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Automotive Battery: Characteristic, Components, Functionality Specifications, and Maintenance

March 17, 2024 | Victor Lukasso

Understanding your car battery is crucial for avoiding problems and saving money in the long run.

Characteristics of a Battery

Here are some features that are commonly associated with automotive car batteries:

  • They come in various sizes to fit different vehicles.
  • They have an excellent performance in both high and low temperatures.
  • They are relatively inexpensive and can be manufactured locally.
  • Their cells are easily recyclable.
  • They have a high open-circuit voltage compared to other battery systems that use water-based electrolytes.
  • They retain their charge well, even in applications where they are intermittently charged.
  • They are electrically efficient.
  • They operate well in float mode.

Components of a Battery

These are the major components of a car battery.


1. Container – an automotive battery is a part made of a steel can, used to enclose the substances of the cell.

2. Cathode – The automotive battery contains a cathode and manganese dioxide, the electrode that undergoes reduction during the electrochemical reaction.

3. Separators – An automotive battery is manufactured with a nonwoven, fibrous fabric that separates the electrodes.

5. Anode – anodes are electrodes that oxidize the powdered zinc metal.

6. Electrolyte – The automotive battery is composed of electrolytes, which serve as the medium for the flow of ions within the cell, facilitating the ionic current that powers the battery. These electrolytes are typically composed of a solution of potassium hydroxide in water.

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7. Collector – a brass pin between the cell that conducts electricity to the external circuit.

Essential Functions Of An Automotive Battery

Many drivers may not know the critical functionality of an automotive battery in a car. A battery holds a lot of your car’s most essential functions.

These are some of the critical functions of an automotive battery.

1. Engine starter

The primary function of a car battery is to transform the chemical energy stored inside it into electrical power, which is then distributed to all the necessary parts of the car when you turn the key or push the start button.

2. Voltage Regulator

The good news is that automotive batteries can help prevent damage to your car from high voltage spikes that old car batteries may produce. With the ability to absorb excess voltage generated by other components, an automotive battery protects the entire electrical system and all its solid components from any damage caused by abnormal voltage levels.

3. Sustainer

When a battery functions correctly, it ensures the sustainability of your car’s energy system. Once you start your car’s engine, the alternator recharges the battery, ensuring that everything keeps working while you’re driving. Additionally, the battery will begin to store chemical energy again to have enough power to start the car’s engine the next time.

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4. Helper with the ignition system

When you turn on your car engine, the battery initiates and sustains the engine’s operation and activates the car’s ignition system.

Moreover, your car battery is interconnected with the vehicle’s entire electrical system, including its safety features. If there is any issue with the electrical system, it can be easily identified. Additionally, when the engine is not running, the battery supplies electricity to all electronic devices.

5. Alternator

The car battery plays a crucial role in supplying power to the alternator, which is responsible for various electrical systems such as the sound system, air-conditioning, wipers, headlights, and airbag system. Once the car engine is started, the battery helps keep it running smoothly. If the alternator malfunctions, the battery acts as a backup and provides power to keep the car going for a limited time.

Batteries Specifications

Several specifications can discover in any battery:

Physical Design – Your batteries are specified by their sizes, types, terminals’ location, and mounting style.

Amp-hours (Ah) – An ampere-hour is a unit related to the battery’s energy storage capacity.

Cranking Amperes – The current a battery can deliver at a cold cranking ampere of 0 degrees Fahrenheit (– 18 degrees Celsius). The cranking ampere is the present a battery provides at 32 degrees Fahrenheit, 0 degrees Celsius.

Reserve Capacity Minutes (RCM) – This is the ability of the battery to sustain a stated electrical load.

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Group Size – This is the physical dimension, like a battery’s weight, height, length, and width. Manufacturers often state it.

Data codes – The data code is designed to help all buyers to know if the battery they are buying is the recently released version.

Batteries Maintenance

Regularly checking your car battery ensures its optimal condition and longevity. Proper maintenance methods should be applied to avoid damaging the battery. There are indicators on the top of the battery that can show its condition, and the most effective way to check it is by using a voltmeter to measure the stabilized voltage. If the battery vent cap is movable, a hydrometer can be used to determine the specific gravity (SG). An active battery typically shows a stabilized voltage above 12.5 volts and an SG reading above 1.240.

It’s also essential to keep the top of the battery clean and dry, free from dirt and grime. Regularly inspect cables, terminals, and screws for any loose, breakage, or damaged connections, and make sure they are free from dirt and corrosion.

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Meet Victor Lukasso, the owner of V. Auto Basics. Through this blog, Victor Provides Insights on the latest tips, maintenance, repair, and techniques in the automotive world.