The lead acid battery is, hands down, the most popular rechargeable battery in use in modern automobiles. But it’s not the only one out there. There are types of batteries ranging from lithium-ion (yes, like in a cell phone) to wet cell and beyond, each with their own specific benefits.
But why is it the lead acid variety still persists as the favourite, wherever you go in the world? What is it that makes this battery better than anything else on the market? There’s a lot to learn. So, join us, today, for our rundown of the top 5 reasons the lead acid battery remains in the lead, to this day.
When it comes to car batteries, they don’t come much less expensive than a flooded lead acid cell. One of the least expensive battery options available anywhere in the world, this is the working man’s battery, through and through.
But don’t be fooled into thinking that means it’s bad quality. Owing to its rugged design and efficient energy production, a big part of your savings comes from not having to worry about this battery. And that’s a weight off your shoulders, whether you’re a novice or an expert.
While deep cycle cells may cost up to twice the price of an equivalent flooded cell, there’s very little to justify this increased price. So, from a financial standpoint, you’re already winning when you use a lead acid rechargeable battery.
The design on these batteries is also, often, rugged and designed to longterm use. Which is good because most of us don’t have the inclination to pop the hood every six months to check our batteries.
A lead acid battery is specifically designed to hold its own for a long period of time, even under adverse conditions. The construction and materials these components use are certified for severe shock conditions.
More than being convenient, this solid construction is much safer. The design, often, is such that the battery’s cells won’t leak in the event that the case is ever cracked or damaged. This means less risk to yourself, but also to the other components under your hood, as it might still be some time before you notice the damage.
Lead acid batteries are available in a huge range of sizes and capacities, making them one of the most popular automotive build items in the world. Luckily for the world, then, they’re also one of the most recycled products on the planet.
A battery at the end of its lifespan will, typically, be closed-loop recycled. What this means is the unit is completely recycled into a new battery, with no part being left behind. Fewer leftovers mean lower costs, but also less plastic, metal and chemicals filling up our dumps and landfills. Each part of the old unit goes right back into a new unit.
And the automotive community has really embraced this idea, as well. At present, it’s estimated that roughly 98% of all lead acid batteries on the market are recycled. It’s a huge benefit to the planet and a big selling point for the battery, itself.
Sulphation occurs in batteries when large, lead sulfate crystals form due to overcharging or a few other related factors. This build-up increases the internal resistance of the battery and may cause distortions in the battery and short the plates. This can be remedied by charging the battery at the correct speed, but could also result in irreparable damage if handled incorrectly.
Lead acid batteries are very tolerant to overcharging, helping to effectively cut this problem off at the pass. In terms of investments into your vehicle, it’s components like this that do the most good.
Because, the truth is, many of us aren’t mechanics or even all that interested in how our cars work, internally. So problems like overcharging can and do happen, and it’s natural to expect them. This is why these batteries are so popular, helping to eliminate some of the guesswork and let drivers enjoy their cars’ battery lives for longer.
Hundreds of Suppliers, Worldwide
In the quest to design a low-maintenance machine, it can be tempting to recommend getting the best quality parts in the beginning and done with it. But that’s not always possible.
The world’s best quality components are often the most expensive, and the investment might not be worth it to the majority of people reading this. Even if you factor in what you’d save down the line, you should have the option of driving a safe, reliable vehicle without breaking the bank.
But even if money’s no option, there’s always the question of sourcing the part you need. After all, your local mechanic’s probably not stocking hand-crafted car parts from Italy. And, if you need a replacement, you usually need it right now.
Lead acid batteries are, by leaps and bounds, the most popular battery in the world, with hundreds if not thousands of suppliers in every country. If you need one in a hurry, you’re never far away from a store that stocks them and a mechanic who can swap one out for you. And you could learn, easily, to do it yourself, as well.
The Lead Acid Battery: A Clear Winner
Ultimately, any kind of race for popularity between battery types is silly. All a battery needs to do to “win” against any other battery is to be safer and more efficient, and the only person who benefits from that is you. So, as long as you’re getting the best option for you, “popular” is a non-issue.
That said, however, the lead acid battery has been shown, time and again, to have everything a car owner should expect from their battery. Inexpensive, especially when compared to other starting batteries. Rugged. Available everywhere. There’s a reason this battery has done as well as it has, making its popularity a great sign of its quality.
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