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Car Battery

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Car Battery

One of the main reasons for cars failing to start is insufficient power in the battery which can frequently be caused by a combination of cold weather, the engine not being run long enough to replace the charge along with the age of the battery.
So I would be interested to know if anyone who owns a car which they only use for short journeys and do not keep their car in a garage attempt to avoid problems by frequently using a battery charger. .?
If so how frequently do you use it ?
Is it also necessary to disconnect the battery from the car before charging assuming you are using an  " intelligent charger " by intelligent  charger I mean not one of the very old chargers which consisted of  little more than a transformer and rectifier.
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RobPN
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Re: Car Battery

Quote from: gleneagles
So I would be interested to know if anyone who owns a car which they only use for short journeys and do not keep their car in a garage attempt to avoid problems by frequently using a battery charger. .?

Yes, I do.
Quote from: gleneagles
If so how frequently do you use it ?

About once a month, especially during the winter when more electrical 'features' will by necessity be used.  However, despite good intentions, the monthly schedule is usually not strictly met!  It won't do any harm if you do it more often if you're using an intelligent charger, and may even be necessary if you start the engine frequently but don't drive far.
Quote from: gleneagles
Is it also necessary to disconnect the battery from the car before charging assuming you are using an  " intelligent charger " by intelligent  charger I mean not one of the very old chargers which consisted of  little more than a transformer and rectifier.

Some battery charger instructions tell you to disconnect the battery whilst charging, but I very rarely have and it hasn't caused any damage.  I always try and remember to connect/switch the mains supply after connecting the clips to the battery, and disconnect/switch the mains supply before disconnecting the clips, i.e. connect/disconnect the clips only when the mains supply is not switched on.
Having bought some fairly expensive 'intelligent' chargers over the years which IMO have failed too quickly to get full value from them (all of the heavy transformer type), I recently spotted an 'intelligent' switched-mode (light-weight) charger in ALDI for £13.99 (ISTR).  I've only used it a couple of times so far but it seems to be OK, and if it lasts anywhere beyond it's 3-year guarantee period then I'll consider it better value than the ones I've previously owned.
Which reminds me, I need to follow up on making a claim for a replacement for my 2.75 year old Samsung Smart TV from John Lewis under the 5-year guarantee!
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Re: Car Battery

To be fair, i've never really had any problems with the battery but i've nearly always done long journeys.. not just a trip to the postbox at the top of the road  Tongue
Also the cars I drive tend to get very hot very quickly and then hold their heat for many hours keeping the battery nice and snug for most of the night.
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Re: Car Battery

My "rule of thumb"... on car batteries.....
As soon as the cold weather starts, keep a watch and listen, to see how your engine fires up.... at the first sign of it "dragging it`s heels"... go to your phone and ring around for battery prices, then get a new one...
It will not last the winter if you don`t .... and you WILL regret it on a very cold and frosty morning ( or evening) when you most need it....
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Re: Car Battery

I had this issue with my old Mondeo, original battery 10 years old. Short trips (<3miles) during the winter it would drop so far it wouldn't start.
I tried charging regularly (weekly) but it was just too far gone. So replaced it .. new battery in for 4 weeks and car gets scrapped! (Kept battery!)
I even added a socket outside so I could run the cable direct to the charger rather than an extension.
My current car is also 10 years old, and I think this battery is going the same way.  Slow to turnover when cold, I will try charging it weekly again and if it doesn't hold then fit my new battery to it (which has been kept float charged for past year +)
I also use the Adli charger, its a bit temperamental if your battery is way low, but I like the way it stops charging when up to spec. Or you can select the final setting and it keeps pumping charge in  (not recommended).
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Re: Car Battery

In the last 20 or so years I've only had a flat battery twice. Once when I parked up and inadvertently left the hazards on while visiting my dad in hospital. The other time was when SWMBO left the headlights on.
Not had any issues with cold weather starts when I had the Nissans. To be fair we didn't really have much of a cold spell last year so not too sure how the Zafira would cope - well, I expect Wink

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Re: Car Battery

Quote
My "rule of thumb"... on car batteries.....
As soon as the cold weather starts, keep a watch and listen, to see how your engine fires up.... at the first sign of it "dragging it`s heels"... go to your phone and ring around for battery prices, then get a new one...
It will not last the winter if you don`t .... and you WILL regret it on a very cold and frosty morning ( or evening) when you most need it....
How true Embarrassed I had to replace a battery last year for the first time in many years!. The car wasn't 3 years old but I had noticed it was not quite as quick to start as it had been. Sure enough when I came back from holiday in March it wouldn't start for my daughter who was picking us up from the airport. The really annoying thing was it was a lease car and was being replaced in May anyway!. I put the short battery life down to automatic headlights, on dark mornings the headlights came on as soon as you turned the ignition on. I'm sure the extra load of the lights when starting it took it out of the battery. I know I won't leave this one ( the new car ) in automatic lights mode...
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Re: Car Battery

