Battery maintance

Auto Batterys June 13, 2013

Hello, welcome to Triangle Auto Service. Todayís focus is batteries. It seems like everything in Chicago runs on batteries. Of course, the batteries weíre most concerned with here at Triangle Auto Service are those in our customerís vehicles. Just like the batteries in our smoke detectors or TV remote, car batteries wear out and need to be replaced. There are a couple of things Chicago drivers should know when looking for a new battery.
Look for two measurements that come into play: cold cranking amps and reserve capacity.
Letís start with cold cranking amps. This can be thought of as the power output used to start a cold Minivan engine. The number of cold cranking amps you need depends on your vehicle and where you live in Illinois, specifically how cold it is. (Many Illinois auto owners have first-hand experience trying to start their car on a cold winter morning.) The two factors are that the colder your vehicles engine is, the more power it takes to turn the engine over to get it started. It has all that cold, sluggish oil to contend with.
The other factor is that the chemical reaction in the battery that creates electrical energy is less efficient when the temperature dips. At Triangle Auto Service, we consult the table shown below. Letís say itís eighty degrees Fahrenheit in Chicago. At that temperature, 100% of the batteryís power is available. At freezing, only 65% of battery power is available, but it requires 155% as much power to start the engine as it did at eighty degrees.
As you can see from the chart, the colder it gets, more powerís needed, but the available power drops.
Percent of Power Available
Power Required

So if you live where itís cold in Illinois, you need a battery with more cold cranking amps than you do where itís moderate or hot. The battery that originally came with your Minivan was based on averages. At Triangle Auto Service, we like to remind Chicago auto owners that they should always get at least as many cold cranking amps as their auto makers recommend, but may want to upgrade if they live where it gets real cold.
And the type of engine you have will impact the battery you need: A six-cylinder engine requires more cold cranking amps than a four. An eight cylinder needs even more. And diesel Minivans require more than a gasoline engine with the same number of cylinders.
Now on to reserve capacity: Itís a measurement of the number of minutes of reserve power the battery has at a given load. The number is more important to Chicago auto owners these days because of parasitic drain. Parasitic drain is the battery energy thatís used when the key is off in your Minivan. So, the power drawn by the security system, the remote start system, even the power the computers require to maintain their memory.
Reserves are also needed when you make very short trips around Chicago. Youíre not driving long enough for the battery to recover the energy it used to start the engine. So go with the minimum recommended by your manufacturer or Triangle Auto Service and upgrade if you need more.
Talk with us at Triangle Auto Service about your options. If you need more from your battery, a larger, heavy-duty battery may be called for. At Triangle Auto Service in Chicago, we remind our customers that itís very important that the new battery fits your Minivan: the terminals canít be touching other parts.
Batteries are a big ticket item for most Illinois auto owners, so the warranty gives piece of mind. Thereíre two kinds of car battery warranties: pro-rated and free replacement. With the pro-rated, you get a credit for a portion of the battery if it fails during the warranty period. With a free replacement warranty, you get just that, a free replacement. Be sure to ask us at Triangle Auto Service about the warranty so you know what youíre getting.,,


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