It is the battery that is responsible for providing power to all the different electrical components of a car. Speaking in general, it is a rechargeable 12-volt lead-acid battery that is meant to power the electrical systems within the vehicle. What this means is that there are many different chemicals inside the battery, all of which go through several processes and reactions when the battery is in use. The same chemical reactions are, however, reversed when the batteries are being recharged.
Purposes of a car battery
The very first purpose of car batteries is that they are meant to ignite the starter motor and the ignition system. For those who don’t know, the starter motor is basically an electric motor that is responsible for getting the main gas engine started. On the other hand, the ignition system is where the mix of gas and air is ignited for the production of combustion required for the engine to keep running.
Apart from that, the car battery also runs the overall electrical system of the car. The most important component in this regard is the lights. The 12-volt battery basically powers all the lights in the car including the trunk light, interior lights, headlights and even the dashboard light. It is for this reason that the battery is going to get drained and you will not be able to start your car if you leave the lights on.
Dealing with a dead car battery
When a car battery dies, there really isn’t much that you can do to start it. Although there are many different reasons as to why your car may not start, as long as you hear that clicking noise and don’t have ignition, there’s a good chance that you are dealing with a dead battery. What the clicking sound implies is that the starter is working but the battery is not fulfilling its purpose. In case the starter is dead too, you will not be able to hear the clicking sound.
What this leads us to is the question, why is it normal for car batteries to get drained so quickly when the lights are left turned on but can power the lights for as long as needed when the engine is running? Well, to begin with, it takes nearly 12 entire volts for the car to get started, which means that if your battery is at 11.1 volts, there isn’t much chance that your car will run. Also, the thing with car batteries is that they continue to recharge themselves as they run, which is why the batteries don’t run out as long as the engine is running.
How does a car battery get recharged?
All cars come with an ‘alternator’ which recharges the battery by producing energy through the mechanical motion of the engine and the alternator belt. On the whole, the engine is started by the car battery and it then recharges it while running on gasoline. It is for this reason that it is vital for you to run your car for a while before shutting it off again once you jump start it. The alternator has a small computer attached to it that tells it to keep on charging the battery and when to stop. The reason why this is attached to the alternator is that in case the battery gets overcharged, it may start producing hydrogen which will, in turn, explode the battery.
Of course, you would now want to know why there is a need to purchase a new car battery so frequently. This is because car batteries do not have the potential to continually hold the charge as much with the passage of time. For the record, 12-volt batteries can actually hold up to about 13 volts, but as time goes by, their ability to do so diminishes significantly. The day that the batteries cannot hold more than 12 volts, it’s time for you to head out there and get yourself a new battery. It is fairly common for people to refrain from keeping an eye on how much charge their car battery is holding up. In the long run, they learn about its inability to do so when they start their car and it doesn’t start at all or has a weak start. It is for this reason that it is best for you to keep a tab on the amount of charge that your car battery is holding up so that you don’t have to worry about dealing with a dead one.
Reconditioning a car battery
Replacing a car battery can be rather expensive. On the other hand, reconditioning one is much cheaper and easier. All that you need for this purpose are Epsom salts, a voltmeter, and distilled water. This procedure is going to help you get your battery to start but will only work a few times.
To begin with, use a voltmeter and see if your car battery is registering 12 volts on it. As long as it reads between 10 and 12 volts, there is a good chance that your battery will restore to full operation. Using distilled water and Epsom salts will help you recondition your car batteries in this case. However, for 10 volts or lower, you are just going to end up wasting your time.
With that, make sure that you take a few precautions when restoring your battery. Remember, car batteries contain sulfuric acid, which deems it even more necessary for you to be cautious. When working on your battery, make sure that you do so in a properly ventilated area. Also, while doing so, put on rubber gloves and goggles to ensure your safety. In case you end up with acid on your skin, wash it off immediately with lots of water and make sure that you are nowhere close to open flames.