If your battery is dying and you require a jump-start, it could very well be that you have a bad battery, but drivers should have the battery tested first to see if it's actually bad. The problem could be a parasitic drain or a bad alternator that's not properly charging your battery.
Drivers in this situation also need to have their service advisor check their alternator and have it tested. A surprisingly high percentage of “bad” alternators brought into our shop are actually just fine. The problem is a worn serpentine belt and/or belt tensioner. If the belt is slipping, it's not spinning the alternator properly so it can't fully charge the battery.
A dead battery can be the result of a chain of events: a worn serpentine belt, a worn belt tensioner, a bad alternator or a bad battery. If you don't check the belt, tensioner and alternator, you can just end up replacing batteries that are still good.
There's a chemical cycle that takes place inside your battery: the battery is discharged when you start the vehicle and is recharged by the alternator when you drive. Short trips around the Eureka area with frequent stops and starts may mean that your battery is never fully recharged. When a battery isn't fully charged, parts of the battery harden and are no longer available to “store” electricity. Over time, your battery just can't hold enough charge for the needs of your vehicle. This is demanding on your alternator as it tries to keep up, causing it to wear out prematurely.
Batteries last longer in colder climates and wear out faster in warmer climates. We want to remind Eureka drivers that, on average, 70% of batteries fail within four years. Many automotive experts recommend replacing your battery every five years. Have the battery inspected at every oil change to make sure the cable connections are clean and tight, and the hold down hardware is secure. Once a battery reaches three years of age, have it tested annually. The test will identify if the battery has deteriorated to the point where replacement is recommended to prevent an unexpected failure and reduce the chances of being stranded with a dead battery as well as prevent undue wear on your alternator.
Eureka Brake & Automotive <br/>707.443-2122 <br/>www.eurekabrake.com
Revised from content contributed by NAPA Service Assistant