Battery Maintenance Tips From The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley
Aug 16, 2017
When it comes to your vehicle, it all starts with the battery. Proper battery maintenance is important for two reasons:
First, your vehicle won't start or run without it. Second, it is the key to the long life of your auto electrical system. If your battery isn't working efficiently, your alternator has to work overtime to make up for it, and other electrical components can suffer as well.
A number of years ago sealed batteries were introduced to the local Lancaster, California, market. They were hailed as being 'maintenance-free batteries.' While it is true that you can't get in and adjust the electrolyte levels of a sealed battery, it is by no means maintenance free.
Batteries are very sensitive to changes in the weather around California. Temperature really affects auto battery performance. A battery inspection is an important part of your spring and fall checkups. Next time you're under your hood, take a look at your battery.
Is it clean and free of residue? A dirty battery will drain.
Is there corrosion at the terminals where the battery cables attach to the battery? If there is, the corrosion can interfere with how efficiently electricity passes back and forth from the battery.
Are the cables loose? Make sure they are tight.
Are the cables themselves corroded? Corrosion can actually eat through the battery cables.
The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley service advisors can inspect and test your battery. If the inspection warrants a cleaning, have it done. If the battery test indicates that replacement of the battery or cables is in order, you will be lucky to have caught the problem before it becomes a major inconvenience.
Your battery will also last longer if you keep your fuel system and ignition system clean. It's all part of your commitment to regular maintenance, to keep your vehicle running on Lancaster streets at its best for a long, long time.
The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley Alternator Replacement Service in Lancaster
Feb 28, 2017
Your vehicle alternator doesn't get enough credit. Though your battery gets your engine started, after that – it's all about the alternator.
Driving around Lancaster is a lot of work for your alternator, and as upgrades such as heated steering wheels, cooled seats, stability control and lane departure warning become more common, it will have to work even harder. Eventually this workhorse just wears out. When it does you have no choice but to order an alternator replacement because your vehicle won't run without one.
Come see your friendly and professional service advisor at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley to learn more.
Automotive Tips from The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley: Making a Battery Last Longer
Nov 21, 2016
One thing all Lancaster drivers can do to extend the life of their battery is to keep it clean. A greasy, dirty battery holds in damaging heat. Same goes for removing corrosion from the terminals. The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley can help maintain your battery.
Allowing your battery to be deeply depleted – like from using your headlights when the engine is off – is very harmful to your battery. Most automotive batteries can only take that about 10 times before they are ruined.
Also, making sure you have a full charge every month or so extends battery life. Either an extended drive at freeway speeds around the Lancaster are or using a battery charger will preserve your battery’s ability to hold a full charge.
Need a New Battery? Call The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley Today
Jul 12, 2016
Hello Lancaster drivers! Need a new battery? There is a good chance that you do – 70% of batteries need to be replaced within four years. As your battery discharges and then recharges as you drive around Lancaster, bits of the surface of the battery plates disintegrate. As this process continues over a few years, the alternator has to work harder to supplement the battery charge. Over time, enough of the battery is damaged that it can no longer hold a charge and it needs to be replaced. This also speeds up wear on the alternator.
Your The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley service advisor can help you determine the right vehicle replacement battery for the way you drive around Lancaster, as well as the California climate and durability needs.
Contact The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley for information on battery replacement.
Automotive Tips from The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley: Battery Testing
Feb 23, 2016
The simple fact is that 70% of car batteries fail within 4 years. They just need to be replaced at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley when they are no longer able to hold a full charge.
Batteries are a big ticket item for most Lancaster drivers and it’s tempting to put off buying a new one as long as possible. But a battery that cannot hold a full charge requires the alternator to work extra hard, causing it to wear out prematurely.
Your The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley service advisor can test your battery to see if it should be replaced. Testing is a good idea for California drivers because a battery might still be good, but become dead because of a bad alternator or even a worn serpentine belt and tensioner.
Hello Lancaster drivers, let's talk about batteries. Car batteries are just like any rechargeable battery. They will eventually wear out and die. If you are shopping for a new battery in Lancaster, here's some auto advice to help you.
