How Often Should I Check the Charging System?
One system that can be affected greatly by extreme hot and cold weather conditions is the starting and charging system. Because the engine is harder to crank cold due to the oil thickening, the battery needs optimum capacity to be able to power the starter motor.
We recommend consumers have the starting and charging systems check at least every 6 months, and prior to a major hot or cold spell in the weather.
If the battery is weak, not holding a full charge, or if the connections, terminals or cables are deteriorating or corroded, the vehicle may not start. If the battery won't take a charge, it will make the alternator overwork and cause damage. If the alternator isn't keeping the battery charged it can either die while driving or fail to start. If the starter fails, the vehicle won't start.
Regularly checking the starting and charging system keeps it in tip top shape. Load test the battery, have a voltage drop test, inspect for clean and tight connections and broken posts or leaks. Have a starter draw test performed, along with an alternator amperage and voltage test, checking the alternator for a good diode pattern.
Testing your charging and starting system regularly will prevent breakdowns. It is more cost efficient to replace a battery it is to have a tow bill on top of having to replace the battery and an over-taxed alternator, caused from a battery that has now completely failed. Happy Motoring!
All About Automotive
139 N.W. 2nd Street
Gresham, OR 97030