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Your vehicle requires a lot of power to work, and engine power alone is not quite enough. It also needs electricity for a number of purposes, like starting the engine and powering various accessories. This means the electrical system is an important component, and it all starts with one thing: your battery. The alternator, wiring looms, and other electricity-carrying and generating parts are important, but everything else needs a working battery to begin its role.

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Having a working vehicle battery is important because it stores the electricity your engine needs even while you have parked the vehicle. The battery is where the starter motor draws the electricity from when you turn the key in the morning. It also allows a number of accessories, like clocks, to run while you have left the vehicle without the engine running, so you do not have to reset everything every time you start the vehicle.

The battery is actually quite a complex part, even though it looks very simple (but heavy) when you are replacing it. It uses lead plates, usually called the lead-acid type, and they sit in the middle of the battery where they are surrounded by an electrolyte solution of sulfuric acid and water. As the battery sends power to the engine and accessories, those lead plates turn into lead sulfate, and then when the battery is being recharged, they will turn back to lead dioxide. The lead dioxide plates then react with the electrolyte solution, which is what generates and stores electricity.

Unfortunately, because of this amount of complexity, there are always problems waiting to go wrong. For instance, a lack of electrolyte acid will cause the battery to create and store less electricity than it needs, and this can lead to the battery breaking down earlier than it is designed to. Driving short trips, and then leaving the vehicle turned off for a long period, can also cause problems, because the battery is not able to recharge properly on those short trips and it will begin to suffer. These problems can start small, but all end with the same thing: a dead battery.

However, before the battery reaches the very end of its life, there are sometimes warnings that you can look for. One symptom is that there is a lot of corrosion on the top of the battery and on the leads, which can show that it is leaking and is going to stop working relatively soon. You may also notice it is difficult to start the vehicle, and you have to turn the key for a long time, which is a big warning on its own. The easiest way to determine how well your battery is doing is to use electronic testers, because they can give you an exact reading and allow you to guess how long you have left with your battery.

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Guides & Articles

  • Auto Repair Parts
    By definition, an automotive battery is an electrochemical device that stores and provides electrical energy on demand. Electrical energy is produced inside the battery by a chemical reaction occurring between two dissimilar plates immersed in an electrolyte solution. When the battery is discharging, it changes chemical energy into electrical energy and releases current. During charging, electrical energy is converted back into chemical energy and stored.
  • Auto Repair Parts
    Hybrids are everywhere these days and can be defined as, "any vehicle combining two or more sources of power which can directly or indirectly provide propulsion." Although all hybrid vehicles on the market today use batteries as one of the power sources, there are different mechanical layouts and operational approaches in the way electric motors function alongside gasoline combustion engines. Those that use a combustion engine to generate electrical power are described simply as "hybrids", while vehicles with larger battery packs that can also be recharged with an electrical cord are known as "plug-in hybrids". Vehicles with electric motors and without combustion engines are not considered hybrids, because they are "pure electric" vehicles. These so-called "EVs" are outside the scope of what we are covering here.

Replacement Batteries Reviews

Average rating:  5  4.9 - 19 reviews
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4.8 of 5
1965 Chevy El Camino / Posted by Robert (Bixby, OK) /

The clip was needed to complete the original look and to properly secure the + cable coming from the starter. Great on my part, go to the company with the right item all the time!

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