Eight Myths About Car Batteries – Take the Test
Truth about Batteries: 8 Myths Revealed!
- Setting your battery on concrete will ruin it.
- An AGM battery is a “gel” battery.
- If a battery is dead, all it needs is a jump.
- Starting your vehicle up periodically while in storage is good for the battery.
- An OPTIMA is ruined if it is deeply-discharged.
- Only off-road guys care about vibration-resistance in a battery.
- A longer warranty is always better.
- Dropping a battery will help break up sulfation and restore performance.
Do you agree?
These are all FALSE!
1. Setting your battery on concrete will ruin it.
FALSE! Back in the olden days, batteries had wooden cases, which could expand if they came in contact with moisture, possibly causing damage to those batteries. Wooden cases were then replaced with hard rubber cases. Electrical current could be conducted through those cases, if moisture on the floor allowed the current to find an electrical ground. Modern batteries of today are constructed with polypropylene cases, which is far more insulated than the hard rubber cases of years past. That means not only can you set a new battery on a concrete floor, you can store it there, if the location is also cool and dry. So ditch the 2×4’s, they’re not needed!
2. An AGM battery is a “gel” battery.
FALSE! Although AGM batteries are commonly referred to as “gel” batteries, they are actually absorbed glass mat (AGM) lead-acid batteries. This means you can treat and charge them just like a regular lead-acid battery in most situations. However, some chargers have “gel” or confusing “gel/AGM” settings. Those settings should be avoided, as they will not fully-charge an AGM battery such as an OPTIMA Battery and could damage it over time.
3. If a battery is dead, all it needs is a jump.
FALSE! Most alternators are designed to maintain car batteries, not recharge deeply-discharged batteries. If your battery has been discharged to the point where it won’t start your vehicle without the assistance of a jump-start from another vehicle, you need to make sure your battery is fully recharged with a battery charger as soon as possible. Relying on your alternator to recharge a deeply-discharged battery can lead to a cycle of dead batteries and jump-starts, until either the battery (expensive) or alternator (really expensive) fails.
4. Starting your vehicle up periodically while in storage is good for the battery.
FALSE! If you are storing your vehicle for an extended period of time, the best thing you can do for your battery is keep it properly-maintained with a quality battery tender or maintainer. If that isn’t possible, fully-charge your battery and disconnect it from your vehicle. If you leave your battery connected and start your car up once a month or so, your battery is probably getting slowly discharged over time from parasitic draws in your car’s electrical system and from the energy it takes to start your car. Unless you drive your car for at least 10-15 minutes and a reasonable speed, your alternator may not have a chance to replace the energy used to start your vehicle in the first place.
5. An OPTIMA is ruined if it is deeply-discharged.
FALSE! Deeply-discharging any battery is not a good idea, but deep-cycle batteries are designed specifically to be more resilient in those applications than an SLI (starting/lighting/ignition) battery, which is designed primarily for starting and operating stock accessories. Many battery chargers will not recognize or charge any battery that has been discharged below a certain voltage threshold (usually around 10.5 volts). If your battery has been discharged below that level, you may want to try the parallel charging technique described in the video below. The OPTIMA guys have told us that many of the “bad” batteries returned to them are just deeply-discharged and work fine, when properly recharged. Other folks have apparently figured this out, as we’ve heard stories about folks buying “dead” OPTIMAs, recharging them and selling them at swap meets and we’ve even spotted a few folks selling “refurbished” OPTIMA batteries, which were also probably only deeply-discharged by their original owners.
6. Only off-road guys care about vibration-resistance in a battery.
FALSE! Have you ever watched a drag car pull it’s wheels and slam them back down to the asphalt 60 feet later? Boaters are big fans of vibration-resistant batteries too and OPTIMA batteries are up to 15 times more resistant to vibration than flooded lead-acid batteries. Their sealed design also makes them a safer option if something really bad happens (like an accident).
7. A longer warranty is always better.
FALSE! Not all warranties are created equally. Many warranties are pro-rated, which means the customer pays something when they return their battery for a warranty claim. Some pro-rated warranties start the day you buy your battery, so even if it fails a month later, you have to shell out more cash to get a new battery! Other warranties include specific language that will void your warranty if you happen to deeply-discharge it below a certain voltage level, so it’s a good idea to read the warranty closely before making a purchase. It is also important to remember that unless you were one of those lucky folks who bought a battery from JC Penney with a lifetime warranty, the warranty on your battery will not reset every time you return it. The clock on battery warranties generally starts ticking the day you buy your original battery and while you may get lucky and get a 16-year old kid with one week on the job to give you a new battery after the original warranty expired, don’t count on that always being the case. Most battery companies are willing to take the hit for the first couple of years of ownership, but they don’t want to reward battery abusers with a lifetime supply of batteries or they know they’ll end up like JC Penney.
8. Dropping a battery will help break up sulfation and restore performance.
FALSE! We don’t know who came up with this suggestion, but it is a terrible idea. Anyone who has ever lifted a car battery will tell you they are generally pretty heavy. Drop one on a hard surface and there is a good chance you will crack that fancy polypropylene case. Flooded batteries will begin leaking battery acid all over your floor, although some cracks may not be as noticeable and will wait to start leaking until after you’ve installed them in your freshly-painted engine compartment. Some higher-end battery chargers will have a special “desuflation” mode, which is a far safer and more sensible option. The best way to avoid sulfation is to keep your battery fully-charged at all times.
Disclosure: MyRideisMe.com is sponsored by Optima Batteries.
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