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  • The automotive battery, also known as a lead-acid storage battery, is an electrochemical device that produces voltage and delivers current.
  • The electrolyte (water) inside an automotive battery is a mixture of water and sulfuric acid, which is very corrosive and will eat through clothing.
  • Even maintenance-free batteries need periodic inspection and cleaning to ensure they stay in good working order.

The automotive battery, also known as a lead-acid storage battery, is an electrochemical device that produces voltage and delivers current. In an automotive battery we can reverse the electrochemical action,thereby recharging the battery, which will then give us many years of service. The purpose of the battery is to supply current to the starter motor, provide current to the ignition system while cranking, to supply additional current when the demand is higher than the alternator can supply and to act as an electrical reservoir.

The automotive battery requires special handling. The electrolyte (water) inside the battery is a mixture of sulfuric acid and water. Sulfuric acid is very corrosive; if it gets on your skin it should be flushed with water immediately; if it gets in your eyes, you should immediately flush them thoroughly with water and see a doctor right away. In this situation, time is critical. If you work with batteries often, you should have a mild solution of baking soda and water on hand and flush with that. The baking soda will neutralize the acid and minimize the damage. Remember: it is more important to flush immediately. Do not take the time to make up a solution first.

, Automobile Battery: Everything You Need to Know
The rule of thumb is to replace your car battery every three to four years.

Sulfuric acid will eat through clothing, so it is advisable to wear old clothing when handling batteries. It is also advisable to wear goggles and gloves while servicing the battery. When charging, the battery will emit hydrogen gas; it is therefore extremely important to keep flames and sparks away from the battery.

See also  How to Recharge a Car Battery?

Because batteries emit hydrogen gas while charging, the battery case cannot be completely sealed. Years ago there was a vent cap for each cell and we had to replenish the cells when the electrolyte evaporated. Today’s batteries (maintenance free) have small vents on the side of the battery; the gases emitted have to go through baffles to escape. During this process the liquid condenses and drops back to the bottom of the battery. There’s no need to replenish or add water to this type of battery.

Today’s batteries are rated in cold cranking amps. This represents the current that the battery can produce for 30 seconds at 0 degrees before the battery voltage drops below 7.2 volts. An average battery today will have a CCA (Cold Cranking Amps) of 500. With the many different makes and models of cars available today, batteries will come in many different sizes, but all sizes come in many CCAs. Make sure you get a battery strong enough to operate properly in your car. The length of the warranty is not indicative of the strength of the battery.

, Automobile Battery: Everything You Need to Know
TAKE NOTE: Wear goggles and gloves when servicing the battery.

Battery cables are large diameter, multi-stranded wire which carry the high current(250+ amps) necessary to operate the starter motor. Some battery cables will have a smaller wire, soldered to the terminal, which is used to either operate a smaller device or to provide an additional ground. When the smaller cable burns it indicates a high resistance in the heavy cable.

See also  Bad Starter Solenoid Symptoms

Even maintenance free batteries need periodic inspection and cleaning to insure they stay in good working order. Inspect the battery to see that it is clean and that it is held securely in its carrier. Some corrosion naturally collects around the battery. Electrolyte condensation contains corrosive sulfuric acid, which eats away the metal of battery terminals, cable ends and battery hold down parts. To clean away the corrosion, use a mixture of baking soda and water, and wash all the metal parts around the battery, being careful not to allow any of the mixture to get into the battery (batteries with top cell caps and vents). Rinse with water. Remove the battery cables from the battery (negative cable first), wire brush the inside of the cable end and the battery post. Reinstall the cables (negative end last). Coat all exposed metal parts( paint or grease can be used) so that the sulfuric acid cannot get on the metal.

See also  Underhood Checks

Where to Get a Battery Replacement for Your Vehicle

Driving with a malfunctioning battery isn’t a good idea. To avoid getting stuck on the road, it’s best to replace your car battery as soon as your mechanic recommends it. It’s a good thing that makes shopping for quality batteries online quick and hassle-free.

Simply enter your ride’s year, make, and model into our vehicle selector tool to browse batteries that are compatible with your vehicle. You can also narrow down your search according to your desired brand or select your preferred price range using our search filters.

Get more value for your money when you shop on our website. Our catalog features some of today’s top aftermarket brands, so you know you’re getting OE-quality parts without the premium price tag.

Place your order for a new battery today, and get your order in as fast as two business days.

About The Author
Reviewed By Automotive Expert

Fred Bordoff has been a specialist in automotive diagnostics and repairs for over 30 years. He is currently the owner and president of NYCAT, the New York Center for Automotive Technology, a state-of-the art facility specializing in automotive diagnostics and repair, located in Long Island City.

Any information provided on this Website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace consultation with a professional mechanic. The accuracy and timeliness of the information may change from the time of publication.

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