Cars have become increasingly complex over the years, and one area that has seen significant advancements is the battery. Car batteries are responsible for powering an ever-growing number of electrical components and accessories, from the lights to the stereo to the power seats. But do you know how car batteries work and how to know the car battery is dead and needs to be replaced?
With all of these electrical demands placed on the battery, it’s not surprising that they don’t last forever. In fact, car batteries have a relatively short lifespan of between two depending on the type of battery, how it’s used, and how well it’s maintained. And that’s what you’ll learn about in this article. Read on.
The Function of Car Batteries
Car batteries are made up of several cells connected together. Each cell produces about two volts of electricity, and when all the cells are connected, you get the total voltage of the battery. For a 12-volt battery, that means there are six cells inside, producing a total of 12 volts. But what do car batteries actually do?
Batteries store electrical energy in the form of chemical energy, and it’s this stored energy used to power your car. The battery does this by supplying electrons to the starter motor, which in turn starts the engine. Once the engine is running, the alternator takes over and provides power to the battery as well as the rest of the electrical components in your car.
Different Types of Car Batteries
You might be wondering how long car batteries last or how to know when the car battery is dead. But before we get into that, it’s important to understand that there are different types of batteries, and each type has its own advantages and disadvantages.
➣Gel Cell Battery
Gel cell car batteries are made with sulfuric acid with fumed silica to produce a gel-like substance. This gel is what surrounds the lead plates inside the battery, and it’s this gel that makes the battery spill-proof.
What makes it different is because the acid is suspended in a gel, it doesn’t move around as it does in a wet cell battery. That makes the gel cell battery less likely to leak, even if it’s damaged.
It is also more resistant to vibration and can last up to twice as long as a wet cell battery. So, if you’re looking for a battery that will last longer and is less likely to leak, a gel cell battery might be the right choice for you.
An AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat) battery is very similar to a gel cell battery in that the sulfuric acid is also suspended in a glass mat. The big difference is that the AGM battery uses a much thinner glass mat, which allows the electrolyte to be in closer contact with the lead plates.
This design makes the AGM battery more efficient and gives it a longer lifespan than a gel cell or wet cell battery. AGM batteries are also spill-proof and can withstand more vibration than other types of batteries.
It makes a good choice if a non-spillable and maintenance-free battery is what you’re after. It will surely save you time and hassle in the long run.
➣Lead Acid Battery
A lead-acid battery is the most common type of car battery, and it’s what most people think of when they think of a car battery. Lead-acid batteries are made up of two lead plates submerged in sulfuric acid, and it’s the chemical reaction between the lead and the acid that produces the electricity.
The lead-acid battery is the oldest type of car battery, and it’s also the most economical. But because the lead plates are not as well protected as they are in other types of batteries, they are more likely to be damaged by vibrations. They are also more prone to leaking and require more maintenance than other types of batteries.
If you’re looking for a battery that is less expensive and easy to find, a lead-acid battery might be the right choice for you. But if you want a battery that is more durable and requires less maintenance, you might want to consider another type of battery.
➣Wet Cell Battery
The most common type of car battery is the wet cell battery, which is what most people think of when they think of a car battery. The wet cell battery uses lead plates submerged in a sulfuric acid electrolyte.
The wet cell battery is the most economical type of battery and the original type of rechargeable battery. But because the lead plates are not as well protected as they are in other types of batteries, they are more likely to be damaged by vibrations. They are also more prone to leaking and require more maintenance than other types of batteries.
What makes it a good car battery is that it’s easy to find and relatively inexpensive. But if you’re looking for a battery that is more durable and requires less maintenance, you might want to consider another type of battery.
➣Flooded Lead Acid Battery
A flooded lead-acid battery is the most common type of deep cycle solar battery. It typically has two lead plates submerged in a sulfuric acid electrolyte which makes it spill-proof.
What makes it a good solar battery is that it’s well understood, relatively inexpensive, and has a long lifespan. But because the lead plates are not as well protected as they are in other types of batteries, they are more likely to be damaged by vibrations.
But they are still the most common type of solar battery due to their low initial cost, despite being less effective than other types of batteries in the long run. You can expect them to last about 5-7 years with proper maintenance.
➣Enhanced Flooded Battery
From the previous section, you know that a flooded lead-acid battery is the most common type of deep cycle solar battery. But there’s a new kid on the block – the enhanced flooded battery (EFB).
