How Do Car Batteries Work?

The average lifespan of a car battery is three to four years. Some people are lucky and get five years out of their batteries. If you are starting to have problems starting your automobile or notice that your headlights are too dim, it’s possible that your battery is dying. Car batteries are amazing auto parts that utilize chemical reactions in order to produce power. Let’s talk more about this below.

A Basic Overview

A car battery uses both lead and acid to create electricity out of chemical energy. The plates or cells inside the battery are made of lead. The acid inside the battery is sulfuric acid. Generally, the acid is mixed with water. When you cover the lead cells with sulfuric acid, you get a chemical reaction that can actually generate electricity. You may have learned about this if you took chemistry in high school.

More Detail

Standard car batteries have six cells. These cells are placed in a row inside the plastic battery case. The cell contains two different lead plates. One plate is made from lead dioxide, and the other plate is made from lead. Each cell produces 2 volts of energy. Simple math tells you that a car battery is a 12-volt battery. This is the standard size and power production of standard car batteries.

As we mentioned above, the battery cells are covered in sulfuric acid and water. This causes a chemical reaction to occur between the lead and lead dioxide plates. This chemical reaction produces lead sulfate and ions. The ions move around the lead plates. When this happens, you end up with hydrogen and lead sulfate production. This is the chemical reaction that occurs inside your car battery.

Ions and Electricity

As the ions move around the lead plates, they generate electricity. This electricity is sent to both the positive and negative terminals of the battery. As you know, you have cables that are connected to the battery terminals. These cables take the electricity and disperse it throughout the engine to help power your vehicle’s starter and some of the other electrical systems.

As we mentioned above, your battery could be dying if you are having difficulties starting your automobile or the headlights are dimmer than they normally would be. Other signs that you need a new car battery include leaking sulfuric acid that smells like rotten eggs and a cracked or bubbling battery case. Bring your vehicle to our shop if you need a new battery installed.

Photo by ra-photos from Getty Images Signature via Canva Pro

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