Car batteries, when you take a look at the function they provide, really are a strange component to a vehicle. As with the starter, they basically only provide a two second surge of electricity to start the car. After that, they’re pretty much dead weight being carried around with you. Why is that? Doesn’t the battery still run the electrical systems of the car? The answer really is no. Once the car is started, the alternator, which is basically just a standard generator, both runs the electrical systems and recharges the battery. In the long run, your alternator is responsible for the electrical components of the vehicle. So why not use the alternator to start the car then? Unfortunately you can’t.
The problem that’s difficult to overcome is that it takes a lot of voltage to turn over an engine and start the car. A battery gives a quick jolt of power that you can’t generate with an alternator. That’s why it’s still essential. But what I find most distressing is that your standard car battery is pretty expensive even though it has very limited use in the car. You only ever use your battery for a few seconds a day, and yet it sometimes costs $100 to change it out every few years.
That’s why I like battery booster packs. Battery booster packs are exactly what their name says they are, a device which boosts a dying or dead battery enough to give it that extra juice it needs to start the car. With a battery booster pack, you can prolong the life of a battery and have an emergency backup unit just in case. Battery booster packs are a nice thing because they have built in jumper cables, which makes them function as two tools in one.
Another nice trick is the rolling start. It’s true that this will only work for stick shift vehicles, but that’s just another reason why I prefer to drive a stick shift. If the battery in a stick shift car won’t start the engine, put the car in neutral and push it by hand to get it rolling. After that, with your foot down on the clutch, put the car in first and then quickly release the clutch again. If you’re rolling fast enough, and about 3 miles an hour should do it, the momentum will give enough energy to start the car. Pretty neat trick, huh. I’ve used it plenty of times.
Car batteries and starters are essential components of your car, no one’s doubting that. I just don’t like changing them at the first sign of trouble when they’re not technically critical to the vehicle’s function. General maintenance like brakes, oil changes, and replenishing vital fluids I make sure to keep well on top of. But car batteries and starters should be used up until they’re absolutely on their last leg if you ask me.
I’m one of the old school car drivers. Things like heat warmers, automatic push start buttons, keyless entry, and the like are just more things on a vehicle that can end up breaking down. Give me power windows and steering and I’ll be good to go. Everything else just seems like a headache.