Assault & Battery

3 min read
Do not assault your car battery! Here is a list of how you should treat this important car part.

The battery is a vital component of a car. Because we recognise that taking care of it is important, our ears are attuned to all sorts of advice and tips regarding the maintenance and enhancement of this part of the car. But false advice can lead to much grief — and expense! As such, it’s important to sort the wheat from the chaff.

Maintenance-free batteries
Battery technology may have gotten better and more efficient over the years; however, car batteries are not maintenance-free. It is a good idea to check for loose battery terminals and signs of any physical wear and tear. Corrosion build-up can signal a problem, and this will affect the battery’s ability to transfer charge from the battery to your car’s engine. You can try and remove the corrosion with a toothbrush and a battery terminal cleaning solution, or let workshop technicians handle it.

Driving less saves my batteries
Some of us think that the less we use our cars, the longer the batteries should last. The reverse is actually true. If we leave our cars unused over a period of time or always using it for short distance driving, there is a chance that the battery will never be fully-charged. This causes sulfation which may lead to battery failure. Batteries have a natural self-discharge or internal chemical leakage, meaning a tiny amount of power is still drawn from the battery even if the car is not in use. This is to keep the electrical systems working, so things such as the car alarm can be activated when required. If you need to go away for more than a month, it would be wise to invest in a trickle charger, which keeps the battery from being depleted from non-use.Topping up a battery with tap water
To replace water levels in the battery, use only distilled or demineralised water. Tap water contains too much impurities, which can build up and block the plates of the battery. It is not a good idea to let the water level go down to the point where the plates are exposed as this can lead to battery failure.

Reconnecting battery leads wrongly is okay
Some people think that they can simply reconnect the battery leads correctly if they did it wrongly the first time. That would be an expensive and potentially dangerous mistake. If you mix up the positive and negative connections, you could damage sensitive electric components in the car, blow fuses, and even cause an explosion. It is, therefore, most important to pay close attention when fixing the battery!

All batteries are the same
Car batteries are not all the same. There are different models and specifications, depending on your car type and needs. You should always make sure the physical size of the battery is correct for the housing, and that it fits securely. Some cars are equipped with a battery management system, which needs to be reset once a battery is replaced. If the wrong type of battery is used, the system may not recognise it — this may cause electric features in the car to not work correctly. So it is important to use only the recommended battery type. Check your car’s manual to make sure you always purchase and install the right battery.

If you are unsure and require help on your car’s battery issues, AA provides services for your car battery needs. Visit https://aas.com.sg/our-services/aa-battery-services.html for more information.