Identifying and Treating Battery Problems Identifying and Treating Battery Problems
Battery problems vary between a flat-out refusal to work, to the lights not working, poor engine performance, or unreliable starting after being stopped for short periods. This can be a serious problem, as even the mildest of bad connections can result in the car stalling on the motorway. The best solution to battery problems is to take the car to a garage, but if you can’t afford to do that or you want to fix the problem without having to replace the battery, then there are a few simple methods of fixing that nagging battery problem.
Locate the Problem
The first thing that you need to know is if the difficulty is a bad battery, or poor connections from the battery. To find out, you’ll need to test the battery:
- To check the battery’s performance, you’ll need a voltmeter.
- Test when the car has not been used for a few hours in order to get accurate results.
- Attach the red lead to the positive connection on the battery; attach the black lead to the negative connection. Test.
- More than 12 volts means that the battery is good, and the problem is the connection
- Less than 12v suggests that the battery needs fixing or replacing.
Fixing Battery Problems
If the battery is producing 12 volts or more, check the connections. If the battery cables can be moved at all, then they are too loose; tightening them is a simple operation, and a quick drive will show if the battery problem has been solved.
Check the connections on the battery, to ensure that they are free of corrosion and dirt. Over time, battery terminals can become rusty-but a quick clean can help to ensure that poor connections are not the cause of the problem. Checking both of these things before trying the engine can save money and time.
Checking for Other Problems
Another common battery problem is electrolyte damage; excessive electrolyte overflow can show itself through a high battery temperature during charge and can be fixed by cleaning the battery, and tightening the caps. If this does not work, then it may be a problem with one of the battery cells; find any that look damaged and replace. Electrolytes may also ‘foam’ during charges or adding water-this also suggests that what is needed is a new battery cell.
Check the water and within the battery for material that should not be there-either plate material or something completely alien to the car. The latter suggests that water with impurities has been used at some point; clean the battery and charge.
Finding Major Problems
The biggest battery problem that you may find is a distorted battery or cell case. This can be caused by an explosion, or by overheating, or even by loose terminals twisting the battery out of shape. These kinds of battery problems will probably not be worth resolving on your own –the chance of saving money with a distorted or damaged battery is slim; take it to the garage and get a new one.