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Old 17th July 2013, 12:26   #1
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Default Car Battery: Dos and Don'ts!

Mods: I didnt see any thread which rightly summarizes the good habits related to a car battery maintenance so starting a new thread
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The battery is an integral part of any car engine. The new age car engines and sensors rely heavily on the car battery. When I was a kid my dad had an Ambassador and later on a Premier Padmini, popularly known as FIAT amongst the masses at that time. The cars of that generation had dynamo instead of the alternator equipped modern cars, for the dynamo to successfully charge the battery one needed a minimum RPM to be maintained, which effectively meant that the car battery would be charged well only on long drives.

As a result of all these limitations my dad taught me some battery conservation habits, which I found very beneficial in modern day cars as well, sharing a few here and looking forward to get a lot of new tips and tricks from the fellow BHPians


- Always switch off the headlights and then switch off the engine

- Start the engine and then switch on the headlights, so that the headlights directly go on the alternator

- I never operate the poer windows if the engine is not running, the motors of the power windows suck decent power

- the 12V charging socket, always disconnect the charger / phone from the socket if the engine is not running

- Use the car engine self to the minimum. The car self is the single biggest power hogger, if one needs to halt for small duration, do not switch off the engine, this way you will end up saving a self application as well as fuel, as the fuel consumed during start up of engine is more

- take your car out for a stroll (1-2 hour drive) once in about 2 months, where the speed is relatively higher and constant, preferably on a highway, benefits: get the love connection between you, your car and your wife back, additional brownie points, the car battery getting charged!

- Always use the certified electrical accessories in your car

- Use the in cabin light to the minimum when the engine is not running

- I never play the stereo if the engine is not running

- Get your battery checked at every service interval
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Old 17th July 2013, 14:05   #2
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Default re: Car Battery: Dos and Don'ts!

Good points, in short, you need to cut down on everything that draw battery power when the engine is not up. You may include this in the list too:

1. Check the electrolyte level regularly, more frequently in the summers. Water is lost during charging cycles. Of course, does not applies for 'sealed for life' batteries.

2. Never add acid to the battery. Just distilled water.

3. Never keep the battery in discharged state for long. It results in formation of lead sulfate compounds on the plates, known as sulfation which can result in a battery failure/ reduced performance.

4. If you see any formation of compounds in the battery terminals, clean them thoroughly. Not only they result in bad contacts, but they also eat up the terminal metals at alarming rates.

5. Keep the battery bay clean. Often, the small quantities of water (esp while topping up), leakages, other drains from the battery get trapped in the battery bay and corrodes it.

6. Once in a while, check the terminal wires. Some strands failing/ coming out mean more load on the remaining strands, which can result in a blow out, oeverheating and even worse: a fire!.

This much comes to my mind at the moment.


Quote:
Originally Posted by evilshantanu View Post

The battery is an integral part of any car engine. The new age car engines and sensors rely heavily on the car battery.
Not really the sensors rely on the battery too much. Once the engine is fired up, it produces sufficient juice for them to operate and even to charge the battery.

Regards,
Saket
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Old 17th July 2013, 14:35   #3
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Default re: Car Battery: Dos and Don'ts!

Keep the terminal connections tight, it really matters in amount of current flow during starting. Apply sone white petroleum jelly to the terminals.

Power windows consume a lot of amperes.

Use horn sparingly, anyway honking is not good.

Ensure that battery bay, bracket and screws are tight.

Use relays. Avoid connecting devices directly to the battery.

Keep the terminals connected with a rubber bung to prevent accidental short circuit.

Do not smoke near the battery terminals, Oxygen is emitted near the anode,

After driving 40 to 50 Km a battery is fully charged.
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Old 17th July 2013, 18:03   #4
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Default re: Car Battery: Dos and Don'ts!

More:

1. Never "test" a battery by shorting the terminals. This is bad for the battery as well as risky- it is in fact possible to make a weld with that level of current. Always use a voltmeter or use a low-wattage bulb.

2. Avoid leaving your key in "ignition on" position for too long (ie without engine running). It consumes more power.

3. Use the handbrake when waiting at traffic lights rather than keeping your foot on the brake pedal. This has a fourfold advantage of a. Reducing power consumed by brake lights.
b. Reducing foot fatigue. c. In case of getting rear-ended the car is less likely to move forward. d. Longer life for brake lamps.

4. Idle for a minute after parking and raising power windows.

5. Switch to parking lamps from headlights while parking if external lighting is sufficient.
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Old 17th July 2013, 18:17   #5
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Default re: Car Battery: Dos and Don'ts!

Quote:
Originally Posted by RM2488 View Post
More:


2. Avoid leaving your key in "ignition on" position for too long (ie without engine running). It consumes more power.
That also uselessly heats up the ignition coil.


