Types of Car Batteries and How They Work
Car batteries are essential components of your car. The battery provides the electrical energy necessary for starting a car. Additionally, the battery powers various components of a vehicle, like radio and lights. However, one must note that isn't a single car battery that is perfect for all the types of cars. There are many types of car batteries available in the market.
To keep up with ever-increasing demand, many newer battery types have come about. This blog will focus on the different options of car batteries and which one is suitable for your car.
What Are Different Types of Car Batteries?
Given below are details of types of battery:
1. Lead Acid Battery
These car batteries are designed to provide service for a longer period. People across the world use lead-acid car batteries.
How Does It Work: This battery has four main elements—positive plate, negative plate, separator and electrolyte. A plastic container is used to hold these components together. One needs to charge the battery to enable it to produce voltage.
Additionally, one needs to provide above 2.1 volts to facilitate the flow of current into a cell. After one charges a lead acid battery, it will be able to charge external circuits and operate for quite a few hours.
Function: These batteries are famous worldwide because of their convenience and reasonable price. Many experts believe lead-acid batteries are the best option for traditional internal combustion automotive vehicles. In these cars, these batteries supply power for all major functions, including starting up and powering up electronics.
2. Lithium-ion Battery
This rechargeable battery can be used in many portable electronics and electric vehicles. These batteries have a high energy density, which reduces the battery pack's overall size.
How Does It Work- The cathode and anode in a lithium-ion battery contain lithium. The electrolyte solution transfers lithium ions with a positive charge from the anode to the cathode via a separator. A reverse movement also takes place in which the movement of lithium ions leads free electrons being created in the anode. This leads to the creation of a charge at the positively charged current collector.
Function: The popularity of these types of car batteries is growing every day. The battery's light weight, ability to quickly recharge and high energy density have contributed to its popularity. One can use this battery for charging hybrid and electric cars, mobile phones and laptops.
3. SLI Battery
SLI stands for starting, lighting and ignition. It is a rechargeable and lead-acid battery that one can find in most vehicles. In fact, this battery is specially designed for automobiles. One can find it installed in the charging system of vehicles.
How Does It Work: When one uses a car with an SLI battery, there is a continuous cycle of charge and discharge. SLI battery remains connected with the alternator, which produces alternating current (AC). AC gradually gets converted to Direct Current (DC) with the help of diodes called a rectifier. After this, regulation of DC voltage takes place for charging the battery, which powers up the vehicle.
Function: This battery is used for powering a vehicle’s starter motor, lighting and ignition system.
4. Deep Cycle Battery
This is a type of lead acid battery which can be sealed or flooded. Their unique construction allows them to last for many years.
How Does It Work: These batteries have thick active plates, high-density active paste material, and wide separators. Antimony is present in the alloys used to make deep cycle batteries. Thicker active plates of this battery enable it to resist extended charge and discharge cycles and, thus, corrosion.
Function: Deep cycle batteries are the ideal option for marine vehicles, golf carts and recreational vehicles. Its technology sustains power with the help of a lower current supply for a long time.
5. VRLA Battery
VRLA battery stands for Valve Regulated Lead Acid Battery. Its compact size helps in easy storage. These are considered one of the safest types of car batteries and require the least maintenance.
How Does It Work: This battery uses a one-way pressure relief valve system for achieving oxygen recombination. The negative plate absorbs the oxygen produced by the positive plate, thus suppressing hydrogen production at the negative plate. This produces water which helps in moisture retention inside the battery.
Function: There are two types of VRLA batteries—Gel cell battery and AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat) battery. Compared to their gel cell and flooded counterparts, AGM batteries perform better. Additional advantages include 5X times better charging and 3X times more cycle life.
AGM batteries are ideal for cars with brake energy recovery and automatic start and stop applications. Gel cell batteries are shock and vibration-resistant and have an extended period of cycle life.
6. Nickel Metal Hydride Battery
The popularity of these batteries is on the rise due to their good performance and absence of oxidative properties. These are used mostly in hybrid and electric vehicles.
How Does It Work: Here, the negative electrode contains potassium hydroxide, and the positive electrode contains nickel hydroxide. Furthermore, it has an energy density greater than 70 Wh/kg and a power density greater than 200 w/kg.
Function: Usage of nickel metal hydride batteries is most prevalent in hybrid vehicles. These batteries generally have a longer life cycle than lithium-ion car batteries and lead acid batteries.
7. Silver Calcium Battery
The special feature of these batteries happens to be their resistance to corrosion. Additionally, they also resist any destructive effect of high temperature. The technology of silver calcium battery facilitates improved battery life and maintains a high starting power gradually over time.
How Does It Work- These types of batteries require more charging voltage and are unable to perform optimally in vehicles that do not provide the requisite range of voltage. One must not install silver calcium batteries in vehicles that do not support its design and installation.
Function: These batteries have more power. Additionally, they are also more reliable and durable. Silver Calcium batteries are also resistant to corrosion and high temperatures.
How to Choose the Right Battery?
Given below are important guidelines that you can follow to select the right battery for your car:
- Read the Owner's Manual of your vehicle minutely to learn about the requisite battery dimensions, CA, CCA ratings and Ampere hour ratings. If you cannot find the Owner's Manual, you can check the details of the existing battery.
- Checking the battery dimensions is a must. Although battery boxes and mounts are generalised, checking which size fits your car will be helpful in the long run.
- Buy a battery with handles and loops if you plan to maintain your own car.
- Do not choose a battery that has a lower Ah rating than the battery present in your car. It majorly affects battery life, and problems may occur while starting your car.
- Choose a battery with a high CCA if you live in a place where the temperature falls very low.
- Remember that a battery with a too high Ah rating may cause slow charging and load slowly on the alternator.
- Choose a battery with a good reserve capacity. This will keep the car and its lamps running for a long time in case the alternator fails.
- Make sure you have purchased a new battery within six months of its manufacture.
- Store the warranty card in a safe place. You can avail replacement if your car’s battery malfunctions within the warranty period.
- Do not forget to check the date of manufacture of a battery. In the absence of a date, check its code.
How Long Can a Car Battery Last Without Driving?
Generally, car batteries in good condition will last a minimum of two weeks without one starting the vehicle or recharging the battery. However, if someone wishes to avoid driving the car for some time, it is a good idea to start it once a week and keep it running for at least 15 minutes.
This enables the alternator to recharge the battery. Furthermore, it also ensures the good condition of the engines.
This blog enumerated crucial details related to types of car batteries. You should choose your car battery as per the make and model of your vehicle. With regular battery maintenance and service, you can prolong the life of your car’s battery, so that you have to buy new batteries less often.