Q: Will resting a unit on a concrete floor discharge it?
A: It doesn’t matter what type of surface your car battery rests on. Over time, all lead-acid units will naturally discharge. Only the temperature of the electrolyte and the plate chemistry will have an impact on the rate of self-discharge. This applies to all lead-acid makes and models.
Q: Does regularly driving your vehicle ensure full recharging?
A: Yes. A car or marine battery is recharged when the vehicle’s engine is in motion. However, a short inner-city trip or leaving your car idle in the driveway isn’t going to be able to fully recharge your standard vehicle battery. As such, it may require periodic recharging in addition to the charging that occurs while driving.
Q: Will my vehicle battery explode?
A: Despite popular perception, a lead-acid vehicle battery can explode under certain circumstances. Charging a wet lead-acid unit can cause electrolysis of the water, which produces oxygen and hydrogen gasses. These gases can be ignited if sparks are created with jumping, connecting or disconnecting charging cables, which leads to an explosion. Starting explosions are most commonly caused by loose terminal clamps.
Q: Is disconnecting my car battery while the engine is running a good way to test the alternator?
A: Car battery units stabilise or ‘filter’ the voltage produced by the alternator. As such, disconnection can cause peak voltage to rise, which can destroy electronic components or the charging system. This was an accepted practice many decades ago, but because charging systems have changed since then, this is no longer the case.
Q: Do car or marine batteries last longer in hot weather than in cold?
A: Both high and low temperatures can have an impact. Hot climates will, on average, reduce the life of units by one third, while cold reduces the starting capacity.
It is also important to note that “warming up” your car battery on cold days by turning on headlights is not recommended. Doing this reduces the available capacity that can be used to start a cold engine.