Kelly's Garage - Active Green and Ross - January 2012

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This month’s topic is our car battery.  I wanted to share a piece of advice that was shared with me by the owner of an Active Green and Ross store while I was giving a ladies car care clinic at his shop this past fall..  He said if he could give one piece of advice it was to make sure that when you turn your vehicle off  you turn everything else off as well.  By this he meant turning off the radio, wipers heating system and anything else that might be on.  If these are left on, a higher draw is used on your battery when you are starting your vehicle and sometimes it won’t start if the battery is weak.  Turning everything off  needs to become a habit otherwise you will never do it.

I also wanted to let you know that I have started booking ladies car care clinics for the spring.  So be sure to check back at www.activegreenross.com as the dates are added as they get booked.  You can also follow me on Facebook at ”Kelly Williams Fan Page”.


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The average life of a battery is between 3 and 5 years.                        

This month's topic: Batteries

According to a 2008 study, the number one cause of vehicle breakdowns was the battery. (Flat tire was second at 15%) Having a battery in our vehicle is an integral part of the operating system.  If you don’t have a battery it won’t matter how much gas you have, you won’t be going anywhere unless your Fred Flinstone!  Your battery is so important that  every time you take your vehicle into an Active Green and Ross for an oil change their technicians perform a “battery check”.  What they are doing is measuring what are called the “cold cranking amps”. This is the juice your battery needs to start your vehicle when it’s cold.  If your battery is weak you won’t usually notice it until it’s -20 degrees Celsius and your car won’t start!  This is when you require all of the cold cranking amps available and they aren’t there. (I’ve attached a photo below to show the cold cranking amps)

Rather than batteries been faulty it is really our driving habits that are most harmful to batteries and causes them to deteriorate.  Often we don’t even realize we are being hard on our vehicle.  For example, short drives are hard on the battery since it doesn’t allow the battery to get fully charged.  The shorter the trips, the harder it is on the battery and if you are using your heater full blast, heated seats and windshield wipers all at the same time watch out!  Corrosion around the battery terminal is also a problem.  The corrosion usually looks “greenish” and comes from an imperfect seal around the post.  The corrosion can prevent your vehicle from starting due to electrical resistance but can be easily cleaned by a technician.  Leaving your vehicle parked for extended periods of time can also cause your battery to deteriorate.  People who park their vehicle for the winter should either invest in a battery maintainer or unhook the battery from the posts to keep accessories like the radio or the alarm from draining the battery.  There are also people who own a vehicle but only drive it very infrequently.  Going for a good drive once in awhile would be good to get the battery charged back up.   Sulfation can occur when a battery is not fully charged which can be very damaging to the longevity of the battery.  The longer a battery is left “dead” the harder it is to overcome sulfation and the likely hood of having to replace the battery is increased.

Many people think that your battery will give you warning when it is getting weak but from my experience I haven’t really seen that.  Usually what happens is you go out one day and your vehicle won’t start  Then you are calling roadside assistance or getting the booster cables out.  This is a preventative maintenance item.  The best time to change it is in the fall and before it fails.  Much of the damage happens to our battery in the summer due to the extreme heat under the hood but not all batteries are located under the hood.

Although batteries haven’t really changed dramatically over the years there is some new technology coming along to help recharge the battery since we have so many more onboard comforts and computers draining our batteries.   Traditionally an alternator is what charges the battery but this takes power and impedes our fuel economy.  Something that BMW has developed is called “Brake Energy Regeneration”.  Basically what happens is when you take your foot of the gas or press the brake kinetic energy that is created is converted to electric energy and is used to recharge the battery.  BMW says this will improve your fuel economy by upto 3%!  This is technology that will we will start to see in more production vehicles in the coming years.


Take care of your car and it will take care of you!

This months photo:

Battery corrosion and Battery label- CCA 565

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