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Basic car maintenance : How to check the battery

14 August 2019

The main function of the battery in your vehicle is to start the engine and provide electrical components in the vehicle the power they need to operate, even when the motor is not running. Your battery is the heart of your vehicle, without it, the vehicle will not operate.
Car batteries generally have 6 lead cells submerged in sulfuric acid that triggers a chemical reaction between the plates creating electrons and produce 2-volts of energy each, therefore producing and storing 12-volts together. With large trucks and heavy machinery the batteries are 24-volts.
When the vehicle is started, electricity flows through wires to the starter motor and cranks the motor.

Most batteries are easily maintained.  It is very important to know that before opening the bonnet there could be components of the motor that will be hot, so take care. Some batteries are not sealed and have removable caps to check the level of the acid which must be covering the lead plates. If the acid level is low than the cells can be topped up with demineralised water to cover the plates. Please take care in doing this. Don't overfill or flood and never handle battery fluid as it is acid-based and will burn flesh and rust your car.

Most modern batteries are sealed with a charge condition viewing port with instructions on the top, as the illustration above shows. Most modern batteries will last for years however when starting your engine if there is a notable slowing in the engine turning over, then it is time to contact Stouch Auto and Mechanical to have your battery checked. Don't be caught out with a flat battery.

"Auto off" cars that stop when you are at the lights, tend to "stress" batteries more as battery power is required more frequently. This shortens the life of the battery as do vehicles that are continually travelling short distances. Check the viewing port and compare with indicator graphic (typically a green dot). If your car won't start or you think you need a replacement battery be sure to call Stouch Auto and Mechanical as there are many different types and sizes of batteries.

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