Positives and Negatives Myths About Batteries

Consumer and Technical Services (CATS) July 03, 2019

When most people talk about batteries, they’re grumbling about the things in their flashlight or remote control that aren’t working. Like car insurance, a lot of folks only notice them when they’re needed and aren’t there. Batteries are the Rodney Dangerfield of car parts: no respect.

Let’s bust a few myths about batteries. Their out-of-sight-out-of-mind role in the operation of our cars often relegate them to the back burner so that when myths about them crop up, there aren’t too many knowledgeable people with whom to verify the tales.

That’s where our crop of CAA Experts come in. They can help you with the process of testing and checking your car’s battery after a harsh winter; that way, summer will be nothing but smooth driving. Members can take this quiz to help determine the state of their car’s battery or, preferably, give us a call to get a battery test scheduled at one of our approved service stations.

Before that, get amped up for these current myths about batteries. They’re free of charge and won’t hertz a bit.

Canadian Idle.

Sometimes, we all could use a boost – especially if our car’s battery is dead from cold or leaving the headlights on all night. One myth that has cropped up over the years is that driving your car or letting it idle after boosting its battery is a sure-fire way to recharge the thing. That’s not always the case. In some instances, the battery was so far depleted that no amount of charging it up via the alternator is going to help, leaving you with a fistful of no-go the next time you try and start the car. Best to get the battery tested immediately after a boost to see if it need replacement.

Unplugged.

Some folks recommend unhooking your car’s battery if you plan to leave the vehicle undriven for an extended length of time. Before the current era of massive in-car computerization, this idea had some merit. These days, disconnecting the battery could do more harm than good thanks to all those computer systems which often don’t appreciate being withheld power for extended periods of time. A better option? Connect a trickle charger to the battery of a car that’s going to be unused for a while. This will keep the battery’s charge at or near peak performance.

Concrete Jungle.

If you have removed the battery from your car for some reason, a myth which may find its way into your ear might be the one which suggests storing that battery on a concrete floor will drain the thing fast. Like all good myths, this has its roots in truth, back when car batteries were encased by hard rubber. This material was porous, potentially allowing the battery acid to seep through and create a conductive path to the cold or wet concrete causing the battery to go flat. These days, battery casings are made of much sterner materials.

Maintain This.

Modern car batteries are often marketed as “maintenance free” units, implying drivers don’t need to look at them for the life of their vehicle. This isn’t entirely true. While it is accurate one no longer needs to measure electrolyte levels or add fluid to a modern sealed battery, it still needs attention to stay in top shape. All battery terminals corrode over time due to electrolysis caused by current passing through the dissimilar metals of the battery posts and terminals. It shows up as white ‘fuzz’ and can hamper the flow of electricity, possibly causing a no-start condition or other electric wonkiness. Ask your mechanic to check and, if necessary, clean the terminals during services such as an oil change.

Have More Questions?

Get more information about battery health and take our, “Are You Battery Savvy” quiz now to test your knowledge.

Article Written by: Matthew Guy.