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8 Common Reasons Why Car Batteries Fail

The car battery is the source of electrical energy that powers all electrical systems in the car. Just like all electrical gadgets, the car battery is bound to fail due to several reasons. Battery failure is by so far the number one cause of car breakdowns all over the world. But what actually makes the car battery fail? What factors pre-dispose car battery to failure? How can we avoid these situations? The article below discusses the reasons as to why car batteries fail.

  1. Old Battery Age

Battery aging is the gradual deterioration of battery performance due to unwanted chemical reactions and changes to active chemicals. Battery aging is an irreversible process and eventually results to battery failure.

As the battery ages, there is a build-up of a resistive layer which covers the electrodes and impedes chemical action of the cell. This process, known as passivation, gradually blocks the surfaces of the electrodes leading to cell failure.

  1. Battery Discharging

A car battery needs to be charged every now and then. However, a car battery recharges itself automatically when the engine runs. If a car remains inactive for a long period, the battery tends to discharge itself leading to battery failure. Starting your car regularly can help keep the battery in a good condition.

  1. Poor Quality Car Battery

This cause of failure has increased tremendously in the recent past. Due to increased diplomacy in the marketplace, defective and poor quality batteries find their way to the customer. Cheap quality battery might run well in the first few weeks, but will fail within a short period of time.

To avoid becoming a victim of poor quality and defective batteries, always ensure that you purchase batteries from reputable companies and ensure that they are genuine.

  1. Hot/Cold Weather Conditions

Car Battery OverheatingCar batteries tend to be affected by weather, their performance may vary from one weather condition to the other. Car batteries are prone to fail in extremely cold weather; this is why it is crucial to maintain your battery regularly during winter and cold weather.

Extremely hot weather could also cause battery failure. High temperatures cause humid conditions and also cause the fluid in batteries to vaporize eventually leading to battery failure.

  1. Battery Mishandling

Battery mishandling or abuse is the physical abuse of the battery since manufacture to the time of usage by the end customer. Battery abuse may include crushing, dropping, intense vibration, contact with fire, immersion in fluids among others. The abuse causes damage to cells reducing the life of the battery and failure.

  1. Acid Stratification

This cause of battery failure is rare in common cars but common in luxury cars. The electrolyte concentrates at the bottom leaving the upper half of the cell with poor quality acid. Acid stratification is more likely to occur if the battery charge is low. Generally, acid stratification reduces battery performance but can cause battery failure if not rectified.

  1. Cell Failure

The cell is the basic functional unit of a battery, if the cells fail, battery failure is imminent. Car battery sells may fail due to several causes. The most common cause is the exhaustion of active chemicals. When active chemicals in secondary cells get exhausted, the battery can no longer generate energy leading to failure.

Change in the physical structure of the electrodes may also damage the cells. In lithium cells, low temperatures cause deposition of lithium metal on the anode. This phenomenon known as electrode plating causes irreversible capacity loss and short circuiting of cells.

  1. Water Loss And Sulfation

Sulfation is the process by which battery plates get coated by lead sulfate. The lead sulfate impedes current flow causing battery failure. When the battery is being used, the water in the electrolyte is split into its constituent molecules-oxygen and hydrogen. Oxygen and hydrogen being gas, escape and eventually the battery dries out.

This problem can lead to battery failure if water is not added to the battery. Early stages of water loss are hard to detect, and eventually the battery capacity drops.

The car battery is the heart of the electrical system of your vehicle. Without it, the car won’t start. The condition of the battery also determines the performance of the car. It is therefore important to maintain the battery accordingly. Poor maintenance of the battery shortens battery life and causes it to fail early. However, with proper maintenance, the battery can serve you for a long period of time.

For a new car battery replacement and installation, simply call Sydney Batteries. We’ll provide you with a quality car battery that is completely maintenance-free and even backed by a 3-year warranty. You simply can’t lose! Call us on 1300 931 283 today or contact us through our sidebar contact form and we’ll be in touch with you in no time.


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