Overcharging a Car Battery
5 Causes That Can Make it Overcharge
While many of us have had to deal with the occurrence of a dead battery and the resulting problems of a car not starting, the opposite situation – having a battery with TOO MUCH charge – can result in big issues of its own and even lead to bigger problems then when dealing with a dead battery.
Not understanding much about a car’s battery and attempting to charge it by yourself is one reason why a vehicle’s battery could be damaged from being overcharged. Fortunately, this is a problem that is easy to prevent. And even if costs are involved, they are typically minor, especially if you’re able to prevent a slightly overcharged battery from getting worse.
5 Reasons Why a Car’s Battery Can Become Overcharged
1. Not Knowing how to use a Vehicle Charger
When you find out that your car won’t start and suspect it’s because of a dead battery, deciding to charge it seems like an obvious solution. Whether you have a charger yourself or you are relying upon a neighbor or friend to help you out, you will want to make sure that whoever is doing the charging knows what they are doing. It is a relatively simple fix that anyone can do as long as they have the basic information on how to properly do it. Leaving the battery on a charger for too long can overcharge it.
2. Faulty Battery Chargers
Even if the person who is charging your vehicle is knowledgeable and experienced, if you’re dealing with a defective battery charger, this itself could cause your vehicle to overcharge. Problems from a faulty battery charger is an easy thing to avoid. Testing your battery charger before using it to charge your car’s battery will let you know if it’s not working properly.
To test your car battery charger, plug it in without a battery in it. Put a multimeter across it that is set to the 20V DC range. A working charger should measure at about 13V.
3. A Faulty Alternator
The problem might actually be with your vehicle’s alternator. A broken alternator will stop creating electricity for the battery. But if a wrong or faulty alternator is placed into your vehicle, it could create too much charge for your car’s battery and cause it to be overcharged.
Some signs you are dealing with a bad alternator include:
- You noticed your lights becoming dim or flickering
- Your Check Engine or ALT light on your dash is on
- You have noticed odd noises like squealing, growling or a grinding noise
4. Problems with the Voltage Regulator
A voltage regulator is a part that works with your alternator to regulate the amount of voltage the alternator produces. It works to keep a steady flow of voltage to the battery, and so you can imagine that if it isn’t working as it should and is sending too much voltage, that could cause your car’s battery to overcharge. Replacing your voltage regular is relatively easy and inexpensive.
Hot weather can make overcharged battery issues worse. The time of year when your battery is getting overcharged could determine how much damage that could cause. An overcharged battery in the summer may result in bigger and more costly problems.
What Happens when you Overcharge a Battery?
Depending on how greatly you overcharge it, you could cause serious damage to your car’s battery. You could overcharge your battery to a relatively small extent that you wouldn’t even notice there was a problem. But even a relatively small amount of overcharging can lead to a shorter lifespan for your battery and make it work less efficiently.
A problem worse than that, but still not an expensive nor hard one to solve, is when overcharging causes your battery to completely stop working. While this is, of course, not a great situation to be in, it is still something relatively easy and affordable to fix.
The biggest danger from overcharged batteries comes from the gases and substances inside the battery, commonly known as battery acid. Overcharging the battery could cause the internal water and sulfuric acid to mix and boil. The result of this could be a battery melting, swelling up and/or leaking. And depending on the age of your battery, this could even result in your battery exploding. This risk is greater for newer batteries because they are sealed, compared to some of the older batteries that are vented.
Alternative Tool to a Battery Charger
Instead of using a battery charger, you could opt for a battery maintainer. These maintainers are devices similar to battery chargers, but they operate in a different way. Battery maintainers supply a small amount of electricity to your battery over a longer period. However these may not be feasible to use on a car you need to drive every day. These are ideal for vehicles that you do not use regularly, such as one that is kept in storage over the long Kansas winters.
What Happens When You Can’t Fix Your Car’s Battery Problem?
Call us at (316) 733-9310! At Collision Center of Andover, we can accurately diagnose whatever problem your car is having and make sure whatever is needed – a new battery, alternator, voltage regulator – will be quickly installed by our team of skilled car technicians. We are conveniently located on Andover Road just minutes outside of Wichita.
If you’re dealing with a car that won’t start, don’t worry. We have you covered! Collision Center of Andover provides towing services to anyone in Butler Counter and the greater Wichita and Andover areas. Our towing service will bring you right into our shop or to any destination or shop of your choice. Call for a tow at (316) 719-2100. We are available 24 hours a day!
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