Image of large-capacity battery for Mercedes Benz)
The rotation of engine is converted to electricity by way of alternator. Some of the electricity goes directly to various electric equipment in order to function properly. The role of battery is to keep the electricity generated by alternator once inside and deliver it in case it is required from the electric parts of the automobile. To deposit the electricity inside the battery is ongoing even the automobile is not on move.
The battery consists of two types of metal plates; anode plate and cathode one and electrolyte composed of transparent sulfuric acid. By way of chemical reaction of these components it reserves and releases electricity. The general function of battery is the same what most of us learned in our junior high school days.
(How the battery works)
The battery deteriorates over time:
Similar to the engine oil, the battery deteriorates in accordance with time and the frequency of usage. The main reason for the deterioration is as follows;
The anode and cathode plates are exposed to the air due to the decrease of sulfuric acid liquid.
The smooth electricity transfer is jeopardized by the dirty electrodes (plus and minus) due to the rust and dust which are accumulated on the surface.
The dust covering battery gathers humidity and is apt to self-discharge.
As the deterioration progresses, the amount of electricity to charge increases. This process further accelerates deterioration.
(Image of dirty battery)
How to prolong the battery life:
The most important point how we prolong the life of battery is to check the sulfuric acid liquid level. The side body of battery usually shows the two lines; “Upper level” and “Lower level”. It means that the battery functions well with the liquid level between these two lines. If the liquid level is below “Lower level”, you can buy the sulfuric acid liquid at dealers or car shops easily and fill the liquid up to the appropriate range. In these days long life battery which requires no refill of liquid is also available.
Generally speaking, the life of battery ranges between 2 and 3 years. If you maintain it regularly such as above, it is sometimes the case that you can prolong the life of battery to 4 to 5 years.
Battery type and cost for replacement:
The end of battery life visits all batteries even though you take enough maintenance cares. The phenomena such as “It slows down the power-window opening and closing” and “It takes longer time to turn on the engine” are the signs to change batteries.
There are various standards for batteries same as engine oils. For example, “55 B 24 L”; 55 means the power of battery, B is the shape and depth, 24 is the width and L means the location of the terminal (plus) electrode.
In order to know the type of battery, please refer to the instruction manual of your car.