How Can A Bad Battery Harm The Charging System?July 30, 2020
Unless you upgrade your car every two to three years, there will come a time when you will have to replace your car battery. As the website Battery University (https://batteryuniversity.com) puts it:
All batteries have one thing in common: they run for a while, need recharging, and require an eventual replacement as the capacity fades.
This is especially true if you live in a hot climate like the UAE, which places additional strain on the battery. In any event, the battery is designed to last only three to five years, and to operate optimally within a temperature range of 20-300C. Regular exposure to higher temperatures—hullo UAE summers!—will cause permanent damage to the battery’s electrochemical function. But that’s another story. What to look for in a new battery?
These ten factors seem to top the list:
- A good warranty: since the idea of an uninterrupted energy source is still in the future, you’ll want to make sure that your battery lasts for at least a minimum period, say three years. This is what a warranty guarantees. The longer the warranty, the more expensive (higher quality) the product. Depending on your budget, it may be a good investment in the UAE.
- Reserve capacity: this is the battery’s ability to keep running when the car is switched off, so it will keep powering the radio, the interior lights, your phone charger and navigational equipment, and so on. You want your battery to perform these functions well.
- Climate-suited: batteries may be adapted to operate in warmer climate (usually labelled “South” or “S”), or colder climates (labelled “North” or “N”). The latter have higher cold cranking amps (CCA), referring to the energy requirement to start a vehicle in freezing weather—not really a strong requirement in the UAE.
- Battery size: seems fairly obvious, but batteries do come in nine different shapes and size groups to fit the tray in the engine compartment. Make sure your new battery fits snugly; excessive vibration will add quickly to wear and tear. Check the owner’s manual, or ask a reputable dealer who will advise you on the correct choice for your vehicle.
- Battery freshness: because of their internal electrochemical components, batteries have a sell-by date and will begin to deteriorate/discharge after about six months on the shelf. Check the date of manufacture, and don’t buy an old battery.
- Maintenance: while some modern batteries are sealed and maintenance-free, many older or cheaper batteries can still be opened for “topping up” with distilled water. Depending on the age of your car and your budget, it’s probably best to buy as “good” a battery as you can afford.
- Battery life: it goes without saying that we want the battery to last as long as possible. As with most things, you get what you pay for, together with the other factors influencing battery life such as the climate and temperature in which you drive.
- High-performance batteries: late-model cars with their computerized technology and other high-tech add-ons have a higher demand for electrical support. A high-tech battery like the AGM (absorbed or absorbent glass mat) may be required. This would be the case if your car is fitted with fuel-saving stop/start technology, for example, where your car cuts out and restarts at traffic lights, or whenever you stop.
- Off-road driving: if you do a lot of dune-bashing in your SUV, make sure that your car is fitted with a sealed battery which is securely fitted in place, preferably with a cover over the terminals to reduce the amount of dust likely to interfere with its conductivity.
- Reputation: replace your old battery at a reputable dealership who will advise you on the best make and fit to suit your vehicle and your pocket. Since this piece of equipment is quite capable of leaving you stranded at an unexpected time, buy the best you can afford.