Bosch, GP, Yuasa and Yokohama, what do these names represent?

They are famous brands of car batteries available today in the Malaysian market.

1) Types of batteries available.

Basically, there exist 2 types of batteries you could obtain for your car. They are 9 and 13 plate batteries.

9 plate batteries are smaller and cheaper, whereas 13 plate batteries are bigger and therefore lasts longer. Ideally a motorist is advised to secure the larger battery. Most batteries come with a warranty period of 1 year. Batteries normally last for 15 – 20 months.

The 2 types of batteries available in the market are normal battery which requires filling of solution or battery water and the latest types of battery known as the “water-free” battery.

The first types if roughly sold at RM130 – RM150. The second type is slightly more costly, around RM150 – RM170.

Old or used batteries can be traded in for RM10. Unless you know the proprietor selling you the battery well, you are advised to keep the receipt in a secure place.

It might come in handy later on when you make a claim for a new battery. The previous battery might have developed some problems. It might not last the guarantee period of a year.

2) What are suitable solutions that can be used to fill up a battery?

Unlike the water free type of battery, all other batteries have to be filled up periodically. Solutions used are:

i) Sulfuric acid

ii) Battery water

iii) Rain water free from oxides.

New and inexperienced drivers, especially those in the “P” category can always go to battery shops to secure their assistance.

3) Can a vehicle start if the battery is weak?

To start an engine, a car needs a good and strong battery. Mechanic friends of mine advised, an automatic car cannot start if the battery is weak.

So, owners of the above type of vehicle should ensure their vehicle batteries are in good condition. It is further understood that you cannot jump start an automatic car. Neither can one do a push start on an auto car either.

Manual cars facing problems can however be helped to start by the following methods:

i) Push starting

ii) Jump starting using jumper cable

iii) Installing a new battery into the car

4) How a vehicle is started?

Some drivers may wish to know how a vehicle is started. The 12 volt battery cannot by itself start a car. The voltage is way too low. With the assistance of a coil, the high voltage cables (4 of them) are supplied 6,000 volts each to the spark plugs of the engine. A total of 24,000 volts therefore is supplied to ignite the engine into starting.

Some readers may wish to know if the above can kill a person should he come into contact with it. Medical sources say, it could.

Therefore, mechanics are advised to switch off the ignition key whenever they wish to do some repairs to the engine. A person with a weak heart, when coming into contact with such a high voltage may probably die of heart attack! So, why take chances.

5) Symptoms to show a battery is becoming weak and needs to be replaced.

Can a driver know if his battery is becoming weak and needs to be replaced?

In fact, there are certain signs or symptoms your vehicle battery is becoming weak. According, again to my mechanic friends and my own father who is a lorry driver, they advised that:

i) Head lights become dimmer or less bright.

ii) The horn becomes less audible.

iii) Ignition becomes more difficult and the engine takes a longer time to start.

iv) In modern days’ cars, the alarm system will begin to sound or wail.

v) There will also be some problems with your automatic door systems.

The above are some tell tale signs that your battery system is having some problems. So, you are advised to visit your battery dealer as soon as possible.

Avoid waiting until your car dies or stall in a traffic light or traffic jam. By that time, it might be too late as you then cannot start your car. Imagine the panic you will get into in such an emergency situation.

6) Can a driver do anything to prolong the life of his battery?

Pertaining to this question, permit me to disclose to your some tips that you could follow. Again, these tips come from mechanics and friends who have been driving for many years.

Amongst the things that a driver can do are:

i) Switch off all your radio or cassette items before switching off your engine.

ii) Accelerate the car prior to switching off your head lights. In short, rev your engine a few times.

iii) Try not switching on your radio while the vehicle is stationary.

iv) Take out the battery and send it for recharging periodically. It only costs RM4 – RM5.

v) Check the battery water levels to ensure the solution in it is at its proper and correct levels.

Old and used batteries should ideally be handed back to the dealers. They should not be kept in our homes as it may cause problems pertaining to dengue.

Furthermore, batteries can easily pollute our surroundings. The better solution for drivers is to opt for the new form of batteries – the water free types.

It may be a little bit more expensive, but in the long run, it’s actually worth it. Less hassle to drivers who are mostly busy and most dealers claim, they are able to last longer, so they say.