The EFB is an improved version of the standard flooded lead-acid battery. It uses thicker lead plates and absorbs more electrolytes, which allows for greater charge acceptance and improved cyclic durability.
The EFB also has a higher temperature tolerance than the standard flooded lead-acid battery, which means it can be used in a wider range of climates. And that’s not all – the EFB also doesn’t require as much maintenance as other types of batteries.
So if you’re looking for a battery that is more durable and requires less maintenance, the EFB might be the right choice for you. But keep in mind that it is a more expensive option than the standard flooded lead-acid battery.
➣Deep Cycle Battery
A deep cycle battery is a type of lead-acid battery that can be discharged and recharged multiple times. Unlike a car battery, which is designed to provide a short burst of power, a deep cycle battery provides a steady and long stream of power.
They are more expensive than other types of car batteries, but they have a longer lifespan and can be used more frequently. What makes it a good car battery is that it’s durable and can be used for a long time.
But make sure you’re prepared to pay the price tag – a deep cycle battery can cost two or three times as much as a regular car battery. That’s because they are made with thicker lead plates and higher-quality materials.
A lithium-ion battery is a rechargeable battery that utilizes lithium ions as its electrolyte. It is often used in portable electronic devices, such as laptops and cell phones.
What makes it a good car battery is that it’s lightweight and has a high energy density. That means it can store more energy than other types of batteries, making it ideal for electric vehicles.
It can withstand a higher number of charge and discharge cycles than other types of batteries, which means it has a longer lifespan. And because it doesn’t contain any toxic materials, it’s considered to be a more environmentally friendly option.
➣Nickel Metal Hydride Battery
When it comes to car batteries, the nickel-metal hydride car battery is often compared to the lithium-ion battery. That’s because they are both rechargeable batteries that don’t contain any lead or acid.
But there are some key differences between the two types of batteries. For one, NiMH batteries are cheaper than lithium-ion batteries. And they also have a higher energy density, which means they can store more energy than other types of batteries.
But there are some downsides to the NiMH battery. For one, it’s not as environmentally friendly as the lithium-ion battery. And it’s also not as efficient, meaning it takes longer to charge.
➣Silver Calcium Battery
A silver calcium battery is a type of lead-acid battery that uses silver and calcium as its electrolyte. Silver calcium batteries are often used in high-performance cars, such as sports cars and luxury vehicles.
What makes it a good car battery is that it’s more durable than other types of batteries. That’s because silver calcium batteries can withstand a higher number of charge and discharge cycles.
They are also more resistant to heat, which means they can be used in a wider range of climates. And because they don’t contain any lead or acid, they are considered to be more environmentally friendly.
How Much Should Car Batteries Cost
Now that you know some of the basics and types of car batteries, let’s move on to how much you can expect to pay for one. Car batteries come in one shape but different sizes, so it’s no surprise that they also vary in price.
The most common type of battery is the lead-acid battery, and these usually cost between $100 and $150. If you have a luxury car or a high-performance vehicle, you may have a gel cell or lithium-ion battery, which can cost $200 or more. But why?
Lead-acid batteries are the most common because they’re the cheapest to manufacture. Gel cell and lithium-ion batteries are more expensive because they have a higher power density, meaning they can store more energy in a smaller space. But how does that relate to luxurious or high-performance cars?
These types of vehicles have more electrical demands placed on the battery, meaning they need a battery that can provide more power and last longer. That’s why these batteries cost more. But how do you know if your car needs a gel cell or lithium-ion battery? Well, that leads us to our next topic. Click here to learn more about cars.
Car Batteries Lifespan
Now that you know how to choose the right car battery and how much it can cost, let’s move on to how long it lasts. Car batteries have a lifespan of about four to five years. But it’s important to note that this is an average, and some batteries may last longer while others may need to be replaced sooner.
There are a few factors that can affect how long your car battery lasts. For one, the type of battery you have will make a difference. Lead-acid batteries tend to last longer than other types of batteries, while others may need to be replaced sooner.
Another factor that can affect the lifespan of your car battery is how often you use it. If you only use your car occasionally, your battery will last longer than if you use it daily. But if you live in a hot climate, your battery may not last as long because the heat can damage it. But why is that?
