As auto electricians and battery retailers, we get a lot of questions about batteries. We thought we’d cover off on a few common car battery myths that we come across quite regularly.
Myth 1: A battery should last a specific amount of time.
Car batteries last for anywhere between two to five years. There are lots of factors that determine how long the battery will last. These include:
- the climate where the car is used.
- How often the car is driven.
- Whether the battery is correctly installed.
- And how well the car and the battery are maintained.
Myth 2: Going for a drive after jump starting a flat battery will recharge it.
Unfortunately, a short drive or idling the engine will not charge the battery properly. Surface charging or continuously undercharging will actually lower the capacity of the battery over time and shorten its lifespan. After you have had a flat battery, we recommend putting your battery on an appropriate multi-stage battery charger overnight. Then get it tested by a professional.
Myth 3: If the battery light is on, the battery is faulty.
The battery light on your dash will come on when there is a fault in your vehicles charging system. This light indicates that the car is running on battery power alone and may eventually break down. Usually, this means you’re in need of a new alternator. So, it’s best to take your vehicle into an auto electrician to get it checked out asap.
Myth 4: Batteries last longer in hotter climates.
This is definitely not the case. Hot climates deteriorate batteries faster due to water loss, heat distortion and an increase in corrosion. If you live in a hot climate, we’d suggest getting a maintenance-free battery with a larger electrolyte reservoir to combat any water loss.
Myth 5: If the car isn’t going to be driven for a while, you should disconnect the battery terminals.
Most modern cars have onboard computers that control electronics, steering and security settings. These systems require a continuous amount of power to operate. So, if you disconnect a battery, you might run into a few problems with these systems. The best way to maintain a battery if it is not going to be used for a while is to use a maintenance charger. It can be left connected for as long as you need. Keeping your battery fully charged until it’s needed again.
Myth 6: You can use a car battery to run a boat.
Car batteries are not suitable for marine use. Marine batteries are specifically designed to handle the conditions out on the water. Most also have a semi-deep cycle feature allowing them to run accessories and safety devices and then be recharged.
Myth 7: You can use a car battery to run a fridge in a caravan.
Again, car batteries are not designed for this purpose. Car batteries are designed to produce a large amount of current over a short amount of time. To run a fridge, the battery needs to produce a small amount of power over a long period of time. This is where deep cycle batteries come in. They are designed to be drained and recharged and are usually rated in amp hours.