Battery repair or replacement is required whenever the battery fails. A failed battery is the first probable cause when the engine won’t start or when any of the vehicle electronics don’t work.
A vehicle battery is a lead acid electric storage device. It stores electricity to power all the electronic features of an automobile. Whenever a battery is discharged or charged, it generates heat. Rapid discharging or recharging a battery can shorten the life of the battery and even cause acid to boil out of the battery. It is recommended not to use electronic features in the vehicle (such as the radio) while the engine is not running. The battery is not meant to power the vehicle on it’s own for long periods of time. Even leaving a dome light on overnight can cause the battery to fail.
The battery should be tested every time the vehicle is serviced (usually every 5,000 miles with the oil change). A load testing device is used to check the voltage. At no load the voltage should be 12.5 volts and with a 130 amp load the battery should maintain 11.5 volts for at least ten seconds. The same tester is used to check the charging system. The charging system should maintain a voltage of 13.0 – 14.5 volts, which could vary depending on make and model. At Crawford’s Auto Repair this free test is performed with every inspection as part of our free estimates.
Battery Repair or Replacement
An obvious sign that a battery is in need of repair is when corrosion collects at the battery terminals. You’ll see a green or white powdery substance collect on the battery where it is attached to the vehicle. Many people are familiar with a cleaning technique using baking powder to clean off this corrosion. However, simply cleaning the battery when corrosion is present is not sufficient. If the corrosion is present, the battery needs maintenance or it needs to be replaced.
Another sign of a failing battery is when the engine doesn’t start. Most vehicle owners, or all owners of regular gasoline vehicles, should be familiar with the steps for jump starting a vehicle. If you own a diesel engine, then having it towed to the shop for battery replacement may be the best option. Do not try to jump start a dead battery in a diesel engine with a regular gasoline engine. If you own a hybrid vehicle, then you probably need professional to help, and should also have it towed to the shop. See also the Hybrid Services page for a description of hybrid batteries.
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