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Electric System: Car parts catalogue

Electric System: battery

How to detect the battery failure

The battery diagnosis should begin with a visual inspection. For this purpose, you have to open access to its internal part where the plates are situated. For this you just need to remove a special cap in the top cover. To begin with, assess the electrolyte fluid color. The fluid must be clear. If it is dark or red tinted, this indicates that the battery plates have deteriorated. Such a device requires replacement. Next, check if the electrolyte fluid amount in the device is sufficient: all the battery plates must be completely covered with fluid. If the fluid level is insufficient, it must be refilled.

Next, check the battery charge level. This can be done with a voltage meter or a multimeter. The nominal value is 12.5-13V. The upper limit indicates that the battery is fully charged, the lower limit corresponds to a half discharge. The voltage reading for the loaded battery should be between 13.5 and 14V. If it is lower, this indicates that the car alternator is faulty.

You may identify that the battery requires diagnosis by the following symptoms:

  • problems with the engine start;
  • fast battery discharge;
  • increased battery vibration during engine operation;
  • unstable operation of starter and engine;
  • high temperature at the terminals.

If you comply with the operating rules, the part’s average useful life is 4 years. It is advised to check the battery state at every vehicle maintenance.


Causes of the battery failure

Using a car with a discharged device or its long-term storage result in sulfation of the battery plates. In this case, on the surface of the battery plates, crystals appear which are not soluble by the electrolyte fluid. This causes a decrease of the active area of the plates and, as a result, loss of the battery capacity. Neglect of the device charging rules causes the active mass to fall off the plates. As a result, a short circuit may occur.

Due to exposure to extremely low temperatures, the part integrity often becomes impaired. Defects can be both visible (swelling and warping of the housing, appearance of cracks), and hidden (appearance of microcracks that may not be visually detected, but affect the electrolyte fluid quality and the battery operation).

Failure to comply with requirements for the electrolyte fluid level and density result in a number of the part faults. Low fluid level provokes destruction of plates, and excessively high level leads to the fluid leakage through the battery ventilation holes. This results in subsequent faults of other vehicle parts. The presence of impurities in the electrolyte fluid also shortens the component useful life.


Repair and replacement of the battery

The battery repair can be performed on one’s own, if it is a case of renewing the electrolyte fluid, tightening the mounting bolts, cleaning the terminals. In the case of sulfation, a short-circuit, or a polarity reversal, the part must be replaced. You can easily replace the part on your own. When doing this, it is advised to power the car electrical equipment (trip computer, navigation system, radio) with another battery. This will prevent resetting their settings.

The battery replacement is done as follows:

  1. Remove the key from the ignition switch, and open the car hood.
  2. Loosen the nut of the terminal bolt.
  3. Disconnect the wire from the negative terminal of the battery.
  4. Remove the protective cover, and disconnect the wire from the positive terminal.
  5. If a retaining clamp is used to secure the battery, it should be removed.
  6. Dismantle the old battery.
  7. Install a new part.
  8. Reassemble the unit in the reverse order.
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  • Rated Voltage [V]: 12, 24
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