Check your battery before it is too late

Posted on November 24th, 2021 by GEM Motoring Assist

While GEM’s breakdown service takes the sting out of an early morning non-start, even we cannot reduce the inconvenience to zero. As with many things in life, a little preparation can prevent the hassle from occurring altogether.

While 12-volt car batteries enjoy relatively little demand during the summer, warm conditions can accelerate internal deterioration. The weakened state does not reveal itself, until the colder winter months arrive. Therefore, GEM recommends that you have the battery tested.


Checking the charge (volts)

Battery life is linked directly to how well charged it is kept throughout its life. The state of charge is checked by measuring the voltage. The battery experiences internal deterioration (‘sulphation’), once the charge reduces below 12.5 volts, which reduces its capacity. As many cars cannot charge their batteries fully, helping the battery out with a smart charger is a wise idea.


Checking the capacity (amps)

Battery capacity reduces naturally over time. This rate accelerates dependent on for how long and how much the charge drops below 12.5-volts. The remaining capacity is measured with the battery charged fully, using special equipment and compared with the “CCA” rating marked on the battery sticker.

Generally, an excessive loss of capacity weakens the battery to such an extent that it cannot start the engine. Lost capacity cannot be restored. The only solution is a replacement battery.


Battery supply update

Another reason to try and extend battery life is down to supply. Several manufacturers of automotive lead-acid batteries revealed to GEM that summer demand has been unusually high. Owners not charging their batteries during lockdown have been the leading cause, resulting in voltages falling below 12.5 for long periods.

Rising material and transport costs also lead to price increases, making further justifications for motorists to pay extra attention to their batteries before the cold weather arrives.