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Knowing Battery Sulfation & Parasitic Draw

With today’s demands on batteries, our dependence on their performance is essential. Battery maintenance is something people rarely think about —-at least not until forced to when a problem occurs.

Below we will discuss: reasons “Why Batteries Fail”, how to minimize or avoid battery failures, and finally discuss how thru adoption of battery maintenance, you will see a significant financial increase to your bottom line from a reduction in number of batteries purchased and in service related issues from poor battery performance.

Why do Batteries fail?

There are a couple reasons batteries can fail but we will touch on the two major reasons are Sulfation & Parasitic Draw.First and foremost over 80% of batteries fail due to sulfation.

What is sulfation?

Sulfation: a natural and necessary byproduct to achieve energy transfer. When a battery is giving off energy, sulfur crystals form and attach themselves to the lead plates inside the battery and accumulate there. During standard recharging of the battery a portion of this accumulation is reversed back into liquid but not all. The remaining crystals collect more and more over use and begin having a negative impact on your battery’s performance:

• Inability to discharge power
• Inability to recharge
• Shortened battery life

What is Parasitic Draw?

Can you remember when batteries were used to only start your car and maybe play the radio or to heat a cigarette lighter?

Not any more – today’s demands on batteries has quadrupled! With all the new items put into vehicles from car alarms to TV’s to emergency equipment and two way radio’s, not to mention GPS locators, batteries are expected to handle all these added requirements and not to fail.

Alternators now put out much more electricity to handle these new product demands, but what about when the engine stops and alternator is not running?

Many of these new products have been found to still draw small amounts of electricity from the battery even after the vehicle is shut down and switches turned off. When this vehicle sits idle for an extended period, this parasitic draw can drain enough energy from the battery to render it useless and unable to restart the vehicle.

Weak and/or unhealthy batteries can cause other parts of the electrical system to be overworked, overheat due to reduced voltage, and if left unaddressed can cause these other parts within the electrical system to fail. Just replacing batteries and not identifying issues that may have caused the batteries to fail, will only temporarily get things going again.

A Healthy Battery is key to keeping your electrical system operating at peak performance.