Car Battery Care and Inspection UPDATE 12/25/06
See, that is battery acid, bad
check out these car care books over at amazon
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OMG my car won't start....
If you drive a car and wonder about how it works and what gets it started in the morning, i'm about to tell you. Your vehicle has a bunch of things in it that move, turn, open, close, ect. But to do all of this, they all need power, and all the power comes from the battery. The battery is sort of like heart for the car. It is what makes that starter get your car running every morning. Without it, your car would not be able to do anything at all, besides open a door or other latched or hindge parts.
Your car battery is basically just like any other battery, it has two terminals one positive and one negative. Car batters have ratings on them called cranking amps (CA) and cold cranking amps (CCA). Cranking amps is basically how much amperage your batter puts out when you're turning on your vehicle. Cold Cranking Amps is much more important because it is how much cranking amps your batter can put out when it's 32 degrees F. So when it's cold you want to have a higher CCA battery because when it freezes you car may not start.
So that was a quick overview of how it works, now ill tell you how to take car of it, and by it, I mean your battery. A battery has a bunch of lead walls in it and they produce chemical electricity by mixing and moving acid around inside. But when your car bounces around a lot these lead walls loosen up, break off, and can cause your battery to die quickly, or not operate and leave you stranded. To reduce vibration of your battery make sure that your battery is securely strapped down, usually cars have some sort of bracket or tie down to hold it in place. Just make sure to check that it's still there from time to time or that it hasn't become loose.
Another way to keep good care of your battery is to keep it properly charged. To keep it charged right run the vehicle for about an hour at least one time a week. If you drive normally then you don't have to worry about it. By running the car the alternator generates electricity and runs it back to the battery and charges it. Letting your battery die by leaving the key on or the lights and then having to jump start it all the time is bad for your battery, you shouldn't put your battery in such extreme conditions. It needs to have a constant voltage.
Now we can talk about inspection for your battery. It's pretty simple, if you car takes a long time to crank over and feels slow, or it doesn't crank over at all, chances are your battery is bad. If your battery is bad it can still turn on the car, it just may take longer. If you feel your battery may be bad, just take it to your local auto shop and have them test it, they usually don't charge you for it, or charge very little. If it's bad they are very easy to change, just take off the two battery cables, and then remove the holding bracket. When taking off the battery leads, make sure to take the negative (black) lead off first then take off the positive (red). Then when you re install the cables you need to put the red on first then the black last. If you do it backwards there is a chance you could mess up a computer. Dropping batteries is bad, do not do that, you could break open the case and cause acid to leak out. NEVER TOUCH ANYTHING CONDUCTIVE ON THE NEGATIVE AND POSITIVE POST AT THE SAME TIME. You can cause a fire or make a batter go boom, and by boom, I mean explode. Remember, if you have a bad battery, then you're screwed because your car won't do much after that. Take out your heart and see what happens.
If you pop open your hood and see a bunch of blue, yellow, or just weird looking powder on your batter post. That is acid, and that is bad. That means acid has leaked from your battery and is eating away at your battery post and cables. You need to clean this right away with water and a wire brush. You can buy special battery acid neutralizer but water usually will do the trick. Be sure not to inhale any of it because it's not good for you and also it can eat through your clothes after you wash them. If you clean it and the acid comes back, then I recommend replacing your battery and buying battery protectors which sit on your battery post to help keep acid from forming. Acid can build up and go into your battery cables and cause resistance in your electrical systems causing your car to act funny.
So there you have it, some quick simple battery tips for your car. If you have any questions just leave a comment or e-mail me and i'll get back to you, remember, I'm in auto.
So its Christmas and this morning i popped the hood on my girlfriends mom's car and was petrified to see that her battery had a ton of acid on it. I wasn't at work so i have none of my tools to clean it, but have no fear, J-Dawg's secret tricks are here. If you plan on cleaning the acid off your battery, all you have to do is get a large bowl or something of water, add about a tablespoon of baking soda to it per pint of water and mix it up. After you have your special solution then just pour a little bit all over the acid and it starts to eat it away, then get an old toothbrush or something of that nature and just scrub away at the acid. You may need to keep rinsing the acid off of the battery but eventually it will all go away. Battery Acid is just that, acid. If you know anything about chemicals and so forth you know that base chemicals are the opposite of acid and when you mix them they react and eventually become neutral. Anyway, so the baking soda in the solution i told you to make will eat away at the acid and clean it all off, it's just a little secret i have for you if you ever plan on cleaning your own battery. Its really simple to do and i highly recommend everyone checking their battery condition and just cleaning it real quick, takes about 15 minutes. Anyway, Merry Christmas and take care of those cars, they need the love and will reward you if you take care of them.