Most drivers think that they know when it's time to replace their old car battery, but that is far from the truth. Oftentimes, it is only when the battery dies that car owners run to battery dealers seeking help. By then, it is too late. But fret not, this handy guide will teach you all there is to know about car battery replacement.
Welcome to our Ultimate Car Battery Guide. In this informative guide, we will be explaining the practical aspects of replacing car batteries, what to do in emergency situations and more tips for car owners to maximise their car battery lifespan.
Symptoms of Battery Failure/Depletion
How does one identify when it is time to change a car battery?
Here are our quick tips on how to spot a battery that is on the verge of death.
1.Crank Time increases
When it takes a little bit longer than usual to crank up your engine, you know you're probably dealing with an exhausted battery. This is usually caused by a weak spark(or even a lack of spark) from the battery which causes the ignition process to take longer than usual. It will be obvious as the carburetor will make a funky groaning noise as the car starts. The other possibility is that your fuel reserves have depleted, but that is a less common issue. Hence, always take note of the mean crank time and notice if it suddenly starts to slow down. That may be a sign of the end of your battery's lifespan.
2.Warning Sign on Dashboard
Several car manufacturers have handily installed warning symbols on the dashboard to inform drivers of the possibility that the battery is low, or that the dynamo is not working. However, some drivers have forgotten how to identify the more uncommon symbols over the years, so here is the image of a faulty dynamo/alternator.
Another sign that you car battery is not functioning at its peak is when some of the applications and features in the car have reset. An example of this would be when your car radio's custom settings have been reset, or if the dashcam is not functioning properly. Another subtle change could be that your car's clock time or date is not correct despite the system not being reset. Keep an eye out for these details and you could save yourself from a lot of troublesome situations.
The most obvious sign that your car battery is on the verge of death is a breakdown. It goes without saying - if your car refuses to start up or simply stutters to a halt - you probably need a new battery, some fuel, or a new alternator. At times, you may even need 2 out of these 3. Meaning to say, there are cases where you need to replace both the battery AND alternator.
What To Do If Battery Malfunctions/Breaks Down
In the event that your battery decides to die in the middle of a trip, or your car can't start up but you are parked in a distant location far from civilisation, do not be alarmed. Instead, follow these guidelines to get help.
If you are in the middle of the road, make sure to push the car to the road shoulder to get it out of harm's way. If the car cannot be pushed out of the way, place the hazard sign (every car should come equipped with one) as far away as possible in front of your vehicle (so as to give other road users ample reaction timing). Do not stay in the car, get out.
Locate the Source of the Problem
The next step is to find out why the car brokedown. Is it out of fuel? Are the tires deflated? Figuring out the problem is as simple as doing a physical inspection of the car, or recalling the events that led to the breakdown. Was there a warning sign that flashed on the dashboard before the car sputtered to a halt? Did the car's engine vibrate in an uncontrolled or noisy manner? Answering these questions can make the recovery process much easier, but fear not if you are unable to identify the problem.
When travelling alone, it will be difficult to fix the problem if it involves specialised tools or equipment which drivers do not usually carry with them. Call a Tow Truck to move your car off the roads and to a location where it can be safely repaired. If the battery is the problem, you may request to move the vehicle to a specialised 24 hour Car Battery dealer that can replace the battery. If not, you may also choose to call Battery Empire that has an emergency battery replacement service and they will send their specialists to assist you, wherever you are in the country.
What To Do If The Car Won't Start
Sometimes, the car engine simply refuses to start despite your attempts to ignite the fuel. Find out how to tackle this problem.
Find the Source of the Problem
There are a couple of reasons for inability to start a car engine, including lack of fuel, spark-plug failure, broken starter, cranks or wheel locks. However, the most common culprit of no-starts is a dead car battery, due to the fact that most car owners have no idea when or how to replace a battery.
In this scenario, hiring a Tow truck may be excessive and expensive. Instead, it is better to just call Battery Empire's emergency replacement services to get your battery changed.
Sometimes, it can be difficult to distinguish between a dead battery and a faulty alternator. Engage in professional help or call Battery Empire if this happens.
DO NOT attempt to do the following as you may damage your car, other’s car, or even worst, injure yourself:
- Attempt a jump start yourself
- Attempt a jump start for others
- Force starting the car
- Replacing the car battery yourself if you have no experience
We have had cases where our clients’ vehicles got damaged when trying to help someone or being helped by someone when both parties do not have any knowledge in car batteries and the electrical components.
