Know Your Battery

1)    What does a car battery do?

The main function of the battery is to start your car. It also provides steady power to the electrical system and accessories when the charging system isn’t providing enough power. (Such as when the engine isn’t running or is idling)

Car batteries and electric starters have been around since 1911. The electric system includes the ignition and fuel system, engine & transmission controls, audio & climate control, to name a few. The battery provides a short burst of high power, just enough to get the engine running. Then the alternator kicks in, and the electric starter disengages.

2)    Choosing the right battery

A dead battery will leave you stranded. Replace only with reputable brands as per vehicle manufacturer specifications & recommendations from your auto1 team. The battery you need depends on your car’s make, model & engine size. We will always study warrantees and amp hour ratings or reserve capacity before making a recommendation. The African market is unfortunately flooded with cheap import brands manufactured with inferior components to secure quick and easy once-off profits.

Sealed batteries tend to last longer and are generally maintenance free, however, serviceable batteries last longer if properly maintained & regularly checked for water levels.

3)    How long do car batteries last?

Average battery life has become shorter as vehicle energy requirements have increased. We estimate a car battery to be 3 to 5 years

4)    How do I know if my battery is about to die?

a)     Slow engine crank

b)    Bad smell coming from the battery

c)     Engine light comes on

d)    Swelling battery case

e)     Low water levels – the battery is overcharging – water is boiling and evaporating

5)    How can I make my battery last longer?

a)     Ensure your battery is secured properly. Vibrations can cause damage to battery plates and battery clamps to terminals to become loose.

b)    Tighten battery clamps properly – hand tightening is not enough.

c)     Keep terminals clean – dirty and corroded terminals will restrict power flow to the engine and electrical system. Clean with a solution of warm water and baking soda, and coat any exposed cable with Vaseline.

d)    Check non-sealed batteries regularly and filled with distilled water. Do not use tap water. Do not overfill!

e)     Don’t add new electrolyte (acid)

f)      Regular trips longer than 30 minutes to ensure proper recharge. (Short trips only don’t allow enough time to fully recharge the battery)

g)    Discharging is the battery’s biggest enemy – accidentally leaving lights on overnight or things plugged in all day are a sure way to damage your battery. 

6)    Does auto1 provide free battery tests?

Of course we do! Our auto electrician will make sure that the problem is definitely your battery that is the problem before you spend money on replacing it. We offer recharging and a loan battery as part of our service offering to you.