Wheaton BP
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The battery is the backbone of the electrical system. Most cars use a lead-acid battery. The battery is made of a plastic case, containing an arrangement of positive and negative lead plates. The plates are connected to a set of terminals, which provide connection to the vehicle. The battery is filled with electrolyte, a mixture of sulfuric acid and water. The electrolyte and lead plates provide the chemical action necessary to store and release energy.

Upper Radiator Hose
Battery Cables

Your vehicle's battery and its connections should be checked at every oil change. The battery should be mounted securely, as vibration takes a toll on battery life. On batteries with removable filler caps, the electrolyte should be checked and topped off with distilled water. Battery connections should be clean, tight and corrosion-free. To clean the battery case and terminals, use a mixture of baking soda and water. As an added measure to fight terminal corrosion, chemically treated felt rings can be placed over the battery posts. Batteries do not always give warning signs before they fail. If your vehicle's battery is three years old or more, it's wise to replace it. When choosing a replacement, there's no such thing as a one-size-fits-all battery. Make sure the new one has adequate capacity for your exact make, model and equipment. Avoid running your battery dead; deep-cycling (discharging and then charging) quickly takes its toll on battery life. For longest life, automotive batteries are intended to keep a relatively consistent charge. If you decide to change the battery yourself, be aware that many cars may need to "re-learn" certain electronic engine control habits, like idle speed. Disconnecting the battery may also erase the memory of radios and other features like memory mirrors and seats. Check your vehicle's owner's manual for more specifics on changing the battery. Never discard an old battery in the trash. Take the old battery to a recycling center that accepts automotive batteries.

More about the electrical system

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