Your car battery is not the first thing to come to mind when you think of your prized motor vehicle. The battery is responsible for providing all of your electronics and giving that starter motor the boost it needs to start a vehicle. It is an important component that most believe can be replaced when faulty, this is very true, but like most things in life, it turns out prevention is better than cure. For those with multiple vehicles and even those with extremely valuable vehicles, here’s why you should prioritize that battery, especially if the vehicle is a passion project subject to the occasional weekend trip!
Various devices are available out there, such as this automotive battery charger, also known as a trickle charger. These little miracles attach to your battery terminals and produce a small amount of charge to your car battery. Over time (usually 48 hours), the charge will be at a sustainable level, and the trickle charger will continue to charge when necessary, keeping your component at a healthy level and preventing unnecessary faults and replacements, which can quickly become costly, especially on more special vehicles such as McLarens, Ferraris, and other high-end brands.
The battery in a vehicle that remains dormant for 4 to 8 weeks can begin to fail. It may not be obvious to you, but a battery that fails to charge to full capacity begins drawing more power from your vehicle’s alternator. This directly affects the car’s performance, sucking away that precious horsepower to keep the battery at a charge level to maintain normal functionality. You may not be able to notice this initially, so if you’re feeling curious, find yourself a multimeter and hook them up to your positive and negative terminals. They should be reading approximately 12.6v if the battery is in healthy condition (If the vehicle is running and settled, this can happily sit around 10 volts). Now, if your battery is closer to 5 volts, you must replace the battery pack if you wish to protect the value of the vehicle or extend its lifespan. They aren’t cheap to replace – the average cost for a replacement battery can be around $100 – $250.
A faulty battery forces the engine to work harder, sending power to the alternator and various other components, such as the vehicle radiator. This is stealing your performance metrics and dramatically increasing the temperature under the bonnet. This causes exhaust issues for your vehicle as it attempts to push out that hot air creating a vicious cycle forcing the engine to work harder and harder the hotter it gets. This burns fuel faster as the only way your car ramps up its power output is by forcing more fuel into the combustion chamber leading to your spending more time and money at the pumps. The temperature increase will also affect the components under the hood. This may take some time as manufacturers tend to shield the more sensitive components very well but still not a risk worth taking.