Your battery’s main job is to start the car, and your mechanic says your battery’s ability to do that is down to half.
Cranking Amps (CA) determine whether your battery has enough power to rotate the crankshaft – in other words, crank the engine – and activate the ignition until the engine starts. Your battery needs more power to start when it’s cold outside, and your battery’s ability to start your car in cold weather (which isn’t usually a problem in Caloundra) is measured in Cold Cranking Amps (CCA).
If the tests are right, your battery should already be struggling to start your vehicle, he says.
Batteries don’t have a best before date, but they generally last 5 to 7 years in vehicles that are driven regularly, Corbett says.
“I’ve seen them last that long or longer – but usually in vehicles doing at least 30 to 40 km a week of highway driving,” he says.
A battery’s life can vary depending on how often you drive and how long you drive for. How do you know if yours needs changing? Get it tested during regular maintenance.
“Batteries have to be tested to see how much life is left,” Corbett says.
Corbett is surprised your battery has lasted as long as it has since your Escape spends so much time parked.
Starting the car takes a huge jolt of power. The alternator is supposed to restore that power and recharge the battery as you drive.
If a vehicle, like yours, is rarely used and is only taken on short trips, the battery never has a chance to recover the juice it takes to start the engine.
Accessories and computers can drain the battery further while the vehicle is parked.
If that charge is never fully restored, the sulphuric acid in the battery will settle into two layers – with water on top and acid on the bottom. The lead plates inside the battery will corrode faster than they should and the battery will die.
One way to extend the life of a battery in a vehicle that’s often parked is to install a smart charger and keep it plugged in.
Mechanical preventative maintenance is the most effective way to decrease your repair bill. This includes managing repairs and monitoring service reports to ensure you can budget for up and coming work to be done.
At Straight Auto Care, we understand the value of honesty and pride ourselves on providing a local affordable mechanical service to both private and commercial customers.