Battery

Positive and Negative (Battery Care)

You notice when your smartphone's battery starts to go weak on you.  It runs out of juice faster than it did when it was new.  Bet you pay attention to that pretty closely.

Unfortunately, many of us don't pay the same attention to the battery in our vehicles. If your battery got you through the cold-weather months, you might be thinking you're all set until next winter. But you might be surprised to learn this: Hot weather is harder on a battery than cold weather.  (Note: we're talking about a conventional vehicle here, not an all-electric, plug-in one.)

 The way your vehicle's battery holds a charge is that it has chemicals inside it, and they react with each other to produce electricity.  A vehicle battery discharges electricity and then needs to be recharged.  Unlike your smartphone that you plug in each night to charge, the way a vehicle's battery gets recharged is by using the mechanical energy of the engine.  It's a pretty cool system that's been around for a while.  An alternator changes the mechanical energy into electricity that then charges the battery.  And your vehicle is designed to charge it just the right amount with a voltage regulator. If your battery constantly gets too much voltage, it could stop holding a charge. 

Another way a vehicle battery loses its ability to hold a charge is when it gets hot.  In warmer weather, some fluids in your battery evaporate which can damage some of its internal components.  Then, you've got a dead battery.

Back to your smartphone for a second, it probably has a little indicator or maybe an app that shows you how healthy it is or how much charge it's holding.  Well, your service repair facility has equipment that can test your vehicle's battery for the same things.  If that test shows you need a new battery, then it's probably time to replace it.

A technician can also check to see your battery is being charged at the correct rate.  If you have a battery that is not sealed, a technician can check to see it needs more water added to it.  The technician will also make sure dirt or other contaminants aren't acting as electrical conductors and discharging the battery.  Plus, your battery's terminals may need cleaning.

Most people just forget about their vehicle's battery until there's a big problem with it. Here's one rule of thumb: expect a battery's life to be about 5 years. Just like you wouldn't want your smartphone to leave you without any way to make phone calls or send texts, you wouldn't want your vehicle to leave you stranded with no way to start it, would you?   

When it comes time to make that new battery choice, your service advisor can offer you some good options, taking into account the climate you drive in, what you use your vehicle for and what your budget is.  Hey, your smartphone's battery is all charged up.  How about calling your service advisor for an appointment right now?

Wired! (Battery Cable Service)

Colder weather brings out the worst in a vehicle's battery.  On a very cold day, you may have experienced that your engine cranks slowly when starting.  But while it may be the battery itself, it may also be the parts that transfer the power to other the other electrical components, the battery cables.  After all, you have to have some way to get the current out of the battery and out to where it needs to go.

Battery cables have a couple of enemies: corrosion and age.  You may have looked under the hood and noticed a light-colored powder or crust around the terminals.  That's what happens when acids corrode the ends of the battery terminals.  Corrosion inhibits the connection and may reduce the amount of power getting to the electrical accessories to the point where they are not working correctly, if at all.

Here are some symptoms of problems with your battery cables. You might notice a clicking sound when you turn the key, some of your vehicle's electrical parts (like the sound system or the horn) don't work or, in some cases, the vehicle won't start at all.

When you take your vehicle to a repair facility, the technician will use instruments to check voltages to see how much current is getting to what location. That includes a starter draw test during which the battery's voltage is checked when the starter is cranked.  The technician will also visually inspect the cables and the charging system. To make sure the alternator is putting out the right voltage, the technician will measure that as well. 

If the problem is found to be the battery cable assembly, the entire set may have to be replaced. Sometimes they can be repaired. 

During the colder months, it's vital that your vehicle has the proper power going to its electrical components.  Having a vehicle that won't start or run smoothly is not something you want to battle with when you're already up against challenging weather.  Keep your electrons flowing… and your vehicle moving.


