Battery Service

Huffines Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram Battery Service in Plano, TX

Your car's battery is arguably the most essential part of your vehicle. You need your battery to start your engine, so it's important to make sure it's in good working order. The problem is, it isn't always easy to see when your battery is failing. There are signs, though, if you know what to look for and where to look. At Huffines Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram of Plano, Texas, we understand how critical your battery is and what to look for to determine your battery's health. That is why we test your battery every time you bring your vehicle in for service as part of our free multi-point inspection.


What Does My Battery Do?

Your battery is located under the hood of your car, generally tucked in an out-of-the-way corner. It doesn't whir, or hum, or spin. It merely sits there and quietly provides electrical energy, which is why it can be challenging to spot a failing battery.

Your battery converts its stored chemical energy into electrical energy that powers your engine's starter. Once your engine is running, your battery doesn't stop working. It continues to convert its chemical energy into an electrical current that powers your vehicle's other electrical systems like your lights, infotainment, and more.

Your battery is one piece in a cyclical system of energy conversion. After the starter receives energy from the battery, it then converts that electrical energy into mechanical energy to start the engine. Once your engine is running, it takes that mechanical energy and powers the drive train to propel your vehicle.


Your engine also uses its mechanical energy to operate your alternator. An alternator is a component that converts mechanical energy back into electrical energy and returns it to the battery for storage and later use. Every time you start your car, the cycle starts over again.

Why Do Batteries Fail?

There are various reasons why batteries fail, but you might be surprised to learn that the leading cause of failure isn't a manufacturer's defect but rather how we drive. Your battery is working every time you drive, and continual use will eventually wear down your battery.

Cold Weather

One of the reasons your battery might fail is cold weather. Batteries lose their effectiveness at lower temperatures. At 32 degrees Fahrenheit, your battery is 35% weaker than at 60 degrees or higher. When the temperature drops to zero degrees, your battery is 60% weaker. If your battery is already compromised, these cold temperatures can cause your battery to fail.

A Bad Alternator

Your alternator can cause your battery to fail, and this problem is more common than you might think. If your alternator fails to charge the battery, the battery will drain and fail. This failure doesn't always mean that your battery needs to be replaced. In most cases, all you need is a recharge, but a bad alternator will drain your battery again. Our expert technicians will test your alternator as well as your battery to determine the cause of failure.

Leaving the Lights On

Leaving your headlights or interior lights on for an extended period with the engine off is one of the most common mistakes that cause a battery to fail. Without the alternator sending energy back into the battery, the lights or other electrical components will eventually drain your battery of its charge.

Sulfation

Sulfation is the natural byproduct of the recharging process your battery undergoes every day. Inside your battery are metal plates and acid, a naturally corrosive liquid. The acid discharges sulfates as a result of the energy conversion process. These sulfates crystalize on the metal plates, but this won't result in battery failure immediately. If you run your vehicle long enough to recharge the battery fully, the sulfates remain harmless. Shorter drive times that don't fully recharge the battery cause the sulfates to move from the metal plates back into the acid.

Corroding Metal Plates

Over time, the discharge current on the metal plates within your battery becomes unsustainable. The material in the plate will rust with age, and pieces flake off. It's a natural occurrence resulting from the expansion and contraction that occurs from charging and discharging cycles. The metal plates lose their capacity to charge and discharge, and a brown sludge forms in the bottom of the battery. This sludge will cause the battery to short and fail.

Symptoms of Battery Failure

One of the most common symptoms of a battery beginning to fail is a noticeable strain when you start your engine. The lights may dim, and your accessories powered by electricity like your radio might not work when your car is laboring to start. Sometimes, a blue or green crystalline substance will bloom around your battery terminals. This substance is a natural byproduct of corrosion from sulfation. This buildup is usually the result of frequent short trips. Using a brush to clean up the deposits on and around your battery terminals can improve your battery's ability to charge, but the damage may already be done. These symptoms indicate that your battery could be failing, so you should have it tested immediately to avoid an emergency.

Be Prepared

Battery failure is the leading cause of breakdowns, so you should be prepared. You can purchase a portable jump starter with a battery to provide a temporary charge to get you to our service center. At the very least, you should have jumper cables in your trunk. These tools are inexpensive and will get your car running if your battery fails.

You should be aware that jump-starting your car is a temporary solution. If your battery is dead, it won't hold a charge. The next time you need to start your car, it won't have enough power. If you suspect that your battery is failing, bring your vehicle into Huffines CDJR Plano and have it tested right away. You can schedule service online, or stop by our Express Service Center where our technicians can test and replace your battery quickly and have you back on the road in no time.