FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How does a car battery work?
Your battery does what it does best when it is sitting idly under your hood. It stores chemical energy when it has nothing else to do and waits to release it as electricity when you need it. When the car ignition is switched ON, a sequence of reactions starts inside the battery, which results in electricity. This is what allows the engine to crank. To maintain this sequence, a device called the alternator keeps generating the electrons as well as storing the ones it can.
How long should a car battery last?
The life expectancy for your car battery is typically a few years. However, several factors determine how long your battery will last, for example, weather conditions, vehicle type, and driving habits. There are, however, several key pointers you can utilise to help increase the life expectancy of your car battery.
What are the main causes of battery failure?
Common causes of car battery failure include:
1. High temperatures: Heat is the number 1 cause of battery failure.
2. High vibration: Vibration can damage and separate internal components, which ultimately lead to reduced starting performance or even battery failure.
3. Deep drains/failure to recharge after drops in voltage: When a battery is discharged, the active materials produce lead sulphate crystals inside the plate that are called discharged material. If these crystals are not recharged, they eventually combine to form larger crystals. These bigger crystals are harder to dissolve and recharge, and eventually, they lead to battery failure by disrupting the plate structure.
4. A faulty alternator will lead to an undercharged or completely discharged battery. An undercharged battery has reduced capacity and starting power. If the battery is continuously undercharged because of a weak alternator, the battery will become deeply discharged, and sulphating will occur.
What kind of preventative maintenance can I do for my battery?
2. Secure the hold-down bar. This ensures that your battery is snugly seated and will help minimize vibration which can be detrimental to certain types of batteries.
3. Routinely test your battery to makes sure it’s correctly charged. This allows you to recharge your battery, if needed, to maintain its peak performance. It’s important for your battery’s health to get it tested at least once a year to keep it at its optimal performance.
4. Be sure to read and follow all safety and handling instructions on the battery.
How do I install a new battery?
It’s not hard at all.
Check out our video on how to remove and fit a battery
How do I charge a lead-acid battery?
To charge an automotive battery, refer to your owner’s manual and your battery charger manual for instructions. Read and follow all safety and handling instructions that came with your charger and battery. Battery chargers will charge a battery based on its condition and at a rate appropriate for its state of charge. Charging voltages run from 13.8 volts to a maximum of 15.5 volts for most applications. Finally, remember that batteries contain sulphuric acid that can cause severe burns and hydrogen-oxygen gases that can be explosive. Charge in a well-ventilated area. Be sure to follow all safety and handling precautions.
You can view a video on how to charge a battery here:
When should a car battery be replaced?
The following are the most common warning signals that can indicate a problem with your battery or charging system:
1. A slow starting engine – Over time, the components inside your battery will wear out and become less effective. When this happens, it takes the battery longer to create a charge for the starter and you’ll have to wait a few seconds for the engine to turn over. A slow start is usually the last gasp before a battery kicks the bucket.
2. Dim lights and electrical issues – The battery powers all of the electronics in your vehicle, from your lights to your radio to your dashboard computer. If the battery is losing its charge it will have a harder time running these things at full power. The more things you plug into your car while driving – like your phone charger the faster your battery will die.
3. The ‘check engine’ light is on – In most vehicles, the check engine light can mean just about anything and it may come on when your battery is running out of juice. Check your manual and get your battery tested by a professional to see if it’s working at full capacity. If not, you should get it replaced.
4. A bad smell – Damage to the battery or an internal short can cause the battery to leak gas. If you smell rotten eggs when you open the hood, a leaking battery may be the culprit. Take it in to get checked out ASAP and replace the battery if necessary.
5. Corroded connectors – Notice a white, ashy substance on the metal parts of your battery? You’ve got a corrosion issue. Corroded terminals – the positive and negative connections on the top of the battery – can lead to voltage issues and trouble starting your vehicle.
6. An old battery – In ideal conditions, car batteries typically last a few years. Climate, electronic demands and driving habits all play a role in the lifespan of your battery.
How do I extend my car battery’s life?
Car batteries have a shelf life meaning at one point, whether you use them or not, you will need to replace them. There are some helpful tips to keep your battery in tip-top shape by using these simple tricks:
• Ensure that your battery is kept clean and dry. Poor battery connections and dirty batteries can affect the performance of the battery and a dirty battery casing can lead to discharge.
• Switch off unnecessary electronic equipment while the vehicle is standing to avoid unnecessary discharge of the battery.
• Invest in a car battery charger that will maintain the ideal charge level when your car is not going to be used for an extended amount of time.
• If you need to jumpstart your car, be sure to consult the vehicle’s owner manual on how best to jumpstart your specific make and model.
What should I consider when buying a battery?
There are several factors you should consider when looking to buy a quality car battery. If you are unsure of the requirements in any of these areas, check your vehicle owner’s manual or ask a professional about the original equipment manufacturer’s (OEM) recommendations for:
1. Technology type
2. Battery group size
3. Cold-cranking amps (CCA)
4. Reserve capacity(RC)
Find the right battery for your vehicle with our Battery Replacement Guide: Click Here
Can a battery explode?
Yes, a battery can indeed explode. When working with or near a battery, or jump starting a vehicle, always:
1. Wear safety goggles or glasses
2. Keep as much distance as possible from the battery
3. Shield and protect eyes and face from the battery
4. Remember to read the warning labels on the battery
5. Do not smoke or cause any flames or sparks near the battery
6. When jump starting a vehicle, read your vehicle’s owner instruction manual beforehand
7. If you should get acid on your skin or in your eyes, flush with water immediately and seek attention medical attention
How should I store my battery?
