Explained: All About Car Batteries

Car Batteries

You may see your car battery as a mysterious part that helps start your vehicle and needs to be changed every few years. However, there is more to your car battery than you may understand. Therefore, these are some things you should know.

How Vehicle Batteries Work

You probably know that your battery provides electrical energy to your vehicle. However, do you know how? Batteries are made up of chemicals, and when you turn your key, the battery produces a chemical reaction. It then produces electrical energy from this reaction and its chemical energy. This energy runs through your alternator and starter to start your vehicle.

Your battery’s job is not done after your car starts, however. It also stabilizes the electricity that runs through your engine, which keeps your car running properly.

The Importance of Battery Sizes

Every car has a specific battery size. In addition, batteries have different orientations. The type, size and orientation of your battery depend on your vehicle’s engine, powered accessories and battery compartment. For example, compact cars tend to have much smaller batteries than large trucks.

Some vehicles have expanded battery compatibility, so they can take different batteries. However, most require a single size, and your vehicle’s manual should have your specifications.

You may be looking for car battery size numbers explained. The coding on the battery may change based on where the battery was produced. American batteries have two-digit codes that match the pole orientation. Then, the battery’s performance follows with a three-digit number.

Most batteries have cranking amps (CA), cold cranking amps (CCA) and reserve capacity (RC). These determine how many seconds a fully charged (CA) or cold (CCA) battery takes to turn over the engine. RC identifies how many minutes your battery will last at 25 amps and 80 degrees.

Disposing of Old Batteries

Car batteries are made of toxic lead and acid, so they need to be disposed of properly. A battery for 2009 Nissan Altima will typically last three to five years. They can be checked for their remaining charge at your local auto parts store or mechanic’s shop.

The good news is that you will likely be paid to recycle your batteries. Although batteries are not dangerous if they are sealed in their cases, they become dangerous when they sit in landfills. However, wear gloves when you pull your battery. Store it in a plastic bag as you take it to your local disposal site.

The good news is that some auto parts stores and mechanics will recycle your battery for you. You may even get a gift card or other discount for dropping it off.

Signs That You Should Replace Your Battery

Have your battery inspected if your engine cranks slowly or your check engine light is on. You should also regularly check your fluid level, which can be seen from the translucent casing to see if the lead plates are positioned above the fluid. Watch for bloating in your battery case or a sulfur smell.

If you have an electric vehicle, your battery may not be bad but need a good charge. Therefore, you may look for an EV charger near me to see if that helps.

Now that you know about your car battery, you can anticipate and prepare for your next battery investment.

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