Car Batteries – Albany NY
A lot of times the battery in your vehicle is easy to forget about. We replace batteries all the time in our daily lives. Every season we check the batteries in the smoke detectors that keep our homes safe from fires. We are constantly charging that batteries in our cell phones and how many times have you replaced the batteries in your kids video game controllers?
For some reason, we forget about the biggest battery that we deal with on a daily basis. The big square battery that is responsible for starting our cars and keeping our electrical systems in top notch shape.
Interestingly, it is the battery we get most angry at when it suddenly decides to stop working. In reality, there are several warning signs to look for.
Let’s take a look at some of the telltale signs that your battery is trying to tell you….it needs a little help.
1) No Cranking, No Starting, and No Lights
This is the biggest indication that your battery is on the outs. Also, this is also the most frustrating because it can render you without a starting vehicle. Stranded and frustrated is not the best situation to be in. Remember, the battery is responsible for running the electronics in your car when the alternator is not running. In most cases, the only way to fix this problem is to replace the battery. Sure, you may be able to get a jump start to get your car started….but it will only be a matter of time before the battery just won’t hold a charge.
However, if the car won’t crank or start, but the headlights do work, this may mean that you have a totally different problem. It might mean that you have a starter or a mechanical problem in the engine.
2) The engine cranks….but won’t start
This is a little more tricky. In this situation, there is enough battery life in your battery to start to turn the starter motor but perhaps not enough to spin the starter fast enough to actually start the motor.
In this situation, it is best to have a professional use an ammeter (current-measuring device) and find out what level the battery is at Even if the device says the battery is good, it can still be a few volts weaker than it needs to be to start and maintain your vehicle efficiently.
Again, good old jumper cables might help you in a jam….but it is best to get a new battery.
3) It starts fine one day….nothing the next
This gets more tricky. When you can’t mimic the problem easily there are more things that can go wrong. Some of the more common things that you can check are the following:
- Your battery terminals are loose, broken, corroded, or calcified
If this is the case, you might be able to save your current battery. Corrosion is very common. Clean the corrosion off the battery posts. If there is a lot of dirt, grime, and general uncleanliness it prevents the electricity from passing through strongly.
- You have something drawing the electricity when you car is off.
For example, the power is being drained by some sort of device installed in the car. In other words, something is on when it’s supposed to be off. For example, if you have an aftermarket stereo system installed in your car it is possible that it is drawing “phantom” power causing your battery to drain. It is also possible that there is some sort of wire that’s touching something it shouldn’t. This can cause a short circuit that can drain the power from your battery.
4) Cold weather causes you starter to crank slowly.
This is pretty classic. Check your battery and look for “Cold Cranking Amps”. The higher the number….the better the battery will perform in the cold. If you live in an area that doesn’t get below freezing you can live with less cold cranking amps. Make sure you have enough amps for cold winter months. Cold weather is difficult on a car. The oil is thicker. The gas is a little gooier. Things are generally more sluggish in the winter. This in turn makes it much more difficult for your engine. If things are more difficult for your engine….it makes the starter work harder. Pair that with poor “cold cranking amps” and you have a recipe for poor battery performance.
5) You live by your jumper cables.
Uh! Jumper cables. How many of us have been saved by those wonderful copper ropes? They certainly are great in an emergency and with some of the problems mentioned above. Be careful!
Having to jump your battery frequently is a warning sign. Ignoring warning signs is NEVER a good idea. Many people will keep jumping the battery until finally they have a much costlier problem on their hands. Soon they are looking at a larger repair bill the includes replacing the alternator, starter, AND battery. If they did not ignore this warning sign in the first place, maybe a new battery is all they needed…..saving them several hundred dollars.
All in all….the batteries in your car are the unsung heroes of the engine. Without them you would not be able to go where you need to be. It’s best to regularly have your battery checked and service.
A good rule of thumb is to schedule your battery for service every time you change your oil. A qualified mechanic can recommend the perfect battery for your vehicle. They can consult with you on cold cranking amps, quality of battery, and what is recommended by the factory.
Sometimes a battery issue is not easy to diagnose. A qualified mechanic has tools at their disposal that can quickly help diagnose any of the issues we have mentioned above. Devices like multimeters, fuse checkers, and simple inspection can keep your battery in top notch condition.
When it comes to battery replacement. Knowledge is “power” – pun intended!!