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Auto Maintenance Tips – Checking Your Battery Charge

Like any battery that we use outside of vehicles, your auto’s battery is storage for energy that is needed to start your engine or run any of the electronic devices in your vehicle such as your lights, your radio and your air-conditioning system.

The state of charge of your battery should be checked regularly since your battery is your car’s lifeline. If you notice that you have difficulty starting your engine, or it starts slowly then your batter’s charge may be low. Your battery needs recharging, or in more severe cases, must be replaced.

If your battery is already corroded, you need to change it. A battery does have a life span but if you misuse the battery or ignore it in maintenance tasks, then it becomes damaged. For instance, if you leave your car lights on, the battery becomes discharged and if the condition goes on for a couple of more days, then the cell plates of your battery becomes sulfated. Sulfated cell plates would weaken the ability of the battery to supply voltage to your car.

Ever wonder how car mechanics check the state of charge of your car battery?

In service centers, a “hydrometer” is used to check the charge of your car’s battery. These hydrometers have calibrations that measure the concentration of the acid inside the battery. The higher the concentration of the acid, the fuller your battery’s charge is.

Other battery makes and models do not need a hydrometer since they have one built in the pack. If your automobile battery does not have any caps that can be removed, then it would have a hydrometer in it. You can check your car owner’s manual, or the previous battery’s manual for this. Although the indicators in the built in hydrometer only reads acid in one cell, it is usually an average of the overall charge of the battery. A green light means your battery is still doing okay, a dark indicator means you need to have your battery recharged.

Meanwhile a yellow light on your battery’s indicator means you need to replace your battery as the acid content has become too small.

What do you do if you have a discharged battery?

First, if you are nowhere near a service center, hope and pray that your battery has its own indicator. Otherwise, you would need to find a hydrometer or a mechanic.

If your battery has an indicator, then you basically know what to do. A green light means your system can recharge the battery on its own. You can start the car and drive around your village or neighborhood until the battery is fully charged again.

If no light indicator has been turned on in the battery, which means you have a significantly low level of charge and you need a mechanic. If you have your own charger, then you can utilize it now. However, if you are unsure of what to do, then you should phone a mechanic and either ask him to instruct you on what to do or make him come to your garage.

See: Gas credit cards

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