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Stop-Start Systems Tough on Batteries

Traffic stuck at red lightStop-start technology, which shuts off a vehicle engine when it’s at rest, is a standard feature on more and more automobiles. While the technology is designed to improve fuel economy, it can shorten the life of your battery.

If your vehicle has a stop-start system, the engine will shut off when the car is at rest, such as at a red light or in a fast food drive-thru. The engine restarts as soon as the driver lifts their foot off the brake.

The AAA estimates the average American spends 17,600 minutes driving each year. Of that time, 20 percent is spent at red lights - or roughly 58.6 hours (nearly two-and-a-half days) spent stuck at a red light each year.

Stop-Start System Designed for Fuel Efficiency 

Idling wastes approximately 3.9 billion gallons of gasoline every year.

In their search for ever-increasing ways to maximize fuel economy, automotive manufacturers began introducing stop-start systems.

Volkswagen debuted the first production stop-start system in 1983 with its European Polo Formel E. Today, nearly every major automotive manufacturer utilizes idling stop technology on at least some of their models.

New Technology Heavily Reliant on the Battery

While stop-start systems are estimated to improve fuel economy by as much as 15%, they are heavily reliant on the battery.

The lead-acid batteries used in most vehicles generally spend most of their time at full charge. However, batteries in automobiles with stop-start systems spend more time in a state of partial discharge.

Lead-acid batteries consist of a number of cells. Each cell has positive and negative plates, separators and electrolyte, all contained in a battery container.

Cells are densely packed with alternating lead and lead oxide sheets.

Using an electrochemical reaction, a lead-acid battery converts chemical energy into electrical energy.

When a battery is used, sulfuric acid in the electrolyte is being depleted. As a result, the electrolyte closely resembles water.

As that is happening, sulfate from the acid is coating the plates, which reduces the surface area over which a chemical reaction can occur.

When a battery is charged, the process is reversed, driving sulfate back into the acid.

Without a full charge, lead sulfate builds up in the battery, leading to sulfation, a buildup of lead sulfate crystals.

Sulfate materials crystallize on the discharged portions of the battery plates.

While initially small, the sulfate crystals become larger after repetitive cycling. Ultimately, they increase to a size that makes them difficult to dissolve.

When they reach a point where they can’t be dissolved, a battery is deprived of a full charge. (Also called “killing the battery” or “draining the battery.”)

CTEK Chargers Help Extend Battery Life

Maintaining your battery with a smarter charger from CTEK can maximize the life of your battery.

CTEK chargers, which plug into a wall outlet and attach to your battery, apply a series of 4 to 8 patented charging and maintenance stages using unique microprocessor-controlled charging processes.

When required, they will automatically take appropriate action based on your battery’s needs: reviving, charging, conditioning, desulfation, and maintaining your battery.

Certain CTEK chargers have a special reconditioning or RECOND mode that helps to revive batteries that have been sitting unattended for long periods and are deeply discharged.

Others even have a power supply mode, so you can change out your vehicle’s batteries without losing any computer program settings and/or to provide clean and constant power in support of any professional shop flash reprogramming service needs.

Once the charger is connected, you can forget about how long the battery needs to be charged or whether it is sulfated or not.

CTEK chargers take care of everything automatically so that you can enjoy the work or pleasure that your battery was destined to provide. Simply ”Connect and Forget.”

View CTEK’s complete line of smarter chargers.

“Having owned several of another ‘popular’ brand of charger, the CTEK is far and above superior in every possible category. WELL worth the miniscule additional cost. ”