Just as I have written in an earlier article concerning how auto start/stop feature is killing car batteries, Bosch have conducted a survey that concludes seven in ten vehicle breakdowns were caused by battery malfunctions, followed by engine and wiring issues at 20 and five percent respectively in Malaysia. This is according to a survey of 350 Malaysian drivers aged between 18 to 55 that was recently conducted by Bosch, a leading supplier of automotive components for the aftermarket. The survey aims to deliver insights into car battery management habits among Malaysian drivers, which also revealed that around 75 percent of Malaysian drivers are using maintenance-free batteries while the remainder are using conventional lead-acid batteries.
“A car breakdown brings about much inconvenience to its driver, and even safety risks if the vehicle is in the middle of traffic. At Bosch, we urge all drivers to perform regular battery checks regardless of battery type, be it by themselves or by their mechanics with an electronic battery tester,” said Mr. Pang Yoon Kong, country manager of Bosch Automotive Aftermarket in Malaysia. “Furthermore, anyone working with batteries needs to take extra care not to have any sources of ignition nearby because gases escaping from lead-acid batteries are flammable.”
“As for owners of conventional lead-acid batteries, they need to be additionally conscientious with their battery maintenance. Approximately 50 percent of premature lead-acid car battery failure is caused by water loss, mostly due to the lack of maintenance or evaporation from high under-hood heat, especially in hot tropical climates such as Malaysia’s,” added Pang. “To prolong a lead-acid battery’s lifespan requires constant, regular maintenance on the driver’s part , which goes beyond topping up of distilled water when the battery fluid level falls. For instance, one criterion for battery longevity is to maintain a full charge, which would be difficult to achieve if the vehicle is making short city-driving trips while being equipped with power-hungry electronic devices, including navigation systems, dashboard cameras, and mobile phones which is common nowadays.”
Typically, maintenance-free batteries have higher cranking power and charge capacities, recharge faster, and last longer than comparable conventional lead-acid batteries, aside from not requiring any maintenance to function. Most are also equipped with indicators to determine whether the battery is at optimum charge or not, and also when it needs to be replaced. In addition, Bosch maintenance-free batteries are equipped with a flame-arrestor feature that enhances safety by preventing external sparks or flames from igniting battery gases. “We believe these to be the reasons why most Malaysian drivers are using maintenance-free batteries for hassle-free convenience and safety,” said Pang.
Of course I cannot claim that auto start/stop is the ONLY reason why battery failures are so common. There are many factors that contribute to this, chief of which is lack of awareness on the state of battery health. When was the last time you opened your bonnet and looked at the battery indicator (assuming yours come with one)? Also as mentioned in my article earlier, many workshops measure CCA as a means to determine battery health which is wrong. All this, coupled with a battery-straining auto start stop feature matched with the wrong battery type for said system makes it difficult to predict when your battery is going to die if no tell-tale signs appear.
Above are some advise from Bosch on how to avoid being stranded due to sudden battery failure. Read it well and my advise is also to buy original batteries from authorized retailers. If it’s Bosch batteries you want, they are available at these authorized dealers nationwide: http://az.bosch-automotive.com/en_MY/dealer-locater_my