If you’re starting to notice some performance dips in your Volkswagen, or perhaps some of your features are not working at all, then it may be time for you to replace the battery. Unlike your TV remote, you can’t simply give your car a good whack and get it going again, so what do you need to do when your vee-dub needs a new battery? Read on to find out.
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What type of batteries does a Volkswagen use?
There is not a ‘one size fits all’ type battery for Volkswagen. In fact, there are four different types of battery that are used in Volkswagens, and they are listed below:
- EFB/EFB+ starter battery: An ‘Enhanced Flooded Battery’, or optimised lead-acid batteries, offer a longer service life and low discharge rate, so are regularly found in Volkswagens that are fitted with start//stop technology.
- AGM starter battery: An ‘Absorbent Glass Mat’ battery absorbs the acid and holds it in glass mats. These batteries have high performance and are suited to Volkswagens with air-conditioning or heated seats.
- Lead-calcium starter battery: Maintenance free, a lead calcium battery offers long service life and again are often found in vehicles with start/stop technology.
- EFB/EBF+ Economy Battery: Made especially for Volkswagens that are at least four years old, the Economy versions of the EFBs are slightly adjusted standard parts made by VW for VWs.
Do different models of Volkswagen need different batteries?
Unlike the packet of AA or AAA batteries you’ve got lying in your living room drawer, car batteries are not universal. Most models of VW will have specific types of batteries required, and your best bet is to check the manual of your car to see which ones you’ll need to use. As mentioned above, the type of features your VW has, such as heated seats or start/stop technology will influence what batteries you need.
What happens if you put the wrong battery in a Volkswagen?
Using the wrong battery in your car, whether it’s a Volkswagen or otherwise, can cause major electrical trauma for your car. Batteries do not just simply power the car, but all of your accessories too, meaning the more accessories you use, the higher the power you’ll need. Using the wrong size battery could cause the flow of electric currents to change, and the power surges could damage these components or the onboard computer.
If the battery is too small you could find that there is not enough power to run any of the accessories – even the radio. Short journeys also put more pressure on the battery and if your battery is too small it will not have the opportunity needed to recharge. If the battery is too large, aside from potentially not physically fitting into the battery component and potentially short circuiting, it could have the same effect as a battery that’s too small.
How to find the right battery for your Volkswagen
The easiest option to find the right battery for your VW is to look at your owner’s manual and find the battery section. Alternatively, you can look for the labels on your old battery to see what the BCI Group Size is, which should usually be placed on the top or the front of the battery itself. Finally, if you’re still struggling, you can enter your reg plate into any major auto parts retailer website to find out what you need.
Can I replace my Volkswagen’s battery myself?
Replacing a battery is definitely a task that can be undertaken yourself should you wish, and there’s nothing that says you have to take it to your local garage to get it changed by a professional. However, if you’re not sure you know what you’re looking at when you pop the bonnet, then it may be best to take it to your nearest garage or major auto retailer, most of which will offer a battery changing service.
How to replace your Volkswagen battery
Firstly, you’ll need to remove your old battery, which will likely be held in place using nuts that slot into its retaining bracket. Once they’re removed, keep them safe and inspect your battery to make sure there’s been no leaks. If you notice any leakage of battery acid at all, then call an expert immediately to examine the battery further and replace it for you. Battery acid is highly corrosive and could cause significant damage to the surrounding areas.
Once all checks have been carried out, it’s time to disconnect the terminals. Always disconnect the black, negative lead first (the one with the minus symbol). This is done using a spanner, but never leave the spanner resting on the battery as this could create a current and give you an electric shock. Gently unscrew the nut until the clamp can be removed and then wrap the clamp on the end of the lead with duct tape. Now repeat this method on the red positive lead (the one with the plus symbol). Always keep these leads apart, although the tape should keep these safe.
Once you’ve got the old battery out and safely stored, ready for recycling, it’s time to fit the new one. This must be done in the opposite way to the removal, so make sure you connect the positive terminal first. Once the positive lead is securely in place, fit the negative terminal.
What is the life of the battery?
On average, most car batteries should last approximately three years without any issues. Many batteries may last much longer, but the three year, or 36 month, milestone is where you’ll start to notice a decrease in performance.
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