These days cars are much more likely to have electrically powered windows, air conditioning, rear window defoggers, wing mirrors, CD players or GPS systems so it’s no surprise that when something goes wrong with the electrics it can be a tricky problem to solve by yourself.
The power needed to run everything smoothly included your head lights, signals and internal car lights, as well as everything else, comes from your main car battery found under the bonnet. The battery is a storage facility of 12 volts, it is used to start the car engine and operate the rest of your electrical car components. Inside the car battery is six cells of stacked positive and negative lead plates, separated by insulation and surrounded in electrolyte solution. Electrolyte is a combination of water and sulphuric acid and acts as conductor to create a chemical reaction releasing electrons to flow through wires to create electricity. Car batteries are rechargeable and care should be taken when jump-starting them. Check your car battery for erosion at the terminals as this can stop a car from starting. Also regularly check the casing for cracks or leaks. Never pick up a hot battery and because car batteries contain acid always wear protective clothing such as gloves and goggles.
Car batteries have a life span of about 3-5 years and you can tell from the car batteries ‘eye’ or manufacturers spot just by looking to see what colour it’s showing. It varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, but generally if the spot is green then the battery has enough charge, if it’s black, white, or red then either the level of electrolyte is low, or the battery needs recharging. Sometimes a problem with the electrical systems in your car actually cause a new battery to drain of charge far too quickly, if this is the case then there’s no point in buying a new battery as the same problem will just happen again. You should make sure all your electrical components in your car are checked too.