Battery and Auto Electrical Service in Christchurch



About Car Batteries

Lead-acid car batteries are the most commonly used type of automotive battery and have been in use for many decades. They are known for their reliability and affordability. Here's some key information about lead-acid car batteries:

1. Chemistry: Lead-acid batteries are based on a lead dioxide (PbO2) positive plate, a sponge lead (Pb) negative plate, and a diluted sulfuric acid (H2SO4) electrolyte. They are classified as electrochemical storage batteries, meaning they store and release electrical energy through chemical reactions.

2. Construction: Lead-acid batteries typically consist of several cells connected in series. Each cell contains a set of positive and negative plates immersed in an electrolyte solution. The cells are housed in a plastic case, and lead terminals are used to connect the battery to the vehicle's electrical system.

3. Voltage: A standard lead-acid car battery is designed to provide around 12 volts of electrical potential. This voltage is essential for starting the engine and powering various electrical components in the vehicle.

4. Function: Lead-acid batteries serve two primary functions in a car: starting and deep cycling. They provide a burst of power to start the engine, and they also supply a steady stream of energy to run accessories when the engine is off.

5. Maintenance: Lead-acid batteries require regular maintenance. This includes checking and topping off the electrolyte level with distilled water, cleaning the battery terminals and connections, and ensuring that the battery is securely mounted in the vehicle.

6. Charging: Lead-acid batteries can be recharged using a vehicle's alternator or an external battery charger. Overcharging or undercharging can damage the battery, so it's crucial to maintain a proper charging regimen.

7. Lifespan: The lifespan of a lead-acid car battery can vary but is generally around 3 to 5 years. Factors that affect battery life include temperature, usage patterns, and maintenance.

8. Types: There are two main types of lead-acid batteries used in cars:

1. Flooded (Wet Cell): These are the traditional lead-acid batteries where the electrolyte is in liquid form. They require regular maintenance to check and replenish the electrolyte.

2. Sealed (Maintenance-Free): These batteries are sealed, and the electrolyte is in gel or absorbed glass mat (AGM) form. They require less maintenance and are often considered more convenient.
Recycling: Lead-acid batteries are highly recyclable. The lead and other materials in the batteries can be recycled to make new batteries, which makes them an environmentally responsible choice.

Despite advances in battery technology, lead-acid batteries remain popular due to their affordability and reliability for starting vehicles. However, in recent years, newer types of batteries like lithium-ion have gained traction in some applications due to their higher energy density and longer life, particularly in hybrid and electric vehicles.

Read Servo’s guide on common automotive electrical problems

If the battery is not charging properly, the issue can be several things. Try to get it fully charged first, and if that does not help in the long run, have the battery or the alternator tested, you may have to buy a new battery.

To start the engine, the battery must have power. It also requires power to keep the engine running, so therefore the alternator constantly produces power for the car and recharges the battery. If the alternator fails the battery will not charge.

 If your battery is flat and you need to try and jump start your car, see our guide here.

The alternator is driven by a belt which may be defective and reduce the charging performance.

Find out more about car battery replacement for your vehicle by consulting with a Christchurch auto electrical professional and posting your job on Servo

Updated 14 September 2023