• Tuesday, May 28, 2024
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Auto batteries: Do you favour wet or dry cells?


Your vehicle won’t start without batteries and car batteries do not last forever. When a car battery is close to the end of its useful life, there is always warning signs that, if heeded, can prevent a sudden breakdown. Since the cost of automotive batteries is significant, it pays to look for the signs of impending failure to ensure enough time to arrange funds for a replacement.

Batteries are an important part of vehicles and consumers spend a lot acquiring them. They either have a dry or wet cell. At all times, car owners, drivers must be mindful of their batteries which, apart from the engine block, are major components that keep the vehicles in motion.

There are many different brands of dry and wet cell batteries – Unicar, Fuji, Universal, Rocket, among others

On the average, a battery lasts about five years when in proper condition, but can last even less in extreme weather conditions. Besides, car batteries often fail due to factors such as abuse, undercharging or overcharging.

According to Tijani Saheed, who sells batteries and also re-charges old ones, “if your car would not start, a faulty battery could be the problem and a good way to test whether your battery is dead or not is to jump-start your car using another car’s battery.”

It is also important to keep jumper cables in the car for emergency start-up apart from  making sure the cables are free of rust and corrosion and that there are no exposed wires before using them.

Saheed also commented on some common causes of battery failure which include loss of electrolyte (which accounts for over 50 percent of the failures) due to under-hood heat or overcharging; deep discharges (leaving your lights on); misapplication or using an undersized battery; undercharging or loose alternator belt; excessive vibration amongst others.

It is important that you test your battery on a regular basis, including when you have your car serviced, before long trips or after being recharged.

Maintain all areas/parts of your vehicle as directed in your owner’s manual and/or by your mechanic. This will reduce the chances of other engine components draining power, and also know what type of battery is in your car.

The two most common types of car batteries are the dry and wet cell.

Wet cell battery

Wet cell batteries are the first rechargeable specifications, but are still in common use today. However, the major problems associated with wet cell batteries in all applications is leaking sulfuric acid, as it is a dangerous corrosive that can damage what it contacts and can burn human tissue. These types of batteries are heavier and require more maintenance. They are the most widely used and the cheapest for equal power.

Dry cell batteries

Almost all modern cells are dry because they do not spill or leak and require no user maintenance. The main wet cell still used is the lead-acid as used in cars (and some of these have the acid gelled to keep it from spilling or leaking).

These days, dry cells have taken over from the traditional wet cell makes because they are more practical and have greater resistance to cold weather. Batteries come in a variety of sizes and with different names; the cost of the battery depends on the size. Also, if the terminals are in the wrong place, your car’s cables might not reach, or they may not fit securely.

What consumers say on the battery-type they prefer and why

I use dry cell because it is better and I have been using it for about two years now. – Augustine

Dry cell battery is what I use and it was recommended by my mechanic; it is long lasting. – Temilade Yusuf

Dry cell battery is better because you don’t have to change the water and it lasts longer. Gone are the days when you buy batteries that will stay up to two years These days, after six months, you should start planning for another battery. For the wet cell batteries, the water dries off easily and the cells often cut off. Prices also depend on the size. – Richard, a driver

Anne Agbaje