You need between approximately 12 and 14 volts of power to start the average motor vehicle engine. This power is provided by your vehicle’s battery. Your engine recharges your motor vehicle’s battery while you’re driving your car. If the battery charge falls below 12 volts, however, it may not be able to start your engine, and you’ll have to rely upon a vehicle jump starter.
How Do Batteries Lose Their Charge?
Your battery consists of four main components:
• A positive electrode
• A negative electrode
• An electrolyte source
• A casement that houses the other three components
Your motor vehicle battery forms a circuit when it interfaces with your engine. Positively charged ions in your electrolyte source start flowing toward the negative electrode, and negatively charged ions in your electrolyte source start flowing toward the positive electrode. The movement of these ions generates the electrical current that starts your vehicle. When the chemicals within your electrolyte source are depleted, your motor vehicle battery will become unresponsive or flat.
Why Do Motor Vehicle Batteries Go Flat?
There are many different reasons why your motor vehicle battery may go flat. If you leave your lights, your radio or some other electrical appliance on in your car when the engine isn’t running, the drain on your battery’s electrical charge may deplete your battery.
It’s also possible, however, that one of the electrical appliances in your car is using more electricity than it should be using, and this has drained your battery even though your engine is running.
Your vehicle’s battery works in consort with a piece of equipment called the alternator, which has been engineered to recharge your battery when your engine is running. If your alternator is malfunctioning, it may not be able to recharge your battery effectively.
Extremely cold temperatures can put a strain on your battery because freezing temperatures halt those chemical processes that your battery relies upon to work effectively.
Finally, if your battery is old, it may have used up all the chemicals in its electrolyte source. Most batteries are designed to have an operating life of three years.