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Debunking Common Myths on Car Batteries

  • 24 May
Debunking Common Myths on Car Batteries

When it comes to understanding and maintaining your vehicle’s battery, there’s a lot of misinformation and outdated wives’ tales floating around out there. From how to properly charge batteries to what truly causes them to die prematurely, it’s easy for automobile myths to get blown out of proportion. 

Today, we’re going to methodically separate fact from fiction by examining and debunking some of the most widespread car battery myths and assumptions. Having the right knowledge is key to getting the most life and performance out of your car battery from Daewoo India. Let’s dive in:

Myth #1: Batteries Don’t Need Maintenance

One of the most persistent battery myths is that modern sealed units are totally maintenance-free and don’t require any monitoring once installed. This is totally false.

While it’s true that sealed absorbed glass mat (AGM) and gel batteries don’t require periodic electrolyte refilling like old school flooded batteries, they still need proper charging and care. Lack of maintenance is actually one of the leading causes of premature battery failure.

Keeping an eye on your battery’s charge level, connections, and monitoring for irregularities like swelling or corrosion is crucial. Regular battery charging, cleaning terminals, and having the overall condition checked is maintenance that shouldn’t be neglected.

 

Myth #2: Overcharging is the Main Battery Killer

Another common belief is that leaving a car battery on the charger too long or overcharging is what damages and shortens its lifespan the most. In reality, this isn’t usually the case at all.

Most quality modern battery chargers have automatic overcharge protection that shuts off or reduces to a trickle charge rate when full capacity is reached. So unless your charger is outright defective, occasional overnight charging won’t immediately “boil” or ruin a battery.

What’s far more damaging is excessive undercharging and deep discharge cycles, where the battery routinely gets drained down below 20-30% capacity before recharging. This stresses the battery plates and leads to permanent capacity loss over time.  

 

Myth #3: Colder Temps Drain Batteries Faster

You’ve probably heard that cold weather can significantly reduce your car’s battery charge and potentially leave you stranded with a dead battery. While there is some truth to this, the full reality is a bit more nuanced.

While it’s accurate that colder temperatures can temporarily reduce a battery’s available cranking power and make engines harder to start, this is mainly an issue when the temperatures drop below 20°F or so. Normal seasonal cold snaps in the 30s and 40s don’t directly cause significant battery charge drain.

It’s important to decouple this temporary cold cranking issue from long-term battery life impacts. As long as the battery has a good charge level and is regularly driven to allow the alternator to recharge it, normal winter conditions alone aren’t actually killing the battery prematurely.

 

Myth #4: Battery Draining Is Normal During Storage

If you’ve ever come back to a vehicle after extended storage only to find the battery totally drained, you may have assumed this was normal and unavoidable. However, that’s not accurate at all.

A healthy, fully charged car battery shouldn’t experience significant discharge over the course of weeks or even several months of being parked and not driven. There’s something else going on if you’re routinely coming back to dead batteries.

The likely culprit is either a dying battery that’s reached the end of its service life and can no longer hold a charge, or you have a parasitic electrical drain caused by accessory components like stereos, lights, computers and so on continuing to draw power even when the car is off. Tracking down these phantom drains is key.

 

Myth #5: Covering Battery Terminals Prevents Corrosion

You’ve likely seen products that claim to prevent battery terminal corrosion by covering or sealing the terminals. While these can potentially help reduce some minor corrosion initially, they don’t actually address the root cause.

The white/blueish crust and buildup you see forming on battery terminals and cable connections is caused by hydrogen gas being vented from the battery. This gas reacts with the metal, leading to that corrosive buildup over time.

Rather than just covering it up, the proper solution is to periodically clean off any existing corrosion using a baking soda/water neutralizing solution. You can then apply a thin coating of battery terminal protector to help prevent future buildup, but the root gas venting issue will remain if the battery itself isn’t in good condition.

 

Myth #6: Engine Clicking = Dead Battery

If your engine is just clicking when you try to start it, a dead battery is the obvious assumption, right? Not necessarily – that clicking noise doesn’t automatically confirm your battery is depleted.

That cranking clicking could actually be caused by a few different potential issues – a battery with extremely low charge, poor cable connections, a failing alternator, or even mechanical problems in some cases.

Instead of jumping to conclusions, put a multimeter on the battery terminals first. If it’s reading 12.6V or higher, chances are good the battery itself may not be the culprit. Tracing the clicking to the actual root cause is key before wasting money on a new battery you may not need.

 

The Truth Sets You Free

Debunking these common battery misconceptions is so important because operating based on inaccurate information can potentially hurt the lifespan and performance you’re getting from your vehicle’s battery. Proper care and maintenance is crucial, but many owners are inadvertently neglecting or even worsening their battery’s condition.

Having pragmatic, fact-based knowledge on topics like charging best practices, temperature impacts, parasitic drains, corrosion causes, and warning signs allows you to get the absolute maximum life out of each car battery you buy.

Don’t fall for outdated myths or make assumptions – take the time to understand the truth behind battery operations and characteristics. With the real facts on your side, you’ll save money, keep your battery (and vehicle) in tip-top shape, and never get unexpectedly stranded by a preventable battery failure again. Also, get your battery accessories from top brands like Daewoo Electronics.

 

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