Tips and Tricks To Improve Battery Life
Don't let your battery get you down with these nifty tips and tricks. Be a smart car owner and you'll save more on maintenance and repair costs in the future. We have decided to make a distinction between Cars with minimal/no add-ons installed vs Cars with multiple peripherals/add-ons because battery usage for both groups is vastly different.
Cars with minimal peripherals installed
This group sees a lower mean electronic energy consumption due to the lack of electronics guzzling the power supply of the car's battery. Standard energy consumption for the car's dashboard, headlights, radio and internal charger have already been accounted for by the designers of the car, so under normal situations, having no external add-ons installed should mean that battery life is at a default level.
Tip: Do not leave the headlights or internal lights turned on when you are not using the car, as that drains the battery quickly. If you are not using the car for a few days, disconnect the terminal head from the negative terminal(NEGATIVE) of the battery by using a size 10 wrench(10mm). Re-attach the terminal head whenever you are ready to use the car again.
Cars with multiple peripherals installed
Peripherals such as dash cams, internal TV screens, phone chargers and GPS systems will cause the battery to be depleted at a faster rate. This means that having multiple peripherals perpetually on standby is not good for car battery longevity. This is of course in addition to default usage such as the dashboard, headlights and radio.
Tip: Unplug all peripherals when not in use, and deactive the dashcam especially when going overseas(without the car), as that can leech the battery very quickly. If possible, set the dashcam settings to battery saving even when in use.
Reasons for Battery Drain
Here are some of the common reasons car batteries drain quickly.
- Age - The older the battery, the more it wears out
- Faulty Alternator
- Parasitic Drain - Components such as the clock and radio continuing to run even after the vehicle is turned off
- Corroded Battery connections
- Extreme temperatures
- Faulty Charging system
To fix these common issues, it is recommended that owners do regular servicing for the vehicle so that issues to not accumulate over time, leading to inefficient battery use.
Types of Batteries
What Makes Battery Empire Special?
Specialists In Battery Services
Compared to other car workshops out there, we specialise only in a single domain - car batteries. Compared to other generalist car workshops, we have greater expertise in the area of car batteries.
What this means for you is that we are seasoned veterans in this business. The speed of our diagnosis is unparalleled due to our many years of experience.
We are more likely to diagnose issues on your car batteries well in advance when you come for servicing, and promptly replace them before they cause issues further down the road (pun intended).
Availability Of Heavy-Duty Batteries
Another speciality of ours is that we carry all kinds of large batteries, including the heavy-duty ones. These include batteries for robotics, trucks and even yachts. Not many of our competitors have stocks for these types of batteries. In other words, we are proud to be the “Battery Empire”.
Authentic 24 Hours Operating Time
Most other car workshops always exaggerate their service timings to 24 hours. However, that may not be true. At Battery Empire, we are really available 24 hours a day, such that in the case of emergencies where your car battery dies and you’re stranded in the middle of the night, we’re here to help.
We go the extra mile in ensuring the longevity of your car battery. For instance, there were many car owners who came to us to replace their car battery. While they were here, we discovered that they were using dash cameras which had a battery-saving function integrated into a mobile application that paired with it. We then helped them toggle the battery function on.
This function was not introduced to our customers when they first purchased the dash camera. So, the above scenario is one way we provide extra-value to our customers, as we care about their welfare.
By fresh stocks, we do not only mean that our batteries are brand new in box. Usually, even brand new batteries lose their charge slowly over time, from the moment they are manufactured.
What we mean by fresh stocks is that the stocks that we hold are always very close to the date of manufacture.
This is distinctly different from car workshops where they may have stocks of car batteries brand new in their boxes, but have been around for a while since their manufacturing date. These stocks of batteries tend to already have lost some of their charges and in turn their longevity, so they do not last as long after they are picked up by a customer replacing his car battery.
Frequently Asked Questions - FAQ
General Car Battery Knowledge
At Battery Empire, we carry the following batteries that are suitable for cars, vans, lorries & trucks:
JIS (Japanese Industrial Standard) – Suitable for Japanese & Korean vehicles
DIN (Deutsches Institut für Normung [German Institute for Standardisation]) – Suitable for Continental vehicles
- Manufacturing Faults
Typically occur within the first 3 months.
- Wear and Tear
As a battery ages, grid metal corrodes and active material is lost from the plate. Over time this leads to a point where the battery will no longer be able to start a vehicle. High temperature will accelerate the degradation rates.
- Physical Damage
Incorrect fitment, handling and storage often leads to external damage and subsequent battery failure.
Lights or other accessories left on for extended periods.
Occurs when the battery is allowed to stand in a discharged state for an extended period of time.
Often caused if the alternator is incorrectly set or the alternator voltage control fails.