That’s because car batteries are made up of a series of cells, and each cell contains a chemical reaction that produces electricity. These reactions are affected by temperature, so if it’s too hot or cold, the battery won’t work as well. And the more you use your battery, the more these reactions occur, which can shorten its lifespan.
Signs Your Car Battery is Dead or Dying
Car batteries are expected to last for about four to five years, but is there a way how to know the car battery is dead or dying? Well, here are a few signs you can look for:
◼Your Car Won’t Start
One of the most obvious signs that your car battery is dead or dying is if your car won’t start. If you turn the key and nothing happens, it’s likely because your battery doesn’t have enough power to start the engine.
◼Your Car’s Lights are Dim
Another sign that your battery is dying is if your car’s lights are dim. It is because the battery powers the lights, and if it’s not working properly, the lights will be affected. So it’s a good idea to check your lights regularly to see if they’re as bright as they should be.
◼Your Car’s Electronics is Acting Up
Another sign that your battery is dying is if your car’s electronics are acting up. If you notice that the radio or other electronic devices in your car are behaving oddly, it could be because the battery is losing power.
◼Your Car Battery is Leaking
If you notice a leak around your car battery, it’s a sign that the battery is damaged and needs to be replaced. It’s usually a white, powdery substance, and it can be harmful, so it’s best to avoid it.
◼You’ve Had Your Car Battery for More Than 4 Years
If you’ve had your car battery for more than four years, it’s likely time for a replacement. Even if you don’t notice any of the other signs, it’s a good idea to get a new battery every four years or so to be safe.
◼Your Car Makes Strange Noises
If you start your car and it makes strange noises, this could be a sign that your battery is dying. It is because the battery powers the alternator, which helps to keep the engine running. If the battery is dying, the alternator won’t work as well, and you’ll hear noises.
◼You Smell Something Burning
If you smell something burning, it could be a sign that your battery is overheating. It is usually caused by a buildup of sulphuric acid, and it can be dangerous. If you notice this, pull over and turn off your car immediately. It might signify that your alternator is failing, and you’ll need a new battery.
How to Test Your Car Battery
After reading how to know the car battery is dead or dying but still not sure, the best way to know for sure is to test the car batteries directly. Here are a few ways:
- Voltmeter. One way is to use a voltmeter, which measures the voltage of the battery. If it’s below 12 volts, it’s likely that your battery is dead or dying.
- Hydrometer. Another way to test your car battery is by using a hydrometer. This measures the specific gravity of the electrolyte in the battery. If it’s low, it means that the battery isn’t holding a charge as well as it should.
- Checkup. You can also take your car to a mechanic and have them test the battery for you. They’ll be able to tell you whether it’s time for a replacement.
Car Batteries Maintenance
After learning how to know the car battery is dead or dying, how do you make sure it lasts as long as possible? This is important because batteries are not cheap, and you don’t want to have to replace them more often than necessary. So here are a few tips:
✔Avoid Extreme Temperatures
One way to extend your car’s battery life is to avoid extreme temperatures. For example, if the temperature is too hot or cold, it can shorten the lifespan of your battery. So try to keep your car in a garage or other protected area when you’re not using it.
✔Clean the Terminals
Another way to extend the life of your battery is to clean the terminals. Over time, they can get covered in dirt and grime, which can prevent them from working properly. So be sure to clean them regularly with a brush or cloth.
✔Check the Water Level
If your battery is a maintenance-free type, you don’t need to worry about this. But if it’s not, you’ll need to check the water level regularly and add water if it’s low. That’s because the water helps to keep the battery cool and prevents it from overheating.
✔Avoid Long Periods of Inactivity
If you’re not going to be using your car for a while, it’s best to disconnect the battery. That’s because if it sits too long, it can discharge and die. So if you know you won’t be using your car for a while, be sure to disconnect the battery.
✔Keep The Cables Tight
Loose battery cables can cause all sorts of problems. They can prevent the battery from charging properly, and they can also cause it to overheat. So be sure to keep the cables tight, and if they’re starting to loosen, tighten them up.
✔Go Easy on The Electronics
If you’ve got a lot of electronic devices plugged into your car, it can put a strain on the battery. So try to limit the number of devices you have plugged in at any given time. And if you’re not using them, unplug them.
✔Limit Short Trips
If you only take short trips, your car doesn’t have a chance to fully charge the battery. So try to take longer trips when you can, or at least give your car a chance to charge the battery for a few hours after each trip.