My previous car was a Vauxhall Sintra which had a battery with weird screw terminals on the side of the battery. It was difficult to find replacement batteries other than the manufacturer units. They had a design fault which led to the batteries expiring in less than 18 months without warning. I'd been stranded a few times as a consequence.  Then my local garage discovered Varta had a suitable battery, that one not only cost less than the Vauxhall batteries, it lasted for over three years until I came to dispose of the Sintra. So far as I know it is still okay as I occasionally see the old bus driving around.
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Re: Car Battery

This is the time if year that batteries fail and I have just replaced mine. Dark mornings damp cold conditions!
Batteries will need to generate 100-200 amps for a few seconds during starting which actually doesn't take much of the charge of the battery
The biggest problems are discharge over longer periods such as leaving lights on or equally dampness allowing discharge. Also increasing internal resistance and other deteriation in the battery internal structure over time. 
When in the business of supplying emergency generators we used to change batteries every two years and they were on permanent charge. One of the favourite addons to ensure starting was a sump heater to reduce the viscosity of the oil.
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Re: Car Battery

Have only in the last hour returned from Kwik Fit having the (afore mentioned in another topic) tyres fitted, while I was there had a new battery fitted as well. My usual independent garage stocks and fits Varta batteries which I had fitted to the previous car and excellent it is too. Have no information on the Platinum batteries supplied by KF, so don't know if I should have waited and gone to my usual garage.
Or, is a car battery pretty much the same whatever brand you buy?
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Re: Car Battery

Lead Acid batteries differ widely in quality and construction. A car battery is constructed differently from a leisure battery or UPS battery even though the underlying concept is the same. Using a car battery in a UPS would shorten battery life..  Some are wet cell, some use acid gel, some use a lead/lithium alloy, some use glass matting to hold the electrolyte etc etc Some manufacturers cut corners when making batteries and others over-engineer.
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Re: Car Battery

Quote from: Hairy
I tried charging regularly (weekly) but it was just too far gone. So replaced it .. new battery in for 4 weeks and car gets scrapped! (Kept battery!)

Reminds me of an advert i saw in someones window once when i was out working "Car battery, £10". Knocked on his door, turned out it was the battery for his camper van. He bought the battery new, camper gave up the ghost a month later so he scrapped it. £90 battery from halfords with just under 3 years of warranty left on it for a tenner.. and it was the same battery for my car  Shocked Needless to say I handed over my tenner super quick!
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Re: Car Battery

@7up..... No.... car batteries differ very markedly, with manufacturer.... and I have an example.... which, relates to my previous post..
My old skoda would start up almost instantly,  then one morning, it was very very cold... and it groaned, before actually turing over and starting.... so i went to a local motor factors, and asked for the same battery number/type 
original battery was Oldham..... XXX (where xxx is battery number/type)...    after 3 years it gave up and I replaced it with a "known make" ( to me...as I used to be in the motor trade)... but can`t remember which make now... it was considerably cheaper than the Oldham, so well pleased...it, also lasted 3 years...  when my story begins...
After fitting the new battery all seemed well for the day... and the following morning, it was very very cold again... no problem, I thought... car has new battery and will start.... but it did not... it didn`t even "groan"... yet it was the same number/type as previous battery.. .. so I got them to deliver out the " correct  battery for the car, according to their listing" as opposed to replacing it with another "same" battery... It was 20% more expensive and a different make to the failed "new" one... but did work on the following cold mornings....
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Re: Car Battery

When I bought my 06 Focus 20 months ago, one of the questions I asked was how old is the battery.
The couldn't tell me and suggested it could be the original one fitted at the factory (I somehow doubt that).
Having had a good look at it all there is on the battery is a FORD label so I've no idea. However it spins the engine quickly and starts it just as quickly even on a cold day so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
The last time I bought a car battery it was from this company http://www.batterymegastore.co.uk and the battery was at a good price and arrived very quickly. (The carrier driver wasn't too happy at the weight).
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Re: Car Battery

Quote from: Petlew
My usual independent garage stocks and fits Varta batteries which I had fitted to the previous car and excellent it is too.

@Strat, When this battery was fitted to my older Toyota Avensis (52 plate) at 112K earlier this year, it seems the old battery showed all the signs of being the original fit from new. Which would of made it better part of 11 years old. It just died suddenly.
Experience; is something you gain, just after you needed it most.

When faced with two choices, simply toss a coin. It works not because it settles the question for you. But because in that brief moment while the coin is in the air. You suddenly know what you are hoping for.