PDR
1008 N. Cunningham Avenue
Urbana, Illinois 61802
217-367-9481
http://www.pdrauto.com

Taking the Heat (Batteries in Hot Weather)

Quick question.  Which is tougher on a vehicle's battery, the heat or the cold? Believe it or not, it's the heat.  Think about it.  The battery often sits in the engine compartment next to that motor generating lots of heat.  That can accelerate corrosion in the battery and may even cause water in it to evaporate.  That will weaken the cranking power of your battery and shorten its life span.

To take care of your battery, here are a few suggestions.  It's a good idea to have it checked out to see what shape it's in.  At your vehicle service facility, they have diagnostic equipment that can evaluate its condition.  That can help you know how long you can expect it to last before having to replace it.  At the same time, you should have your charging system evaluated.  If your battery is not getting charged properly, it can be in great shape but not very useful when it comes to starting your vehicle.  A technician will also check the cable connections that should be free of corrosion and tight.

Keep in mind that under certain conditions, a vehicle battery can cause an explosion if close to an electrical spark.  This is why the safe way to go is to have a qualified, trained technician do the work. 

Your battery is important both in hot and cold weather.  When it comes to starting your vehicle, make sure it's always up to the job.

PDR
1008 N. Cunningham Avenue
Urbana, Illinois 61802
217-367-9481
http://www.pdrauto.com

A Stitch in Time at PDR

You probably have heard that expression, "A stitch in time saves nine." In other words, if you fix an issue at its early stages, it will prevent a much more difficult problem later. That's certainly the case with your vehicle, and here's a true story to demonstrate it.

A driver noticed his vehicle was due for an oil change, so he took it in to his service facility early in the morning so he could wait while the work was performed. The technician routinely checks the battery on vehicles just before extreme weather is approaching (cold or hot), so with winter coming up, he hooked up the load tester (it measures voltage while a load is put on the battery). It showed the battery wasn't holding a charge well.

The technician checked the manufacturing date on the battery, too (most batteries have a date stamped in code somewhere on them). The date showed it was five years old. While batteries can last more than five years, many technicians say you should expect to get anywhere from three to six years out of them, depending on what they go through.

So, this battery was getting a little long in the tooth, and it wasn't holding a charge particularly well. But how much current was it being sent by the vehicle's alternator? If it wasn't getting enough, that might be a factor. A test of the charging system showed the alternator was putting out the correct amount of power. The technician recommended replacing the battery, and the driver agreed.

That was the stitch in time. Had the technician not checked the battery, that driver likely would have been stranded the next time he tried to start his vehicle on a very cold day. What originally was supposed to be just an oil change led to a technician's sharp diagnosis and a little preventative maintenance for one fortunate driver. Sometimes timing is everything.

PDR
1008 N. Cunningham Avenue
Urbana, Illinois 61802
217-367-9481
http://www.pdrauto.com

Battery Maintenance Tips From PDR

When it comes to your vehicle, it all starts with the battery. Proper battery maintenance is important for two reasons:

First, your vehicle won't start or run without it. Second, it is the key to the long life of your auto electrical system. If your battery isn't working efficiently, your alternator has to work overtime to make up for it, and other electrical components can suffer as well.

A number of years ago sealed batteries were introduced to the local Urbana, Illinois, market. They were hailed as being 'maintenance-free batteries.' While it is true that you can't get in and adjust the electrolyte levels of a sealed battery, it is by no means maintenance free.

Batteries are very sensitive to changes in the weather around Illinois. Temperature really affects auto battery performance. A battery inspection is an important part of your spring and fall checkups. Next time you're under your hood, take a look at your battery.

  • Is it clean and free of residue? A dirty battery will drain.
  • Is there corrosion at the terminals where the battery cables attach to the battery? If there is, the corrosion can interfere with how efficiently electricity passes back and forth from the battery.
  • Are the cables loose? Make sure they are tight.
  • Are the cables themselves corroded? Corrosion can actually eat through the battery cables.

PDR service advisors can inspect and test your battery. If the inspection warrants a cleaning, have it done. If the battery test indicates that replacement of the battery or cables is in order, you will be lucky to have caught the problem before it becomes a major inconvenience.