✔Test The Battery Regularly
As we’ve already mentioned, the best way to know if your battery is dying is to test it regularly. That way, you can catch any problems early and avoid being stranded with a dead battery. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
✔Fill Up Water If Needed
You should check the water level in your battery every few months. If it’s getting low, add distilled water until it reaches the fill line. That way, you can avoid any problems that might come from using tap water.
✔Use the Right Charger
When you’re charging your battery, be sure to use a charger that’s designed for it. That way, you can avoid damaging the battery or causing any other problems. You can usually find the right charger at your local auto parts store.
✔Change the Battery Every Few Years
Even if you take good care of your battery, it will eventually die. So be sure to change it every few years. That way, you can avoid being stranded with a dead battery. It might seem like a pain, but it’s better than being stuck on the side of the road.
✔Keep Your Car Well-Maintained
One of the best ways to extend the life of your battery is to keep your car well-maintained. That means regular oil changes, tune-ups, and other maintenance. By keeping your car in good shape, you can avoid many problems that could lead to a dead battery.
How to Store Car Batteries
If you’re not going to be using your car for a while, it’s best to store the battery. That way, you can avoid any problems that might come from leaving it sitting too long. Here are a few tips for how to store car batteries:
– Disconnect the battery and clean the terminals.
– Store the battery in a cool, dry place.
– Make sure the battery is fully charged before you store it.
– Cover the terminals with grease.
How to Dispose of Car Batteries
After doing different ways how to know the car battery is dead, you also need to know how to dispose of them. Here are some tips:
– Take the battery to your local recycling center.
– Return the battery to the store where you bought it.
– Dispose of the battery at a hazardous waste facility.
Precautions When Handling Car Batteries
Car batteries contain sulfuric acid, which is a corrosive material. So it’s important to take some precautions when handling them:
– Wear gloves.
– Avoid getting the acid on your skin or in your eyes.
– If you do get the acid on your skin, wash it off immediately.
– Be careful not to drop the battery.
– If you must store the battery, do so in a safe place.
– Dispose of the battery properly when you’re done with it.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How often should I test my battery?
It’s a good idea to test your battery every few months. That way, you can catch any problems early and avoid being stranded with a dead battery.
2. Can I use tap water to fill up my battery?
No. You should only use distilled water. Tap water can contain minerals that will damage the battery. And that’s something you definitely want to avoid.
3. What’s the best way to store my battery?
The best way to store your battery is in a cool, dry place. And make sure it’s fully charged before you put it away.
4. What should I do if my battery is leaking?
If your battery is leaking, you should take it to a mechanic or auto parts store as soon as possible. They can test the battery and replace it if necessary.
5. When should I call a tow truck?
If your battery is dead and you can’t jump-start it, you’ll need to call a tow truck. That’s the only way to get your car to a mechanic or auto parts store.
6. How much will it cost to buy a new battery?
The cost of getting a new battery will depend on the make and model of your car. But you can expect to pay anywhere from $100 to $300 for a new one.
7. Can I replace my car battery by myself?
It’s possible to replace your car battery by yourself. But it’s usually best to leave it to a professional. They have the tools and knowledge necessary to do the job right.
8. How much water should I add to my battery?
You should only add distilled water to your battery. And you should only fill it up to the level specified in the owner’s manual. Adding too much water can damage the battery.
9. Why is my car battery overheating?
If your car battery is overheating, it could be caused by a number of things. The most common cause is overcharging. So if you’re charging your battery, make sure you’re using the correct setting. Another possibility is that the battery is getting too hot from being in direct sunlight. If that’s the case, try to park in a shady spot.
10. What should I do if my car battery dies?
If your car battery dies, you’ll need to call a tow truck. That’s the only way to get your car to a mechanic or auto parts store. Once you’re at the store, they can test the battery and replace it if necessary.
Having an idea of how to know the car battery is dead can save you a lot of time, effort, and money. You’ll get to escape from the hassle of having to call a tow truck. So be sure to keep these tips in mind the next time your car battery dies. For more car knowledge, check our blog for more tips and tricks!
Here at I Love Mini Vans, we are a team of geeks who loves the versatility of minivans. We created this blog to help you experience better adventures on your vehicle of choice, whether it’s a minivan, sedan, van, SUV, truck, and whatnot. We offer you automobile tips and tricks that make a difference.