Torque Shop

How do I check the health of my car battery? There is a status indicator, with a label printed next to it, saying black is okay (green tick) and yellow is not okay (red cross). Right now, the status indicator shows black. Do I also need to check the electrolyte level? It is difficult to do this as the battery compartment is cramped and the battery is too heavy to lift. My car is an eight-month-old Volkswagen with a Start/Stop system.

As long as the battery condition indicator is black, you need not worry.

Cars with a Start/Stop function demand a higher level of electrical energy because the frequency of starter motor operation is much higher. Such cars come with more efficient alternators, heavy-duty starter-motors and specially designed batteries.

In the case of your Volkswagen, its battery is designed to take in charge from the alternator at a quicker rate and it is capable of enduring multiple starts during a journey.

A Stop/Start system controller manages stop-start activity based on battery state and will never allow the system to operate if a low battery level is detected. It does not require higher maintenance.

Generally, car batteries should last at least one year, although neither car manufacturers nor battery makers ever define battery lifespan.

If you need to replace your car battery, make sure the new battery has the correct amp-hour (Ah) rating (stated on the original battery) and, more importantly, it is an Enhanced Flooded Battery (designed for Stop/Start functions).

If you are worried about suddenly running out of battery power, you might want to replace your battery every 12 to 18 months.

Shreejit Changaroth

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 08, 2018, with the headline 'Torque Shop'. Print Edition | Subscribe