Knowledge is power when it comes to your car’s battery and electrical system. In fact, it’s your ride’s heart and soul. The last thing you want is to be left stranded with a dead battery. The more you know about your battery and electrical system, the less likely you’ll get stuck. At Firestone Complete Auto Care, we’re here to help you understand just what’s going on with your vehicle’s battery and electrical system. Generally, Please login to see links and more information. battery required more battery life. Battery Knowledge How exactly does a car battery work? The car battery provides the jolt of electricity necessary to power all the electrical components in your vehicle. Talk about a pretty huge responsibility. Without battery power, your car, as you’ve probably noticed, won’t start. Let’s take a look at how that powerful little box works: A chemical reaction puts your car in action: Your battery converts chemical energy into the electrical energy necessary to power your car, delivering voltage to the starter. Keep the electric current steady: Not only does your battery provide the energy required to start your car, but it’s also stabilizing the voltage (that’s the term for the energy supply) in order to keep your engine running. A lot’s riding on the battery. Call it the ‘little box that could.’ The car battery may be small, but the power it provides is huge. Test your battery now with our Virtual Battery Tester. Symptoms & Procedures Slow engine crank: When you attempt to start the vehicle, the cranking of the engine is sluggish and takes longer than normal to start. You’d best describe it as the “rur rur rur” starting noise sound. Check engine light: The check engine light sometimes appears when your battery power is weak. Strange system indicator lights–such as check engine and low coolant lights–could mean there’s a problem with your battery. (It could also just mean you need more coolant). Low battery fluid level: Car batteries typically have a part of the casing that’s translucent so you can always keep an eye on your battery’s fluid level. You can also inspect it by removing the red and black caps if they are not sealed (most modern car batteries now permanently seal these parts). Bottom line: If the fluid level is below the lead plates (energy conductor) inside, it’s time to have the battery and charging system tested. When fluid levels drop, it’s typically caused by overcharging (heat). The swelling, bloating battery case: If your battery casing looks like it ate a very large meal, this could indicate a battery gone bad. You can blame the excessive heat for causing your battery case to swell, decreasing your battery life. Eww, there’s a stinky, rotten egg smell: You may notice a pungent, rotten egg smell (sulfur odor) around the battery. The cause: Battery leaks. Leaking also causes the corrosion around the posts (where the + and – cable connections are located.) The gunk may need to be removed or your car may not start. Three years + battery age is considered an old timer: Your battery can last well beyond three years but, at the very least, have its current condition inspected on a yearly basis when it reaches the three-year mark. Battery life cycles range from three-to-five years depending on the battery. However, driving habits, weather and frequent short trips (under 20 minutes) can drastically shorten the actual life of your car battery.