[Philkotse tips] Installing an auxiliary battery: How safe is it?

Oct 31, 2019 | Same topic: Handy Maintenance Tips
Understanding what auxiliary battery is, its purpose and uses and if it is safe to install one in your vehicle.

All vehicles running on diesel, gas or alternative fuel have car batteries. Car batteries allow the motor to start up. It is also the one that gives power to every vehicle's electronics every time the engine is not working.

On the other hand, a separate component is providing power if the engine is running. It is called the alternator. There will be circumstances where the power provided by the car’s battery is insufficient. For example, the majority of electric vehicles have high voltage batteries that give power to the engine.

auxiliary battery

A 12-volt auxiliary battery that powers other car accessories such as car stereo or radio

Aside from that, it also has a 12-volt auxiliary battery that powers other car accessories such as car stereo or radio. Some vehicles like motorhomes and campervans also have auxiliary batteries utilized to power everything – cabin lights and even refrigerators.

If you’re planning to add an auxiliary battery for your vehicle, but you’re having doubts about its safety, Philkotse.com is here to help. We will help you understand if you really need to add an auxiliary battery or not. And we will also tackle if it is safe and other important information you need to know if you're considering installing a secondary battery.

1. Conditions where a secondary battery can be helpful

Provides power for the high-performance audio system of the car

If your vehicle has extremely powerful amplifiers and similar components that need more power to run, the stock charging system of your car might not be able to provide enough power to it.

The auxiliary battery can be handy in this kind of situation. It can provide the extra energy needed to run the said components. It is also useful if you want to utilize the audio system of your vehicle when the motor is not running – which often happens in competitions.

High performance audio system of a car

The auxiliary battery is useful if you want to utilize the audio system when the motor is not running

Provides electricity for certain activities requiring it such as tailgating

An extra battery can be beneficial for drivers who enjoy activities such as tailgating. The extra battery will give the required juice to power up cooking equipment, televisions, radios and other components needed in keeping the party going.

tailgating activities

An extra battery can be beneficial for drivers who enjoy activities such as tailgating

>>> Check out: Main battery or second battery: Helpful info you need to know.

Primitive camping without the need to give up electronics that provide comfort

Some campers like to bring their car with them when camping. If your one of these people, you can easily use a power inverter in your car to run any type of electronics you can’t be without. With an auxiliary battery, you can assure that the vehicle's battery still has the needed power to startup the engine when it's already time to head home.

car camping

With an auxiliary battery, you can assure that the vehicle's battery still has the needed power

2. A situation where an auxiliary battery is not needed

If you’re planning to put an extra battery for your vehicle to make up for a weak main battery, just know that it will only be useless. An auxiliary battery won't be of any help if the primary battery can no longer carry a charge.

 It only means that if you’re already experiencing battery issues like having trouble starting your vehicle in the morning, installing a second battery is not the solution. It will never solve the problem with a weak primary battery.

car battery

An auxiliary battery won't be of any help if the primary battery can no longer carry a charge

If the battery of your vehicle won’t hold a charge anymore, it is a clear sign that it is already time to replace it. It is also an indication that there are certain kinds of problems in your car that you need to deal with before considering installing a secondary battery.

In some cases, specifically when you run several electronics when your vehicle is off and discovers that the motor won't start, then placing a secondary battery or high-capacity battery might solve it. But if not, then you should consider checking for a parasitic drain and resolve the problem. It’s best to do it first before trying anything else.

3. Things to do when the battery of the vehicle keeps going dead

It’s essential to make sure that the system is free from parasitic drain before replacing the battery or installing a secondary battery. It can be done through a test light. But if you want a more precise result, you can use a good ammeter.

It's relatively straightforward; however, you need to keep in mind that it's normal for some components to form a small amount of current.

checking the presence of parasitic drain in a car battery

Make sure that the system is free from parasitic drain before replacing any battery

There are also circumstances where it might show that a drain is present; however, it might just be a relay that is unable to energize and close. But if a drain is indeed present, you should first fix it before doing anything else. It might solve the problem.

But also remember that the battery might already be toast from all the times it went dead. In this case, you will need to jump-start the battery.

If you’re experiencing the problem for quite some time already, you might even find that the operational lifespan of the car’s alternator has been reduced because of the extra load brought by the dead battery.

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4. How to safely install a secondary battery

Installing a secondary battery can be done in various ways. However, the auxiliary battery must be placed in parallel with your primary battery. It means that both of the batteries' negative terminals should be connected to the ground, and the positive terminals can be linked to a battery insulator or with an in-line fuse. This is to prevent the battery from draining.

car auxiliary battery

Installing a secondary battery can be done in various ways

Additionally, you should make sure that the secondary battery is installed in a safe location. Other cars already have space in the engine part where you can safely place the auxiliary battery. If your vehicle doesn't have one, you can consider putting a battery box in your car trunk or other similar safe places in your car.

If you’re still wondering if it is safe to install a secondary battery — yes it is.  Just remember that an auxiliary battery cannot make up for a weak main battery. Also, only invest a secondary battery when you really needed it (as mentioned above).

Additionally, make sure that you install the secondary battery properly. If you’re not sure how to do the job correctly, it’s best to ask assistance from the expert. 

Author

Hanna Sanchez

Hanna is one of the most competitive swimmers in the country during her day. It was not long before she discovered her passion for the automotive industry as well. Nowadays, she balances her passion through writing as well as coaching.