What Causes a Car Battery to Overcharge?by Eric Benac
Battery overcharging is a common problem in vehicles today. Overcharging your battery can significantly decrease its lifespan, make it more difficult for it to turn over, lower its efficiency, and in extreme cases, can even lead to battery explosion. Overcharging is a problem that can be difficult to notice. Amateur car enthusiasts sometimes misunderstand correct battery care, or don't understand the problems a battery can experience. Battery overcharging is easy and cheap to avoid.
Faulty Voltage Regulator
A car's battery will overcharge if the voltage regulator isn't working correctly. A voltage regulator is usually part of the alternator, and is used to keep a steady flow of voltage to the battery. If the voltage regulator is defective, it will send either too little or too much charge to the battery. If it sends too much, the car battery will overcharge. The voltage regulator is easily replaceable at an easily affordable price, sometimes for as little as twenty dollars, as of 2009.
Sometimes the alternator itself can be at fault. The alternator is the device that converts the mechanical power of the engine into electrical power to charge the battery. When an alternator breaks, it usually stops creating electricity for the battery, which will then eventually die. However, if the wrong alternator is placed in the car, or if the alternator is running at the wrong pace, it will create too much energy for the car battery, causing it to overcharge. The alternator is another easily replaced part.
Incorrect Charger Use
If a battery charger is used to charge your battery outside of your car, improper use of the charger can result in overcharging. If a battery is placed on the charger too long, it can result in overcharging, and a significant decrease in your battery's lifespan and efficiency. This is why it is important to read about your specific battery and understand how long it needs to charge to be effective. Too much charge will lead to problems.
Faulty Battery Chargers
Sometimes chargers can be faulty. Their settings may be wired incorrectly, or the charges labeled incorrectly. As a result, your battery may be getting overcharged, even if you are carefully monitoring your charging. This is a problem that is hard to avoid, as manufacturing mistakes can happen anywhere, anytime without warning. It is a good idea to test your charger regularly to see if it is running correctly.
Extreme heat in the summer can also have an adverse effect on the car battery. If the battery has been previously overcharged, extreme heat can increase the problems caused by overcharging, and exacerbate any other problems with the battery. This problem can be hard to avoid if you live in a warm climate. The only real way to ensure safety against this problem is to avoid overcharge in the first place.
Eric Benac began writing professionally in 2001. After working as an editor at Alpena Community College in Michigan and receiving his Associate of Journalism, he received a Bachelor of Science in English and a Master of Arts in writing from Northern Michigan University in Marquette.