Debunking Popular Car Battery Facts and Myths

Would you like to give your vehicle's battery a great lease on life? From recharging to jump starting, this post will uncover some common myths that surround car batteries to save you from potentially difficult or dangerous situations.

1. Once you leave the auto's lights on and flatten the battery, you can recharge the battery by going for a drive


It's impossible to recharge your battery fully by taking a drive or idling the engine. Actually, continuous undercharging or 'surface' charging will reduce the battery's capacity over time, shortening its life. What's more, you may void the warranty of the battery if you fail to charge it properly.

The best and only way to restore the battery's charge reliably is by using a multi-stage car battery charger. The voltage of the charger you use must be high enough so the acid gets mixed evenly to prevent 'stratification'.

2. If your vehicle isn't going to be driven for some weeks, disconnect the battery terminals


Many cars come with on-board computers which run the steering, transmission, electrics and security systems. All these systems need a continuous supply of power to run effectively. If the battery is disconnected, the systems may fail to work even when you reconnect the battery.

To maintain your car's battery during extended holidays, consider using a maintenance charger. You can leave it connected indefinitely to make sure your car battery stays fully charged when you're away.

3. If you don't drive your car frequently, the battery goes flat


A car battery has a natural self-discharge, and cars nowadays draw tiny amounts of power from a battery whenever the car isn't being used. If not driven over time, the battery will be fully discharged. To prevent this, consider connecting a maintenance charger to ensure the battery stays in great condition.

4. If plates are exposed, tap water may be used to top up the battery's water level


Use deionised, demineralised or distilled water to replace the battery's lost water. If the situation is urgent, you can use clean rainwater because it has fewer impurities compared to tap water. Usually, tap water produces mineral build-up which blocks pores and coats the battery's plates.

Once cell plates are exposed, they may dry out, leading to failure. If you have to top up the water, consider recharging and testing the battery. Note that batteries that run out of water aren't covered under warranty.