Quote:
Originally Posted by RM2488 View Post
c. In case of getting rear-ended the car is less likely to move forward.
In fact, it is preferred to move forward in case of being rear-ended, of course, provided that you do not have traffic right in front of you. It leads to less damage since the forward movement provides some cushioning to you. However, agree with your point that one should use handbrakes when the vehicle is stationery. This also keeps you from rolling backwards (and hitting the car behind you ) before starting off.

Regards,
Saket
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Old 17th July 2013, 18:23   #6
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Default re: Car Battery: Dos and Don'ts!

If you want to disconnect the battery, disconnect the -Ve terminal first.

All devices are already grounded to chassis, hence they are safe. But if you disconnect from +ve first, then there are chances of damage to electrical / electronic components.
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Old 17th July 2013, 18:34   #7
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Default re: Car Battery: Dos and Don'ts!

Quote:
Originally Posted by saket77 View Post
In fact, it is preferred to move forward in case of being rear-ended, of course, provided that you do not have traffic right in front of you. It leads to less damage since the forward movement provides some cushioning to you. However, agree with your point that one should use handbrakes when the vehicle is stationery. This also keeps you from rolling backwards (and hitting the car behind you ) before starting off.

Regards,
Saket
I suppose it is more situational- I'd prefer to crash into the stationary car in front of me than be in the car that gets pushed into traffic moving across the intersection. But with the way people cross the road between cars, I'd pick my car taking the brunt than some pedestrian getting sandwiched.

Getting rear ended at traffic lights is usually at low speeds and proper use of seat belts is usually enough to prevent injuries. The risk drops with the handbrake because you won't take your foot off the brake by getting startled. Rolling backward is simple incompetence and is more geared towards people learning to drive. But now we're going
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Old 17th July 2013, 20:08   #8
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Default re: Car Battery: Dos and Don'ts!

Quote:
Originally Posted by evilshantanu View Post
As a result of all these limitations my dad taught me some battery conservation habits, which I found very beneficial in modern day cars as well, sharing a few here and looking forward to get a lot of new tips and tricks from the fellow BHPians
These are very useful tips for a old car and old batteries on new gen cars. But i dont think you have to be this much stingy for new or fairly well maintained battery on new gen cars. I use my stereo, blinkers, parking or map lights while parked, never had any problems. Using these isn't going to cause any problems to the battery, but using it longer will get you stranded with a dead battery.
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Old 17th July 2013, 20:44   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RIC.BURNS View Post

These are very useful tips for a old car and old batteries on new gen cars. But i dont think you have to be this much stingy for new or fairly well maintained battery on new gen cars. I use my stereo, blinkers, parking or map lights while parked, never had any problems. Using these isn't going to cause any problems to the battery, but using it longer will get you stranded with a dead battery.
The battery on my swift lasted for 4.5 years.
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Old 17th July 2013, 21:44   #10
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Default re: Car Battery: Dos and Don'ts!

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The battery on my swift lasted for 4.5 years.
I had mine at 3.5y or something and modern batteries do last long. So i would say continue to utilize your battery rather than worrying about these little things.
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Old 17th July 2013, 22:06   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RIC.BURNS View Post
I had mine at 3.5y or something and modern batteries do last long. So i would say continue to utilize your battery rather than worrying about these little things.
Not worrying, conservation id's more of a habit now
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Old 17th July 2013, 22:43   #12
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Default re: Car Battery: Dos and Don'ts!

My Amaron vendor says the battery doesnt need any regular checkups. Is it correct? Its a Amaron Flo with 48 months warranty.
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Old 18th July 2013, 09:39   #13
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Default re: Car Battery: Dos and Don'ts!

My 2 cents:

Coat the terminals using plain old Vaseline...no fancy Wurth battery sealant and stuff is required

BATTERY warranty is a tricky thing: It wont apply when you need it. It is applicable ONLY if you get it periodically checked and the card stamped by the authorised battery center. This is something that we conveniently forget. And there is no such thing as a "low maintenance battery". Its either maintenance free, sealed, or, as in FIAT for e.g. I need to top it up, once in 6 months.

Anyone remembers the old battery ad : "EX-Idea"
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Old 18th July 2013, 09:50   #14
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Same Amaron guy coats the battery terminals with a spray substance, says it is better and longer lasting than grease or vaseline.
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Old 18th July 2013, 10:28   #15
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Default re: Car Battery: Dos and Don'ts!

In the event of your car remaining unused for say 1 month, do you disconnect the battery or should you remove it altogether (and store it outside the car)? Also, how to prevent battery leaks or paint discolourations due to battery leaks or fumes.

I had left my beloved RX100 with battery in situ,all packed up, covered for about 1 year and returned to find that the battery fumes had discoloured the plastic side panels & i had some rust points on the bike frame. This despite the fact that i had placed the battery in an unsealed plastic pouch with the drain line open and connected to the long plastic downtube.
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