When to Have Your Car Battery Serviced


How a car battery works

Car battery: essential but simple check

When to have the battery serviced?

Price of a service

Changing your car battery yourself

The car battery is used to start the engine.

Like the alternator, the spark plugs, and the car’s light bulbs, the car battery is part of the electrical circuit and is essential to start your vehicle.

How a car battery works

Inside, a battery is made up of several cells connected in series. Each one produces 2 volts, so it takes six per battery to have the 12 volts needed by most cars and motorcycles today.

Each accumulator consists of positive and negative plates positioned in parallel and alternating with:

  • 3 positive plates;
  • 4 negative plates.

These plates are immersed in a mixture called an electrolyte, composed of :

about 20% sulfuric acid (H2SO4);

about 80% distilled water.

In order to obtain the chemical reaction, three elements come into action: lead, water, and acid, which, by interaction, store the current and make it circulate.

The whole system is usually mounted in polypropylene tanks (sometimes honeycombed) to resist heat, cold, and acid.

Good to know: some are called Gel or AGM batteries. They are also made with acid (not gel), embedded in a blotter-like element that retains the acid when opened and turned over.

Car battery: essential but simple check


The car battery not only starts the car but also provides electricity when the engine is stopped.

It’s easy to maintain, but don’t neglect it.

You have two options for your battery:

  • maintenance battery;
  • maintenance-free battery.

Maintenance batteries

Batteries contain electrolytes (water and sulphuric acid) which must not be missing, or the battery will weaken.

On some of them, you can check the level of this liquid in the filling holes. It should be 10 to 12 mm above the plates.

If this is not the case, distilled water can be added.

In addition, you can inspect the (+) and (-) terminals to make sure they are clean:

There should be no sulphate (white powder).

If necessary, you can clean them with a wire brush after unscrewing them.

Maintenance-free batteries

There are now many maintenance-free batteries, which, as the name suggests, do not require any maintenance.

However, you need to be sure of the type of battery in your car. To check this, look in your service booklet or open your hood.

Good to know: maintenance-free batteries can be recognized because the cover is tough to remove.

When should I have my battery serviced?


Not all batteries have the same lifespan. In everyday use, the average is 3 to 10 years.

Note: a weak battery does not necessarily mean that it has to be replaced!

Price of an overhaul

You will find price differences between:

  • batteries that require maintenance and those that do not require any operation;
  • those sold in general or specialized supermarkets and those offered by car centres, car repair shops, or dealerships.

All prices are available, from $95 to $340.

Changing your car battery yourself

A battery requires little maintenance and can be done without any professional help.

If a change is necessary, you must integrate two vital pieces of information:

  • the order of disconnection and connection;
  • The disconnection may cause the vehicle to lock up on a modern car.

So, don’t hesitate to consult your service book carefully.

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One thought on “When to Have Your Car Battery Serviced”

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