Modern cars require the correct voltage to function properly. Your vehicle’s electrical system must be able to keep its charge while under load or offload and running.
In all vehicles, the charging system must be provided to a certain voltage, depending on the vehicle. This voltage will be modulated by the vehicle’s internal computer for the required need of all the electrical system at any given time. Your car depends entirely on the vehicle`s electrical grid, battery/charging system – to start and operate. A change in the input or output voltage caused by a weak battery, faulty alternator, or broken electrical connections will impact how your vehicle operates and may cause some systems to fail.
If the battery voltage should fall below its required threshold, the sensors, relays, switches, electronic modules, and computers will no longer be operating within the manufacturers’ performance parameters.
Factors Affecting Battery Performance
- Temperature: A battery that is too hot or cold will self-discharge. A common problem in Alberta is how at colder temperatures the reserve capacity can drop, making it difficult to start your car, or not start at all.
- If your engine has a loose belt or worn belt tensioner the alternator will not function as well. It is possible that a fully discharged battery may freeze in cold weather and require replacement.
- Worn brushes, bearings or bushing may also contribute to a decreased alternator performance, therefore contributing to the battery drain, as the electrical system can`t rely on the alternator.
- Additional drains on the battery, such as headlights left on, or accessories, can reduce the available power that your battery is able to supply the vehicle’s main systems at starting of the vehicle.
- Short distance trips, with periodic stops, where the ignition is turned off and restarted will not allow the charging system to bring the state of battery charge up to full capacity, especially in winter.
- An older alternator may not be able to provide a charge at its intended capacity and will lead to your battery voltage being lower than necessary.