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Your Car Battery Just May Be The Cause of Your Problems

Brian England, Tue, Jun 09, 2015

Have you ever said,  “Don’t worry about the car battery; I can handle that,” to your auto technician?

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Recently, in just one week, I came across two cases where customers suggested that we “toss aside” their car battery as the cause of an issue because they perceived that it could not be causing the problem.

Well it seems that these two customers are in very good company.  In a study performed in the southwestern part of the U.S., it was found that car mechanics over looked a possible battery issue 50% of the time! 

So why do customers and auto mechanics over look batteries when it comes to trying to figure out the cause of a car problem? Well it could be that batteries have become such a regular part of our day-to-day lives that we have a heightened sense of familiarity and simplicity.  Think about it.  We are constantly involved with charging our cell phone batteries or replacing batteries in some device.  We deal with them so much that we are lured into thinking it’s “just” a battery.

 

Well, when it comes to cars it’s not “just” a battery!   It’s one of the the most important parts of the car, because when it comes to a properly running automobile, everything relies on the battery being in good condition.

Let’s go back to the two customers…

In the first case, the customer was experiencing a draining battery.  What was happening was that each evening the customer would park the vehicle overnight and by morning the car battery was dead or had a very low charge. In this particular case, the vehicle had two batteries. When the customer came to us with the problem he dismissed changing the batteries, requested that we ignore them and instead, look for something else that was causing the battery to lose it’s charge. Well, as it turned, we found out that in fact, one of the batteries was the cause of the problem.  Good thing we didn’t overlook the battery!

With the second customer, the car owner brought his car in complaining that the whole electrical system would occasionally shut down.  He explained to us that the battery on his Mini Cooper wasn’t very old and that test results had shown it was good, so it couldn’t be the battery.   Well, in this case it turned out that the battery connections were in very poor condition.

So, what’s the take-away from this.  Well, when it comes to car batteries there are four important things to keep in mind.

  1. If a qualified auto mechanic tells you your car battery is marginal, replace it with a good quality battery, and have it installed by a garage.  Don’t wait for your battery to fail and don’t try to do it yourself unless you are an expert.
  2. If your car battery is over 5 years old consider changing it.
  3. To avoid being caught with a battery problem, make sure that the service facility you use checks the car battery and connections at least once a year.
  4. And finally, don’t be a part of  the 50% that misses the diagnosis by asking the auto shop to ignore your car’s battery as a cause of the problem — because it just might be “the battery”.

If you are experiencing a problem with your car starting, check out this article which identifies some common problems that cause cars not to start.

About Brian England

 

Brian England, the current president of BA Auto Care (formerly British American Auto Care) got his start with an auto apprenticeship in a small town in the northwest of London. He came to the U.S. in 1972 to work for a Land Rover dealer in Rockville, MD, and a few years later, started British American Auto Care with his wife, Jennifer. A big believer in preventive auto maintenance, Brian's philosophy is to encourage and educate drivers on the benefits of adhering to a regular maintenance plan.