We sell car batteries and replace car batteries for our customers. Naturally, we want our customers to have the best experience with theirs – to be reliable and lasting, something they need not think about each day as they start their vehicle, so why are we learning here about how to kill a car battery?
Because we believe, if we did know, and we do the opposite, we can then prolong the life of the car battery.
Here I was, stuck myself with the battery not being able to start after a holiday because it had gradually gone flat after the the two weeks of not receiving a charge, while the car had slowly drained it because some electronics still require power to run – such as the clock and memory back up for your radio settings.
Even after a jump start and a long drive, the battery was once again too weak the next day to get the car started, so what have we learnt?
Let The Battery Go Flat
Leave your lights on while parked. Nice way to kill a battery. This is because the chemicals in the battery start a process called sulphation. Sulphur from the acid coats the lead plates of the battery with a insulating layer that is not conducive for electrical flow, and it starts doing so when batteries fall below a certain voltage (when they are running low).
Car batteries need to be constantly kept charged to last longer! They are different from lithium batteries for mobile phones which can be drained to 0%. The more the car battery is constantly kept at a fully charged or close to 100% charge state, the longer the battery stays in good working order. So drive regularly, and you will keep the battery charged, remember to switch off all electronics when leaving the car parked.
Just Let Your Car Sit While You Are On A Holiday
Under the sun and the rain, not driven, collecting leaves along the way while you leave it to go away, how lonely the car would be… The battery drains without being charged as you do this. And our warm weather here in Singapore helps it along its discharge to doom. Not only does the battery lose charge, you car’s lubrication will flow through the engine and keep it from stagnant collection at the bottom of the oil pan and dry up above at the pistons, which will cause the engine more wear the first time you start up again after a few weeks. Nice way to introduce wear on the engine too!
Get Someone to Start and Drive your Car When You’re Away! This is the best way to to keep your car in good shape when you are away on holiday. When a car is started and running the engine powers the alternator to charge the battery up, and it charges better when it is driven, so its good to go for a drive to maybe pick up groceries.
Even if it is not driven, leaving it for a bit of time to charge at idle will save you lots of headache. Not only does the battery charge, you car’s lubrication will flow through the engine and keep it lubricated and reduce the engine wear you start up again after your hols.
Leave Electronics On While Parked
Other than the headlights or cabin light, one of the latest trends that can help you effectively flatten and kill the car battery is the on board video camera recorder, especially if it is made to run 24 hours. So leave that running to shorten your battery life.
To save your car battery from unintended doom earlier than the expected lifespan, you should make sure all lights and electronics such as the video recorder are unplugged before you go on a holiday. Even for cameras that run only till a certain setpoint – typically set at 12v, it is not recommended, as the electronics manufacturers have not yet grasped the concept of car battery sulphation. Sulphation starts before a battery reaches 12v. A fully charged car battery is typically above 12v when at rest.
To further slow the drain from the battery if you have no one to help you out and start the car, you could also disconnect the battery – but this will cause a loss of settings such as the radio stations and time on the clock. However, most people should still find this more palatable than to have to change a battery when they come home to a flat battery that will not charge back anymore.