Your battery will also last longer if you keep your fuel system and ignition system clean. It's all part of your commitment to regular maintenance, to keep your vehicle running on Urbana streets at its best for a long, long time.

PDR
1008 N. Cunningham Avenue
Urbana, Illinois 61802
217-367-9481
http://www.pdrauto.com

Automotive Tips from PDR: Making a Battery Last Longer

One thing all Urbana drivers can do to extend the life of their battery is to keep it clean. A greasy, dirty battery holds in damaging heat. Same goes for removing corrosion from the terminals. PDR can help maintain your battery.

Allowing your battery to be deeply depleted – like from using your headlights when the engine is off – is very harmful to your battery. Most automotive batteries can only take that about 10 times before they are ruined.

Also, making sure you have a full charge every month or so extends battery life. Either an extended drive at freeway speeds around the Urbana are or using a battery charger will preserve your battery’s ability to hold a full charge.

Give us a call.

PDR
1008 N. Cunningham Avenue
Urbana, Illinois 61802
217-367-9481
http://www.pdrauto.com

Need a New Battery? Call PDR Today

Hello Urbana drivers! Need a new battery? There is a good chance that you do – 70% of batteries need to be replaced within four years. As your battery discharges and then recharges as you drive around Urbana, bits of the surface of the battery plates disintegrate. As this process continues over a few years, the alternator has to work harder to supplement the battery charge. Over time, enough of the battery is damaged that it can no longer hold a charge and it needs to be replaced. This also speeds up wear on the alternator.

Your PDR service advisor can help you determine the right vehicle replacement battery for the way you drive around Urbana, as well as the Illinois climate and durability needs.

Contact PDR for information on battery replacement.

Give us a call.

PDR
1008 N. Cunningham Avenue
Urbana, Illinois 61802
217-367-9481
http://www.pdrauto.com

PDR Alternator Replacement Service in Urbana

Your vehicle alternator doesn't get enough credit. Though your battery gets your engine started, after that – it's all about the alternator. 

Driving around Urbana is a lot of work for your alternator, and as upgrades such as heated steering wheels, cooled seats, stability control and lane departure warning become more common, it will have to work even harder. Eventually this workhorse just wears out. When it does you have no choice but to order an alternator replacement because your vehicle won't run without one. 

Come see your friendly and professional service advisor at PDR to learn more.

PDR
1008 N. Cunningham Avenue
Urbana, Illinois 61802
217-367-9481
http://www.pdrauto.com

Automotive Tips from PDR: Battery Testing

The simple fact is that 70% of car batteries fail within 4 years. They just need to be replaced at PDR when they are no longer able to hold a full charge.

Batteries are a big ticket item for most Urbana drivers and it’s tempting to put off buying a new one as long as possible. But a battery that cannot hold a full charge requires the alternator to work extra hard, causing it to wear out prematurely.

Your PDR service advisor can test your battery to see if it should be replaced. Testing is a good idea for Illinois drivers because a battery might still be good, but become dead because of a bad alternator or even a worn serpentine belt and tensioner.

PDR
1008 N. Cunningham Avenue
Urbana, Illinois 61802
217-367-9481
http://www.pdrauto.com

Professional Auto Maintenance at PDR Automotive Inc.: Battery Testing

The simple fact is that 70% of car batteries fail within 4 years. They just need to be replaced when they are no longer able to hold a full charge.

Batteries are a big ticket item for most Urbana auto owners and it’s tempting to put off buying a new one as long as possible. But a battery that cannot hold a full charge requires the alternator to work extra hard, causing it to wear out prematurely.

Your PDR Automotive Inc. service professional can test your battery to see if it should be replaced. Testing is a good idea for Illinois car owners because a battery might still be good, but become dead because of a bad alternator or even a worn serpentine belt and tensioner.

Give us a call

PDR Automotive Inc.
217-367-9481
1008 N. Cunningham Avenue
Urbana, Illinois 61802