Myths About Your Car Battery

When it comes to automotive batteries, most people tend to follow unsound advice. The following are some myths about your car battery — you know, so you aren't most people.

Whether it be jumpstarting, faulty lights, or scarce use, vehicular batteries are some seriously dangerous death traps when incorrectly maintained. Worse than bad habits that damage your car, these myths are very common and can be extremely detrimental to your vehicle. 

Trust me, don't listen to your best friend or neighbor when in need of automative battery assistance. 

Instead, talk to your nearest maintenance shop or automative specialist before preforming anything under the hood. For the benefit of your car, and your sanity, understanding these myths about your car battery will ensure you know the difference between fact and fiction in the area of automotive battery care. 

It's best to drive around after recharging for some extra juice.

No. Just, no.

Entertaining this well-known maintenance technique will only ensure that you worsen the life of your already depleting automative battery. Called 'surface' charging, driving around after either jumpstarting or recharging a car battery only lowers its capacity, and actually voids the battery's warranty.

The best — and only — way to recharge a flat battery is by using an appropriate multi-stage charger. By preventing 'stratification,' the proper charger uses a high enough voltage to uniformly mix battery acid in with the electrolyte.

As a leading number in the myths about your car battery, driving after a recharge or jumpstart isn't the best idea. So, for the sake of your car's electrical system, just don't.

If I don't drive my car, the battery won't decrease.

WRONG!

Another great addition to the myths about your car battery, leaving a vehicle unused for a long period of time, as a way to save your battery life, is an improper way of avoiding problems.

In fact, disregarding one's car will actually only increase the issues afflicted in the battery, electrical system, power life, and engine. It may be unusual, but it's a fact: floor it sometimes to make your car last longer.

Even if left idle for a few weeks at a time, one's automotive battery can short circuit and fail. That is why it is extremely important for drivers to use a maintenance, or 'trickle' charger.

Whatever you do, DO NOT detach the battery from your vehicle. Avoid automotive battery issues by either using the aforementioned product, or by periodically starting and driving an irregularly-used vehicle, so as to keep one's battery and engine in perfect shape. 

A dead battery won't affect the fuel economy.

Yes, it will. Plus a whole lot more.

If you're one of the many out there who thinks that a flat battery won't affect a car engine, then unfortunately you are following one of many myths about your car battery.

When an automotive battery is flat, the vehicle's alternator will attempt to recharge it as best as possible. This, of course, adds stress to the system and engine, ergo don't be oblivious to a battery that needs recharging.

If left unchecked, you could very well disrupt not only the electronics in your prized ride, but could also ruin the valuable ventilation system, power reserves, and overall electrical components.

Rather than be walking after that valuable engine putters to a standstill, just charge the battery! 

I can use a hydrometer to check my battery life.

Okay, a hydrometer is a tool that checks for the density of a particular liquid. Please, whatever you do, don't use it on your car.

Instead, use an electronic tester to check your automative's 'maintenance free' battery life. The electronic tester preforms a number of diagnostics, specifically centered on the conductance of a maintenance free battery's plates and cells.

Although I may not be so familiar with this one, using a hydrometer is apparently one of a great many myths about your car battery, so now you know. Use tools wisely when preforming automotive maintenance on your own. 

It's written in the name: 'Maintenance Free' batteries won't need servicing.

Really? No, seriously, did you honestly think anything at all in a vehicle would NEVER need servicing?

A 'maintenance free' battery will need to be checked periodically for a series of issues concerning such necessities as cleaning, checking the terminals and alternator charge rate, plus removal of corrosive build up.

It's not uncommon for white powder to buildup in and around the battery posts and terminals. This is why a regular cleaning is a must if one wants to ensure the power and state of their automotive battery remains tip-top.

If left unchecked, one is bound to experience any number of automotive issues. Uncleaned battery connections can lead to vehicle breakdown.

It's just another one of those myths about your car battery; always make sure automotive parts are properly maintained, no matter what they may be called. 

Replacing lost water with tap water is definitely safe.

I think you know by now to expect the above statement to be a HUGE no-no.

When it comes to replacing an automotive battery's lost water, always use distilled, deionized, or demineralized water. One can even use rain water, if in an emergency.

Otherwise, mineral build-up could potentially harm the state of your car battery by blocking its pores and coating its plates.

Don't be a fool and follow this, or any other myths about your car battery, because you'll be walking instead of driving. 

