Automotive Maintenance And Detailing


Automotive Maintenance And Detailing

How does the car battery work?.

The car battery is a necessary component of vehicles. It has two main functions: starting the engine and supplying power to the devices in the car. The battery will be charged with the alternator while we are driving, thus giving an electric current ready for the next start. The current in the battery must be sufficient for the rotation of the starter to enable the engine to start. Technically, this is called CCA or Cold Cranking Amps. The higher CCA, the easier to crank the engine.

Therefore, we should not turn on the devices that use the high electric current when we are not driving the car, such as headlights, radios, fans, etc. However, modern vehicles have some equipment such as anti-theft systems that require electricity while we are not using cars. Therefore, causing the battery power to drain if leaving the engine not run for many days.

Moreover, the durability of the battery will depend on how you use the car. The driving under extreme hot and cold weather conditions directly affect the battery. High temperatures can cause the acid in the car batteries to boil and lead the reaction to the lead sheet to faster deterioration.

On the other hand, cold weather will cause the reaction of the lead sheet will not be able to store the current or discharge well. That makes the car is too difficult to start.

How many types of batteries?.

 There are many types of batteries in the market, from cheap to expensive, and easy to difficult to produce. You’ve probably heard of the multiple types of batteries, such as Lead-acid, Flooded type, AGM, Gel cell, Wet cell, Deep cycle, or Valve-regulated lead-acid (VRLA). We will talk about common types used in most cars, and you can buy them at auto parts stores.

Lead-acid battery

To make it easier to understand, we will talk about the main types of batteries installed in the production cars. There are only 2-3 

main types. The first type is the lead-acid battery that has been produced for a hundred years and is still in demand in many vehicle models. 

This battery has the lead sheets installed inside and contains acid to react with the electrolyte to create an electric current. Then it supplies current through the positive and negative terminals of the battery. That is also known as a wet cell battery. You need to always keep the acid to a constant level by adding distilled water, not tap water. The suitable duration to check and refill is at least six months at a time.

This type of battery is cheap and has a 2-3 year life before it deteriorates. Then, it will no longer keep electricity even if you always add distilled water. The reason is that the lead plate will gradually react internally by causing sulfates to cling to and reducing the efficiency of electric current kept in the battery.

Picture of battery structure

Valve-regulated lead-acid (VRLA)

The second type of battery is valve-regulated lead-acid (VRLA) batteries, also known as maintenance-free batteries. If your car uses this type of battery, you don’t need to add distilled water to maintain the acid level.

This battery is well sealed. It does not have a lid to open to see the inside acid level. But there is a vent in the side instead. This vent is for ventilating the gas outside. With the modern production process by using dry type sheets or gels, resulting in high durability, we can use the battery at least 3-4 years before it dies.

In addition to these two types of batteries, there are other types of batteries used in today’s vehicles, such as deep-cycle batteries, lithium-ion batteries. Most cars that use deep-cycle batteries are forklifts, golf carts, etc. The lithium-ion batteries are regularly used in modern electric vehicles such as Tesla, Nissan Leaf, Audi E-Tron, and others as well.


How much car battery amp should have?.

Usually, the car manufacturer will specify the battery specification depending on the type of engine and power consumption of various devices of the car model. However, it determines the amp value of the battery as the main.

If your car is a small to medium size car, it will not use many amps such as 45-55 amps. However, the vehicle with a large engine and multiple cylinders or a diesel car, it is necessary to have higher amps, such as 70-80 amps or more, regardless of whether the car uses 12 or 24 volts. Moreover, you will need to consider the CCA (Cold Cranking Amp). The higher like 700-800 CCA, the better power for spinning the starter to start the engine even in cold weather.

However, you should also consider the alternator generating capacity. It is useless if using a high-amp battery with a low-power generate of the alternator.

Choose the right battery specification for example: 12V 70Amp 640CCA

What are the symptoms of a dead battery?.

