July 11, 2020

Automotive Batteries

What is an Automotive / Starter Battery

Automotive Batteries is a general description for batteries used as starter batteries for the engines of cars, trucks, agricultural appliances, motor cycles, boats etc. Apart from providing starting power, in most instances automotive type batteries also help out with power for accessories when the vehicle alternator is unable to fully cover the power requirement, to provide power for lights, radios etc when the vehicle is parked and the engine is not running. They also play a vital role in smoothing out sudden spikes and drops in the vehicle’s electrical power needs.

Average automotive battery life is in the order of approximately 42 months but can vary dramatically depending on vehicle use.  Infrequent vehicle use, regular short trips, rough roads, hot climates, continuous vehicle operation (taxis, long haulage trucks etc) for varying reasons could be expected to reduce battery life, depending on the severity of the conditions.

Until recent times, a ‘one battery technology fits all’ approach has applied to replacement batteries, particularly to cars. But with the emergence of computer controlled charging that opportunistically adjusts to achieve small improvements in fuel consumption, stop start engine management, location of the battery outside of the engine compartment etc., increasingly the design format of batteries can vary depending on vehicle technology. Miss matching the replacement battery to the vehicle requirement will in most cases result in significantly reduced battery life.

DIY practitioners should note that the engine management system in some vehicles requires ‘electronic registration’ of the new replacement battery, so that the vehicle charging system will adjust to the new battery. Failure to ‘register’ the battery is likely to result in reduced battery life.