We all know that our vehicle's batteries should be changed, just like the ones in a TV remote. But why is that? Do they have an expiration date? The answer is yes and no - while they have a recommended use period, they can be changed prematurely due to problems of fast aging.
The Chemistry Behind Batteries
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of battery aging, let's briefly explore how batteries work. At their core, batteries are chemical devices that store and release electrical energy. They consist of two electrodes (usually one made of a metal oxide and the other of a metal) submerged in an electrolyte solution.
When you use a battery-powered device, a chemical reaction occurs between the electrodes and the electrolyte, generating electrical energy. Over time, as this reaction repeats, it can lead to some interesting changes within the battery.
The Main Reason Behind Batteries Aging
Each time a battery is charged and discharged, the chemical reactions within it cause small changes. Even if the only power usage is from parts, and the alternator reargument is non-problematic, the battery wears down and becomes less and less efficient. You can look at it the same way you look at the battery health percentage of your phone - the longer you use it, the less charge it can hold efficiently.
Other reasons include:
Heat, humidity, and physical damage can accelerate battery aging. Extreme temperatures, in particular, can be harsh on batteries, causing them to deteriorate faster.
Batteries have a limited number of charge and discharge cycles they can endure. Each cycle contributes to wear and tear, gradually reducing the battery's capacity. Keep in mind that the cycle count is not a particular number, and it can fluctuate.
Batteries undergo self-discharge even when not in use, which means they slowly lose their charge over time. This phenomenon can make batteries seem like they have an expiration date.
Do Batteries Have an Expiration Date?
While batteries don't have a fixed expiration date like the milk in your fridge, they do have a limited lifespan. Most rechargeable batteries are designed to last for a certain number of cycles, typically ranging from 300 to 1000 or more, depending on the type of battery and usage.
Non-rechargeable batteries, like alkaline batteries, also have a shelf life. They can lose their capacity over time due to self-discharge, making them less effective as they age.
While we can give you a couple of tips for how to maintain it, there is no real way of postponing the inevitable. Schedule regular maintenance and check-up appointments and, when needed, change them. While we are on the subject, if you are not certain which shop to choose for the procedures mentioned above, Auto Centric is here to help - book an appointment, come to the shop, and we will take it from there!