DIAGNOSTICS & WORKSHOP TOOLS TECH INFO
What Can Cause Battery Failure? Why You Need To Test Them
- A Parasitic Drain – This is continuous current drain when the vehicle is off, caused by a faulty electrical component. With a drain of just 0.1A, a 60Ah battery would be flat in 25 days or less!
- Stratification – A vehicle being left unused for extended periods of time e.g., a tractor, boat or motorbike. When this happens the acid in the electrolyte separates from the water and sinks to the bottom of the battery, thus reducing plate activation, cold cranking performance and increasing plate corrosion. This is known as Stratification. If left in this state too long, it is not possible to ever recover the battery fully.
- Overcharging – This can occur if the alternator is not working properly so the battery can be subjected to excessive charge. Overcharging accelerates the breakup of the plate active material, and the battery will lose performance.
- Short Journeys – Very often vehicles are only used for short journeys (less than 30 mins) e.g., school run, grocery shopping. The alternator needs at least a 30-minute drive time to recover the charge used from the start alone. Continuous short journeys shorten the life of a car battery.
- Incorrect Application – Fitting a less powerful battery will result in a shorter service life and earlier failure. Vehicles fitted originally with an AGM battery should be replaced only with an AGM battery – not an EFB. Likewise, a vehicle fitted originally with an EFB battery should only be fitted with an EFB or AGM battery.
- Battery Registration – Many newer vehicles now come with BMS (Battery Management Systems). The BMS is responsible for monitoring the health of the battery and keeping tabs on different characteristics like state of charge, voltage, and temperature. When changing the battery on some of these vehicles the BMS needs to be notified. Over time, as the original battery has lost performance and the alternator has to supply more power to compensate. If a new battery is installed and the system is not notified, the alternator will overcharge the new battery.
See our range of Battery Testing Machines here.