Does Your Car Battery Need To Be Recharged?
Your car’s battery needs to be strong enough to crank the engine. Unfortunately, there are times when the battery can begin to lose its ability to do so. When turning the ignition, you may notice the engine cranking slowly. If the problem persists, you’ll need to either recharge or replace your car’s battery. Even if your engine eventually turns over and starts, the battery can become damaged over time. In this article, I’ll describe how a battery generates its charge. Then, I’ll explain how you can recharge it when necessary.
Overview Of A Battery’s Charge
Your car battery is comprised of cell plates, lead, and sulfuric acid. Ideally, when you turn the ignition, the lead that is in the cell plates interacts with the sulfuric acid. That creates a current. The battery transmits the current to crank the engine over. However, sulfate will begin to gather and build up on the cell plates over time. When it does, it can hamper the battery’s ability to generate a current.
The more sulfate that gathers, the less capable of creating a current your battery becomes. The build up happens more quickly when a battery is charged and discharged frequently. It can also happen as a result of the battery laying dormant for several days.
Checking The Charge
Even though you can’t technically test your battery without the help of a mechanic, you can still check its “state of charge.” If your battery has a cap on top that can be removed, you can use a floating hydrometer to check the level of acid solution inside. If the hydrometer shows a level of 1.265, it indicates a full charge. If it shows 1.230, it’s 25% depleted. 1.200 suggests that the battery is only charged at half its capacity.
If the top of your battery can’t be removed, it’s likely that it has an internal hydrometer. It will usually suggest only the charge for one of the cells, but it may also provide an average over all of the cells. It’s not a perfect solution, but it’s still useful.
How To Recharge The Battery
In most cases, you can recharge your battery by having someone jump start the engine. Your car’s internal charging system can do the rest. Once the engine has been jump started, drive your car uninterrupted for 20 to 25 minutes. That should completely charge the battery. If it’s already fully discharged prior to the jump start, you won’t be able to do much. At that point, it’s time to buy a new one.