Auto Electrical Repair – Know Thy Battery

When doing auto electrical repair, the first vehicle component your should acquire knowledge about is the car battery. Even though the battery only store 12 volts, it is the electrical source of the entire vehicle. You will not be able to start your engine without the battery. In addition the auto battery helps to operate all the electrical accessories installed on your motorcar. An auto battery should last 3-5 years in average climates. Extreme hot or cold climates however, will reduce this to only 2-3 years.

An auto battery is built up of six cells, each containing stacked positive and negative lead plates. These are divided and separated by insulators and immersed in an electrolyte, a liquid blend of sulfuric acid and water. However, some batteries, use a gel instead of the electrolyte. This is considered to be safer and because you do not have to refill it with electrolyte, it has been labelled “maintenance-free”. Each cell generates or more correctly put, stores 2.1 volts for a total of 12.6 volts.

Between the electrolyte and the lead plates, a chemical reaction is created. This produces dangerous, explosive gases that vent through the battery cover vents. Because of this, caution should be taken when you charge or jump start a low battery. The same caution should also be taken every time you are working under the hood of your vehicle. It is important to provide as good ventilation as possible in the battery, so always keep it clean. All batteries, even those using gel instead of electrolyte lose charging capacity as the time passes. The reason for this is that the chemical breakdown of the connections inevitably takes place leading to the deterioration of the plates and loss of the electrolyte.

When your vehicle has start up or charging problems, the vehicle troubleshooting procedure should start with a test of the battery. You do that with a visual check followed by a voltage test. If the battery is ok, other components of the electrical system is probably the reason, but battery problems are by far the most likely reason.

A good thing with battery checking and trouble shooting is that you need very little technical equipment. All you need is a good, old Digital Volt Ohm Meter and a charger for the battery.

Each auto battery manufacturer uses a certain color in the battery ‘eye’ which tells whether a charge is needed. This is a fast and easy way to alert you for re-charging. Check out your battery manufacturer’s specification of the ‘eye’ and everything associated with it.

If you need to replace your auto battery, always test it before you replace it. Also test the entire electrical system of your car. The reason for your battery problem might be a weak alternator or a drain on the system and if this is the case it won’t take many weeks before your have to replace the new one as well. What seems to be a battery problem is not always caused by the battery itself. You can acquire more information about how to repair your car’s electrical system on the web.

Rust Repair Cost – The Truth

Corrosion is the process of disintegration of the atomic component of any iron or steel material.

Rust is the general term we use to describe the result of corrosion. Rust forms when:

  • iron and oxygen react with water or moisture and
  • iron with the absence of oxygen is exposed to chlorine, salt, or any other harmful chemicals and substances.

Corrosion and rust are the downside effect of using metal to construct homes, buildings, bridges, infrastructure and automobile. Rust has higher mass volume than the original iron or steel. This can cause failure of iron-made structure (e.g. bridge) as the rust build up forces the adjacent parts of the structure to fall apart. This is a phenomenon known as rust smacking.

Rust smacking was the primary cause of the collapse of the following structures in the United States:

  • Silver Bridge in West Virginia (1967)
  • Mianus River Bridge in Connecticut (1983)
  • Kinzua Bridge in Pennsylvania (2003)

Bridges are not the only structures subject to corrosion and rusting. As a matter of fact, everything made from iron, steel and metal are bound to endure rust problems.

Most Americans own cars. These cars are subject to extreme weather condition particularly during winter months. When poorly maintained and remain untreated, this increases the chances of rust formation on and degradation of car body and engine. Most of our homes are equipped with water heaters and furnaces made of metal. Our concrete pathways are held secure with steel bars underneath. These are also affected by rust problems.

Many believe that managing corrosion and rust problems is more like a maintenance job. But the cost of rust problems in the United States alone is staggeringly high. Every year, the US spends approximately $276 billion on corrosion and rust repair. This huge amount of money includes direct and indirect costs on rust repair. The direct costs are divided into two major factors:

  1. Cost of design, assembly, and construction
  2. This includes material selection (e.g. stainless steel to replace carbon steel), additional material to prevent rust formation (e.g. sealant, protective surface coating, and rust inhibitor) and cost of labor as well as equipment.

  3. Cost of management
  4. The cost of management comprises inspection, maintenance, rust repair and replacement, inventory, rehabilitation as well as loss of productive time.

Some experts believe that viewing rust repairs as part of the maintenance job is a lopsided focus. The annual costs of rust repair are extremely high, which is evident in the findings of a recently conducted research. Thus, rust repair and corrosion control should not be solely categorized as such.

To solve the tremendously expensive problem on corrosion and rust, these experts put emphasis on a shift of focus. Instead of looking for ways to repair and remove rust, we should think more of how we can prevent rust from developing. That is because preventive measures are relatively cheaper than treating rust problems.

Rust repairs and corrosion control will remain expensive. But with this shift of mindset together with proper planning and application of rust control technology, we can surely reduce our spending on rust repairs.