There are two measurements to consider when purchasing a new battery: cold cranking amps and reserve capacity. The power required to start a cold engine is measured in cold cranking amps. The number you need is determined by what kind of vehicle you drive and where you live. In general, higher-cylinder engines require more cold cranking amps than lower-cylinder engines. In other words, an eight-cylinder engine needs more cold cranking amps than a six-cylinder one. Also, diesel engines require more cold cranking amps than gasoline engines.
The weather where you live in California also determines the number of cold cranking amps you need. The colder the vehicle engine, the more power it takes to get it started. Also, cold California weather reduces the electrical efficiency of the battery, which reduces the amount of energy available in the battery to start the engine. Thus, in freezing temperatures, you need more power to start an engine, but you have less power available to get it started.
Your friendly and knowledgeable service advisor at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley in Lancaster can help you choose an appropriate battery for your vehicle and your lifestyle. If you need extra power owing to cold weather or a need for more reserve capacity, you may want to choose a heavy-duty battery. Just make sure it fits into your vehicle. An oversized battery may give you the power you need, but it's a serious safety hazard if the terminals come into contact with other parts of the vehicle.
Keep in mind that preventive maintenance performed at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley and good vehicle care can extend the life of your battery. Judicious use of electric gadgets and good driving habits are wise and can help you get the most out of your battery.
It's important for Lancaster drivers to know battery basics. First, let's talk about which is harder on a battery – hot or cold California weather. Most Lancaster area drivers think it's cold weather because that's when we call on our batteries to have enough power to start a cold vehicle engine.
However, heat does more damage to a battery than cold. Truth is, our batteries start to die a little from day one. Keeping a full charge slows the process, which is hard with short Lancaster trips because the alternator doesn't have time to fully recharge the battery from starting the engine. Lancaster drivers can top off the charge with a computer controlled battery charger – say, once a month in the summer and every three months during the winter.
As far as how long a battery will last, statistics show that 70% have given up the ghost within four years. By that time, they aren't capable of taking a full charge like they used to, and your vehicle alternator has to work overtime to keep up. This causes your alternator to wear out early.
If you're pushing 4 to 5 years on your battery, see your friendly and knowledgeable The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley service assistant for a battery test to see if it's recommended to replace it. Not only can you avoid getting stranded with a dead battery on a California road, but you'll save unnecessary wear and tear on your vehicle alternator.
Here's an interesting statistic for our in Lancaster, California, drivers: Only 30 percent of car batteries make it to 48 months. And the life expectancy varies by where you live. It ranges from 51 months in extremely cold areas to just 30 months in extremely hot climates.
Why is that? It turns out that it's our modern cars with all their electric accessories that are to blame. Things like, GPS, DVDs and entertainment computers are keeping vehicle batteries from maintaining a full charge. The longer a battery goes with a low charge, the sooner it'll die.
It's clear that you Lancaster drivers need to recharge your batteries. This is the job of the alternator. The problem comes when the car's demand for electricity is high and we are driving in stop and go conditions or short trips around Lancaster. The alternator just can't keep up.
The result is shortened battery life. So what can we do to improve our battery's health?
We need to keep the battery as close to a full charge as possible. That can be hard because sitting for just 24 hours in hot weather between charges can be too long. When the weather's cold in Lancaster, sitting for several days will cause discharge.
So some highway driving around California will help keep a full charge if the battery has not been deeply depleted. Car batteries are not designed to be run down really low, or deep cycled, as it's called. So using your headlights or other power accessories when the car is off can deeply deplete your battery. Using the alternator to recharge from a deeply depleted state is also very dangerous to your battery because it charges too fast. In fact, on average, your battery would only last for ten recharges like that.
If you do find yourself with a dead battery or very low battery, use a good quality battery charger to slowly bring the battery up to full charge. Follow the instructions on the charger or talk to your friendly and knowledgeable service advisor at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley .
Battery Replacement at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley in Lancaster
Mar 19, 2013
Hello, welcome to The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley. Today's focus is batteries. It seems like everything in Lancaster runs on batteries. Of course, the batteries we're most concerned with here at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley are those in our customer's vehicles. Just like the batteries in our smoke detectors or TV remote, they wear out and need to be replaced . This can be thought of as the power output used to start a cold vehicle engine. The number of cold cranking amps you need depends on your vehicle and where you live in California, specifically how cold it is. (Many Lancaster drivers have first-hand experience trying to start their car on a cold winter morning.) The two factors are that the colder your vehicle's engine is, the more power it takes to turn the engine over to get it started. It has all that cold, sluggish oil to contend with.
