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If you have ever owned a car or boat, dead batteries have been a part of your life. Without a battery, your car is not moving and can leave you stuck in places you would rather not be. Car batteries also have a tendency to die on you when you least expect it and without warning. There are several causes of dead car batteries. The most common is the build up of sulfate on the plates. This interferes and prevents the proper charging and discharging of the battery. This situation is worsened in the following conditions: temperatures over 70 degrees, storing without a trickle charger connected to it, and discharging the battery below 10.5 volts. Another common issue is losing electrolyte from overcharging or over heating the battery. Finally, under charging the battery will add to its untimely demise.
There are several strategies you can use to extend the life of your car battery and avoid a dead battery crisis. Regular maintenance of your automotive battery is a must, especially in extreme weather conditions. Remember over heating is bad. Check the electrolyte level in the battery. One of the easiest cleaning tips, is to make sure the terminals are clean. You can buy an cheap terminal brush and scrub off any corrosion on the battery terminals and cables. Sometimes a dead battery is nothing more than corroded terminals. Once they are clean, your car will crank right up. Car batteries also need to be recharged after deep cycle discharges and jump starts.
If you run an auto shop or other mechanical service, you will need a car battery charger to recharge your batteries. The time required to charge a car battery back to a full charge depends on the number of ampere hours (AH) depleted. Ampere hours are calculated by multiplying the number of hours times the number of Amps that the battery supplied to the load. For example, if a load was connected to a battery that used 7 Amps for 5 hours, the car battery supplied 35 Ahs. The recharge time would then be calculated by dividing 35 Ahs by the amperage charge rate of the charger. Once you are armed with this information you can make sure your batteries are fully charged and remain healthy.
If you are storing you batteries for a long period of time, such as a ski boat in winter. A trickle charger is highly recommended. These will slowly charge your battery and make sure it remains fully charged through the winter months. It is better to let the battery stay fully charged then try to recharge it in the spring. Fully discharging the battery will reduce its overall life.
By taking these simple suggestions, you can extend the life of your battery and hopefully avoid getting caught with a car that won’t start.
Jason is the webmaster for Red Hill Supply - car battery charger
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