29 August 2020 · Motoring Tips & Advice

The Reserve Capacity of a Car Battery | Phil Gilbert Toyota

When choosing a car battery, “reserve capacity” is one of the most overlooked - but most important - factors. A reserve capacity (RC) is the extra time your car will keep running for, after the charging system fails. So, if the alternator suddenly dies, the RC indicates how long you can continue to drive. This information is usually found on the battery itself, or in your car’s literature.

You can ensure your car runs as it’s supposed to by having the right mechanical, body and electrical accessories to hand. In this article, we’ll uncover more about car batteries, their reserve capacity, and why you should never rely on the RC.

Things that damage your car battery

There are things you can do to extend the lifespan of your Toyota’s battery - to save yourself money on investing in a new battery too soon. From your driving style, to forgetting to turn everything off when you jump out of the car, here are some things that drain your battery.

Relying on the reserve capacity

It’s good to know the reserve capacity is there for emergencies, but it’s always important to recharge your car battery before it gets too low. Simply relying on the reserve capacity is damaging, as it shortens the battery’s life. Be sure to regularly test your battery and recharge it when it’s running low.

Taking too many short drives

Starting up your engine takes a huge amount of energy from your battery, but it gets recharged by the alternator as you’re driving around. However, if you don’t go on many long drives, and are taking a lot of pit stops, the alternator probably won’t have enough time to recharge the battery - especially if it’s an older one. If possible, avoid taking frequent short trips in your car.

Leaving your headlights on

There’s a reason your Toyota makes warning beeps when you turn off the engine without turning off your headlights. It’s because this is a major battery drain. Many newer vehicles are built with a feature that automatically turns off headlights after a set period of time, but otherwise, the lights could stay on until the battery is completely wiped out.

“Parasitic draws”

A parasitic battery drain occurs when the engine is switched off, but an abnormal or continuous discharge of power is being used. In most cases, this is caused by things like interior lights, an open trunk, door lights or bad fuses. Since the alternator doesn’t charge the battery while the engine is switched off, the battery can’t put up with the strain of powering these components; this is known as a parasitic draw.

Contact Phil Gilbert Toyota

If you have any concerns about your Toyota, or you’d like us to check or replace your battery, you’re welcome to visit us at our Sydney Toyota Showrooms - based in Croydon and Lidcombe. For advice on ways to keep your Toyota running at its best, or to view our range of new and used cars for sale, book an appointment on (02) 9735 8400.