The other factor is that the chemical reaction in the battery that creates electrical energy is less efficient when the temperature dips. Let's say it's 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees C) in Lancaster. At that temperature, 100% of the battery's power is available. At freezing, only 65% of battery power is available, but it requires 155% as much power to start the engine as it did at 80 degrees F (27 degrees C).
As you can see, the colder it gets, more power is needed, but the available power drops.
So if you live where it's cold in California, you need a battery with more cold cranking amps than you do where it's moderate or hot. The battery that originally came with your vehicle was based on averages. At The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley, we like to remind Lancaster drivers that they should always get at least as many cold cranking amps as their vehicle manufacturer recommends but may want to upgrade if they live where it gets real cold.
Today's report from The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley is on vehicle batteries, why they die and what we can do to lengthen their life. Most of us have had a dead battery at one time or another. In fact, it would be very unusual if you hadn't. You may be surprised to learn that only 30 percent of Lancaster vehicle batteries last for 48 months.
Now that's an average. How long a battery lasts depends on many factors. You may not know that one of the biggest factors is the temperature where you live and drive around in California. You might suppose that cold weather was harder on batteries because it takes more power to crank a cold engine, but the opposite is actually true.
For more information on your battery, please visit us: The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley 226 West Avenue I Lancaster, California 93534 661-949-8484
Batteries in very cold climates have a life expectancy of 51 months as opposed to 30 months in very warm climates. The reason is simple: batteries are chemically more active when they're hot than when they're cold.
A vehicle battery will actually start to discharge on its own within 24 hours in hot weather. It takes several days in cold weather. When batteries are left too long in a state of partial discharge, the discharged portion of the battery plates — for the lack of a better word — 'die.' Recharging the battery will not restore the dead part of the battery plate.
One of the big problems for the way most of us drive in the Lancaster area is that our batteries are often partially discharged. The biggest job the battery does is to start the vehicle. It takes some time for the alternator to recharge the battery after starting. If you're driving short distances, especially if there are several starts and stops, your battery may not fully recharge.
Another issue is that vehicles are coming equipped with more and more electricity-hungry accessories like navigation systems, DVD players, CD and MP3 players, heated seats, heated steering wheels and so on. And we often plug in cell phones, computers and other gadgets. Combine that with short trips and it's no wonder that our batteries are partially discharged.
Experts say we can extend our battery life by topping off the charge periodically using a good quality battery charger. You may have heard these chargers referred to as 'trickle chargers.' They're attached to the battery and plugged into a wall outlet to slowly bring the battery up to full charge.
Now, there's some science involved with how fast a battery should be recharged. If you buy a cheap manual charger, you'll have to tend it. Frankly there is a learning curve on how to do it right and it requires much attention. A computer controlled charger – or smart charger – monitors the process and determines the appropriate rate of charge. And it even stops charging when it's fully charged. It costs more than the manual charger, but the automatic model is worth it.
The suggestion is to charge once a month in warm weather and once every three months in cold weather.
Another thing to avoid is deeply discharging your battery, something like running the headlights and stereo with the engine turned off. That'll take months off the battery life every time you do it.
Now, as we discussed, heat is hard on a battery. A dirty, greasy battery holds more heat. You can wipe off excess dirt with a paper towel or ask your service advisor at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley to clean it for you. We can even test your battery and tell you if it's time to replace it.
Batteries are fairly expensive, so taking a few steps to make them last longer is well worth it. Of course, the battery will eventually need to be replaced. Always make sure you get a new battery that meets the factory specifications for your vehicle. If you feel you need more battery capacity than what came with your vehicle, talk with your service advisor at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley about appropriate upgrades.
If you have a dead battery, be careful to inspect it before you jump start it. If the case is bulging, cracked or leaking, do not jump start it. Damaged batteries can explode or catch fire. And deeply discharged batteries can freeze. Do not jump start a frozen battery.