What is the battery for?
A car battery
has a double function. On one hand, it powers the starter motor
so that the engine can be started. On the other it provides electricity for car accessories including the air con, a radio or a GPS.
itself depends for its electricity on the alternator. If the engine is switched on, the alternator creates an electric current. This current is partly used to charge the battery and partly to supply electricity to other car parts including the lights
If you keep electronic items switched on however when the engine is not running, they use the electricity stored in the battery. Leaving your headlights on for example without having your engine on, will eventually result in an empty car battery. In modern cars however an alarm will go off warning you your lights are still on.
In case the alternator
is not working properly, the battery can support it. It is however not capable to replace the alternator in case the latter is not working. Apart from unable to create electric current, the amount of electricity needed by modern cars is too high for the battery to supply.
When to replace the car battery?
If your car has difficulty starting, there might be a problem with the starter motor however this can also be due to a problem with the battery. Over time the battery wears and starts showing signs of fatigue. You will notice as your car won’t start easily or not at all. In addition very high or extremely low temperatures have a wearing effect on the battery.
When you buy a car battery
, it is important it is the correct voltage and the right size. When fitting the battery, the + and - need to be in the right place, just like when replacing the batteries in any kind of equipment. Although the voltage is important, it is possible to buy a 90 ampere battery if you need a 60A. Ensure however that there is no more than 30A difference between the battery you’ve selected and the one you would ideally need.
As car batteries
are filled with acid, it is important to be extremely careful when replacing them. The acid is not only dangerous for your health, it is also explosive. Therefor never smoke near a car battery and keep it well away from open flames. For health and safety reasons it is also best to replace your battery outside.