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Is My Car Battery Dying?

Batteries play a major part in your car, storing electricity to help start the car and run various systems, such as the engine computer, lights and radio. However, at times it’s already too late when you realise your battery is dead. Late in the evening or early in the morning, you get in the car to go somewhere and sure enough the car won’t start.

Batteries are an amazing piece of engineering, traditionally they use lead plates in an acid bath to store and distribute electricity as needed. Typically, a battery has 6 individual compartments (called cells) which produce around 2 Volts each, making most car batteries a 12 Volt system.

Volts is an electrical term that refers to the potential energy in a system. If you imagine the tap in your bathroom, the volts are like the water in the pipe when the tap is off, waiting to be allowed to flow.

But, how are they different to any other battery? Would a 9V battery be enough to start a car?

Well the real difference between a car battery and a household battery (like a AA battery) is the amount of Amps it produces. While a AA battery might produce 1.5A, a car battery can produce anywhere between 400A-1000A when starting the motor.

While volts are like the water being held behind a closed tap, amps are like the water flowing out into the sink.

One of the ways to tell when your car battery is dying is by listening to how your car starts. While a household battery will usually die quickly, a car battery slowly becomes more and more worn out, taking longer to start, or ‘turning-over’ slower, giving you an easy audible way to check your battery.

Another way to check many batteries is through a sight glass. As battery manufacturers became more and more evolved, they have started installing a small see-through window on the top of most batteries. These sight-glasses peer into the battery and show different colours depending on the health of the battery (green usually means your battery health is good).

These are just a couple of easy ways you can save major heartaches in the future.


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