If storing your vehicle or battery for an extended period, aim to keep the battery charged at full capacity throughout the storage period. You can do this by using a battery maintenance charger – a device that will monitor your battery and keep it at full capacity during storage. If it is not possible to use a maintenance charger, you should fully charge the battery prior to storage and then disconnect it from the vehicle to prevent small electrical drains (such as in-car clocks, security systems, etc.) from draining it. Check the battery voltage periodically and recharge it if it falls below 12.6 volts.
Will letting my vehicle idle charge my battery?
Idling or frequently making short stop-and-go trips will not recharge the battery effectively. It is recommended to take a longer drive in order to recharge the battery.
Should I add water to my battery?
Our batteries do not require any water as they are sealed and maintenance free batteries i.e. they don’t require water top ups.
How do I use jumper cables?
Have a look at this handy video to see how to go about using jumper cables – Watch Video
I want to recycle my battery? How can I do this safely?
You can definitely recycle your lead-acid battery and we encourage you to do so that your car
battery can be recycled responsibly. Check out how to recycle your Willard battery.
What are the signs of a car battery starting to fail?
• You hear grinding or a clicking sound when you turn the ignition.
• The engine does not swing at all when you turn the ignition.
• Your vehicle cranks slowly when attempting to start.
• Your headlights dim when idling but brighten when you rev your engine.
How much does a car battery cost?
For more pricing information on our batteries, you can visit any of our battery retailers and stockists.
What is the car battery charging voltage? What voltage is required to charge it?
For optimum performance, the charging voltage for charging a car battery is between 13, 8 volts and 14, 4 volts.
Anything below 13, 8 volts is under charging the battery. This could be because of a faulty alternator.
Above 14.3 volts, the battery is overcharging. This can be a result of a faulty alternator regulator.
What safety precautions do I have to take while handling a battery?
• Batteries must be stored in a dry, cool, and well-ventilated area.
• Batteries should be kept in an upright position.
• Store batteries away from any external heat source.
• Eyes should be protected with a face shield or safety goggles.
• Clothes should be protected with an apron or acid-resistant polyester clothing.
• No smoking, no open flames, no sparks
• Safety gloves should be worn when removing, installing or handling batteries.
• When acid is splashed in eyes or on skin, flush immediately with water and seek medical assistance immediately.
• Always charge a battery in a well-ventilated area.
• Before using conductive tools on a battery, remove metallic personal adornments from the hands and wrists e.g. watches, bracelets and rings.
• Spillage: small spillages can be dealt with by rinsing away with plenty of water. Acid can be neutralised by using Bicarbonate of Soda mixed with water (10 grams Bicarb to 1 litre of water).
How do you measure a battery’s performance?
The battery’s performance is measured with a conductive tester. The tester will send a signal through the battery and measure the AC response. The conductive tester will measure the State of Charge (SOC) and the State of Health (SOH) of the battery.
What is the difference between a car battery and a deep cycle battery?
A car battery is an SLI battery, which stands for Start, Light and Ignite and speaks to the battery’s main function, to start a vehicle and supply the vehicles consumers e.g. head lights, radio etc. It is designed to provide a large amount of current for a short period of time.
As opposed to a car battery, a deep cycle battery is designed to be charged and discharged over and over again for a specific period of time. If a car battery had to be used in this way, it would ultimately reduce the battery’s lifespan quickly and eventually fail.
How can I get maximum life out of my car battery?
Here are some tips to increase the life of your car battery:
1. Make sure the two terminals of the battery are tightly fastened:
• The positive and negative terminals need to be tightly fastened to ensure better connectivity.
• A loose connection can lead to less power delivery as well as may cause a short circuit.
• Make sure that the battery is snuggly sitting in its resting position and there are no rattles or vibrations.
2. Prevent the oxidation of the terminals
• With time, the battery is likely to oxidize. White powder is deposited on either of the two terminals of the battery.
• Cleaning the white power will surely increase the flow of charge through the wires and, in turn, increase the battery life.
• You may use a baking soda and water solution and scrub it with a toothbrush.
• Make sure, before doing this, the terminals are not attached to the battery.
• Clean the liquid on the battery with a dry cloth before re-attaching the terminals.
3. Check the battery often
• It is recommended to at least check the battery voltage once a month with a multimeter or get it checked by a professional.
• The optimum reading of the battery is around 12.6 volts. Anything less than 12.2 volts, it is time to get a new battery before it completely dies.
4. Limit Short Rides
• Short trips place strain on a car battery as the alternator is not given enough chance to recharge the battery to its previous state. To allow the battery to fully recharge, be sure to take longer drives whenever you can.
5. Avoid using electronics when the engine is off
• Most new cars contain loads of energy-draining technology which drain a car battery very quickly. Be sure to switch off things like heaters, lights, and sounds systems when they are not required, particularly when the vehicle is not running.
6. Check all the lights when existing the car
• This is a common mistake made by car owners. However, nowadays cars often come equipped with a warning light or buzzer. Therefore, it is highly unlikely you will leave the car headlight on when leaving. It is always best to double check that you have switched off your vehicle lights off to ensure you don’t face difficulties starting the car the next morning.
7. Don’t leave the car for extended periods of time
• You may not use your car for extended periods due to vacations and you’re potentially not using your car as often due to COVID-19. The best way to prevent battery discharge is to disconnect the battery (only if you are technically capable and can reinstall per the manufacturer’s instructions).
• Alternatively, if possible and available, you can use a smart charger to keep the battery conditioned and charged.
8. Maintain your car correctly
• Have your car serviced according to your service schedule. Well-maintained cars place less strain on their batteries. Maintaining the car battery properly also reduces the risk of sudden breakdowns. It is recommended to always carry jumper cables just in case, specifically when traveling long distances.