If you find that the morning work, you get in the car and start the engine, but the car engine does not run. It may be the cause of two main reasons:

1. The alternator is broken
2. Battery dies.

In the first case, there is a signal coming earlier from the car’s dashboard display. It’s a battery symbol to warn the driver that there are some problems with the alternator. That means it can’t generate electricity for the battery.

It causes your car cannot start because there is not enough electric current stored in the battery. In this case, the battery is still in good condition. You will need a technician to inspect or repair the alternator. However, in the worst case, you may need to replace the new alternator.

Warning of car electric system.

In the second case, the battery is dead. You will find that when the engine starts, there will be no starter sound, or the engine cranks only slightly, and it will not turn on. Moreover, several dashboard lights will show up on the car dashboard screen.

If you can remember the last change of batteries and it was more than 2-3 years, you have more than 80% of the chance of replacing a new battery. However, you may check by yourself before calling a technician by checking the battery terminals for loose or dirty or not. If the battery terminals are dirty, clean it with hot water, sandpaper, and hard bristle hairbrush, or if the terminals are loose, tighten the screws.

After that, try to start the car again if it is still not running, you need to consider to change the new battery.

Corrosion of battery terminals

How to jump-start a car dead battery?

In the emergency case, the car won’t start at night, and the car repair shop is closed. However, you have to start the engine to go home. You need someone to help you with a jump start. We recommend that you should buy and keep 1 set of jump start wires in the car, no matter you have a new or old car. Then, you may ask for help from passing cars or public services vehicles such as taxis.

The steps

1. Switch off the ignition (set the ignition to mode 0).

2. First, connect the red jumper cable to the auxiliary battery’s positive (+) terminal (1).

3. Fold back the cover over the positive (+) terminal on your vehicle’s 

battery (2), marked with a “+” sign, located under a folding cover.

4. To prevent an electric spark, connect the black jumper cable to the 

auxiliary battery’s negative (-) terminal (3) and the ground point in 

your vehicle’s engine compartment (4).

5. Start the engine in the assisting vehicle, then start the engine in the car with a dead battery.

6. After the engine has started, first remove the negative (-) terminal jumper cable (black). Then remove the positive (+) terminal jumper cable



What are the types of car batteries terminals?

Before going to the next step, we should know that the car batteries have two different types of terminals to wiring your car wires. You must check the right side of the positive and negative terminal if it locates on the left or right side, before buying a new one.

Otherwise, it can not install on the car as most of the car wires are designed for the specific wiring diagram, length, and you can not shuffle it from left to right or right to left. For a more understanding, see the pictures below.


How to change a car battery?

If you want to change the battery by yourself by purchasing a new battery for replacement. The first thing to check is the specification of its amp, see the car owner’s manual or buy it according to the old model. Next, choose the type of battery as we recommended earlier, whether it is Lead-Acid or Valve-regulated lead-acid and left or right terminal. If you choose the first one, you must be sure that you can refill the distilled water on time.

This type of battery will allow you to save a lot of money. Meanwhile, if you choose the second type of battery, you don’t need to take care of it until it dies in the next 3-4 years.


The steps

  1.   Remove the battery box cover (if any), and steel strapping or steel support the bracket that is holding it in place. Each car model may install batteries in different locations. Some European cars will install batteries in the trunk, but mostly we often see them installed in the engine room.
  2.  Disconnect the battery terminals. Please note that you must remove the negative terminal of the battery before the positive one. It will help to prevent sparks that could damage equipment in the car.
  3. Remove the old battery with care because most car batteries are heavy. You can break your foot if it falls.
  4. Install the new battery into position and secure the screw or steel strap tightly.
  5. Put the battery terminals in reverse the process of removing with positive terminal first then the negative. Make sure to tighten the bolts.
  6. Close the battery cover completely.
  7. Start the engine and check the warning lights on the dashboard to see if there is something wrong.

For some vehicles, you may have to set the date and time and jam protection window system. You should see the steps from the owner’s manual or ask the mechanic of that car brand.

  From the above information, you can see that batteries are very important to cars. You should pay attention or observe the symptoms to be abnormal. Otherwise, your vehicle may be broken on the road and must call a tow truck or mechanic, wasting both time and money.

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