Batteries last for a specific amount of time.

I can understand how this might be one of the myths about your car battery, because most people believe batteries are built specifically for that vehicle.

However, this is not the case.

Every automotive battery is made differently, even those found in the same make, sometimes even model. A myriad of other aspects should be applied, as well: climate, how often the car is driven, how regularly the car and battery are maintained, plus how long it is recharged.

Always, always, ALWAYS keep an eye on your automotive battery, because despite what many tell you, all batteries are different and can experience a number of varying outcomes. 

Climate and weather don't affect the battery.

Wrong, again.

Specific temperatures, such as hotter climates, can negatively affect your automotive battery and the system entirely. This can be anywhere from water loss, heat distortion, and increased corrosion.

It is important to keep one's vehicle safe from the hierarchy of climate and the unknown powers of nature.

As a leading example in the myths about your car battery, climate, weather and temperature can all greatly downgrade your vehicle's battery, so keep an eye on the sky if your vehicle is kept outside.

The hold-down bracket isn't THAT necessary...

Come on!

The vehicle's 'hold-down' bracket for the battery is probably one of the most necessary pieces under your hood, because it keeps you and your car safe from any number of dangerous outcomes.

An unsecured battery can damage themselves and the engine, which can cause a fire or an explosion. So, unless you're attempting to blow your car up, don't leave an unsecured battery to fate. 

Reconnecting leads into wrong inputs won't mess my car up.

This is a perfect example of stupidity in the myths about your car.

Most people think that if you incorrectly reattach the positive and negative leads to your automotive battery, every piece of the car's electronic system will be fine.

This is not the case.

Reconnecting leads into the wrong places could damage sensitive electric components, destroy fuses, and potentially cause an explosion. That's why it is imperative driver's pay attention when fixing a car battery, especially when reconnecting leads.

Always pay attention when preforming any kind of maintenance on your car battery to avoid additional complications with the engine, system, and/or self-inflicted injury. 

If the battery light is on, the battery is faulty.

Not quite.

When it comes to your vehicle's battery light, driver's should be weary of mistaking this to mean that the battery is completely botched. It's actually a commonality in the myths about your car battery, so be careful not to emulate this misstep.

If the battery light comes on, it could entail that your car is running on battery power alone, or there is an issue with the charging system. Make sure you check every possible angle in your automotive battery before considering a new one.

An automotive battery will run a boat, fridge, or caravan.

Do you really think that? Because, not even close.

An automotive battery — stress on the automotive part — is only meant to work in a vehicle's electronic mainframe. It will NOT work on a boat, fridge, or caravan — so, please just don't even try it.

Using a car battery for either a fridge or caravan will proportionally reduce its life expectancy, and I honestly don't want to know what will happen if you put one in a boat.

Another leading mistake in the myths about your car battery, please buy said equipment for its specified function. Go out and get a battery that is necessary for the particular electronic device. Plus, always read labels. 

Bigger CCAs mean better battery life.

Actually, I can't even really rag you for this one, because it isn't so self-explanatory as the rest.

A cold cranking amp (CCA) and its size don't necessarily pertain to power output, nor does it prove anything in terms of making your battery last longer.

A car's electrical system will remain fixed to the power needed, which is based on its starter motor and electrical system. Hence, that car's particular electrical system will follow the size of its manufactured battery, and the computers regulate that specific level for normal operation.

Using bigger CCAs won't harm the engine or battery, but it will lead to performance issues if improperly maintained. So, don't follow one of the most elusive errors on this list of myths about your car battery. Know your battery and buy the right one wisely.

Replacing a battery without a memory minder is A-okay.

Nope, it's a Grade-A issue in this list of myths about your car battery, so be sure to avoid it.

If you're replacing an automotive battery, please use a memory minder to maintain power throughout the car's system.

If preformed improperly, the computer can lose its memory or the car radio will enact a security lockout, both of which will ensure you a visit to the mechanic. This can be avoided if one just uses a memory minder when reattaching the battery.

In the future, if a friend or relative wants to give advice for automotive battery maintenance, listen to your local mechanic instead. Because, these myths about your car radio will surely lead to engine failure, computer malfunction, or an electrical system shut down — all of which you simply do not need.

Ryan Epps
Ryan Epps

A cosmic adventurer rendering wayward letters into infinite lengths of conception and prose, like quantum streams of pneumatic information

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Myths About Your Car Battery