Short journeys, stop start driving or faulty alternators will not fully recharge a battery.
Lights or other accessories left on for extended periods.
There are 4 tiers of car batteries that cater to every driver’s different needs:
- Budget Battery – 2nd hand battery for drivers whose car is going to be scrapped or selling off.
- Economy Battery – For drivers who have a tighter budget.
- Good Battery – For drivers who are looking for the bestselling battery brand in the market.
- Premium Battery – For brand conscious drivers.
All the major brands that we carry are suitable to be used in cars, vans, lorries and trucks.
Yes, by using a battery tester. At Battery Empire, we only use the best in the market, imported from USA.
A VRLA battery (valve-regulated lead-acid battery), more commonly known as a sealed battery (SLA) or maintenance free battery, is a type of lead-acid rechargeable battery. Due to their construction, the Gel and AGM types of VRLA can be mounted in any orientation, and do not require constant maintenance.
No, you should not. You will run the risk of reducing the original lifespan of the battery, not to mention incompatibilities.
Only batteries with the correct rating for your car should be used.
Car Battery Maintenance Information
Regular testing and inspection will help to maximise battery life. A routine inspection at least once a month is recommended to maintain optimum performance.
Use the following as a guide when examining your battery:
- Ensure the battery top is clean and dry, free of dirt and grime. A dirty battery can discharge across the grime on top of the battery casing.
- Inspect the terminals, screws, clamps and cables for breakage, damage or loose connections. These should be clean, tight and free of corrosion.
- Inspect the battery case for obvious signs of physical damage or warpage. This usually indicates the battery has overheated or has been overcharged.
- Do not leave lights or other accessories left on for extended periods.
- To prevent the inconvenience of a roadside breakdown, make it a point to have a periodic replacement of your car battery, and avoid replacing the car battery only when it has died.
As a Rule Of Thumb, always turn off accessories before turning off the engine to guarantee maximum battery life and minimum strain on related components. Things like your car stereo, aircon, headlights and other accessories tax the vehicle’s electrical system. Starting the car draws on the same system heavily; if your battery is being tasked with running accessories and your starter motor at the same time, it’s going to have to work a little harder. As an illustrative example: if you start your car with the headlights on, you may notice them dimming as you crank the starter.
The lifespan of your car battery depends on where you live, how frequently you drive short distances and how often you keep your gadgets plugged in.
Living in an area that has warm weather year-round shortens the life of your car battery. The battery will also drain faster if you regularly drive for 20 minutes or less, as this does not allow your battery to fully charge. Try your best to keep these short trips to a minimum.
Avoid overusing your gadgets when your car is not running. Using the horn, stereo, headlights or other accessories when your car is off can actually drain your battery life a lot faster.
Make sure all of the car doors are closed and the lights go off after you park your car.
If possible, always avoid using the horn, stereo, headlights or other accessories when your car is off as it is drawing power directly form the car’s battery.
Prolonged usage will deplete the battery and shorten the battery’s lifespan.
In case of sealed lead acid battery (also known as SLA battery or dry battery), corrosion happens when electrolyte makes its way out to battery terminals through any leaks or joints.
In case of flooded lead acid batteries (wet batteries), electrolyte can jump out while carelessly pouring water into cells. Also, fumes of sulphuric acid which is a part of electrolyte and actually responsible for corrosion keeps arising out of vents of flooded lead acid batteries when battery is charging or hot.
Overcharging heats up the battery and heat increases the volume of electrolyte filled inside it. This electrolyte can leak out of vents of overcharged flooded lead acid battery if it is topped up with too much water and also SLA batteries through loose joints. Posts of lead acid batteries are mostly made from lead.
Lead itself is a stable metal. Its reaction with sulphuric acid is very slow. If contact happens at battery posts, the compound which is formed as a result of reaction is lead sulphate.
Sometimes, it also happens that copper clamps or ringed copper terminals which are used to connect battery with wires corrode. Copper itself is not reactive even if dilute sulphuric acid is poured on it. But when electricity passes, it reacts with sulphuric acid and produce copper sulphate along with water and sulphur dioxide gas.
The white substance which you see around battery terminals is either lead sulphate or anhydrous copper sulphate. Anhydrous copper sulphate changes to blue colour when water is added to it. The bluish substance which you see around corroded copper terminals or copper clamps is hydrated copper sulphate.
No, you do not need to head back to the original workshop that your car came from to replace your car battery. This is because the batteries that they carry (as long as the ratings are correct), are identical to the ones that we provide. Essentially, there are no differences between the batteries the original car workshop and The Battery Empire provide.