough time to recharge the battery sufficiently, which takes a toll on its overall lifespan.
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