Car Battery Guide

Winter is upon us and with that comes the dreaded task of winterizing our cars. For most of us, this means uncovering our cars from their cozy cocoons of blankets and tarps and making sure the battery is still intact. As we go through the process of getting our cars ready for colder weather, it’s important to remember one crucial component: the battery. Engineered to start a car in cold weather, car batteries are essential for anyone living in a climate where snow and freezing temperatures are the norms. But what exactly is a car battery and how does it work? Let’s take a closer look.

Anatomy of a Car Battery

Car batteries are made up of six cells that are connected in series to produce 12 volts. The cells are made up of positive and negative lead plates that are submerged in an electrolyte solution. The lead plates interact chemically with the electrolyte solution to create an electrochemical reaction that produces electrons. It’s this flow of electrons that provides the power needed to start your car engine.

When you turn the key in your ignition, you’re completing an electrical circuit that connects your battery to your starter motor. This action creates a magnetic field that causes the starter motor to move, which then starts your engine. The battery continues to provide power to run other components in your car like the headlights, radio, and windshield wipers as long as the engine is off. Once you start your engine, it takes over supplying power to these components while also providing power to charge the battery.

Types of Car Batteries

Lead-acid batteries have been around for decades and are still used in most cars today. They’re made up of lead-acid cells that interact with each other to produce electricity. Lead-acid batteries are maintenance-free but will need to be replaced every three to five years on average. AGM batteries are another newer type of car battery that uses thin glass mats between lead acid cells to trap electrolyte solutions and prevent leakage or spillage.

Photo by venturecx from Getty Images via Canva Pro

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