If you know anything about batteries, you know that Optima is a leading manufacturer that can fulfill the requirements for a wide range of vehicles. From ecstatic dune buggies to luxury marine yachts, Optima has products for most vehicles on the land and the sea that you can think of. It also helps that most of them have won international awards for quality and reliability.
Still, even the best of the lot can come up short, either through neglect, adverse conditions, or a combination of both. That is why every user needs to learn about their car batteries in detail in order to prevent any prolonged issues, especially when you’re en route. If you’re one of those, then this is just the guide you need on Optima batteries troubleshooting: how to fix the most prominent issues.
How To Tell if an Optima Battery Is Bad?
There are several telltale signs that your Optima battery is going bad. A few notable ones are mentioned below.
- Corrosion on the battery case or the terminals
- Your car lights go dim, even when the engine is running
- Longer time required to crank the engine
- A grinding or crackling noise when starting the car
- A foul smell from the battery when you pop the hood
If you observe any of these issues, it is time to take a closer look and determine whether your battery needs repairs or replacements.
Test the Voltage First
You need to carry a voltmeter or multimeter within your vehicle at all times. Most car battery chargers, including the ones from Optima, already come with a voltmeter. But, it is much better to carry a multimeter that provides you with a more comprehensive analysis.
To measure the battery’s voltage, tune your multimeter with a range of 20 VDC. Then, connect both ends with their respective terminals on the battery and observe the reading. For a 12V AGM battery from Optima, you can refer to the following criteria.
- 7 – 13.2 Volts (Normal with 100% charge): Your Optima battery is working adequately within this range. You need not worry about repairing or switching it unless there are visible signs of degradation or damage.
- 0 – 12.4 Volts (Low with 25-75% charge): If your car battery is in this range and you believe that it’s charged, then it’s unable to hold a full charge. It might be due to age as its electrodes become sulfated or its electrolyte gravity decreases. At this point, you should get it checked by an electrical professional.
- 9 Volts or lower (Discharged): This is a highly undesirable but usually still recoverable stage. 0 Volts means that your battery probably has a short circuit. Even without it, experts recommend swapping your current battery for a new one.
Load Test Your Optima Battery
You can conduct a load test on your Optima AGM battery for a more detailed analysis. Although you can get it done from a service station or your nearest Walmart store, you can also do it with a multimeter.
Set your multimeter to detect 20 VDC and connect the wires to the terminals. As you’ll need to start your engine, it helps to use alligator clips to connect the wires and place the multimeter on the windshield.
All you need now is to put your car in the ignition and read the multimeter for 30 seconds. If the voltage stays within 9.5 -10.5 Volts, then your car battery is working fine. Any lower than that, and you might have to turn it in for repairs.
Recharging a Dead Optima
A dead Optima battery won’t give you any readings, no matter how hard to try to test it. In that case, you may need to revive it, which we’ll discuss later in this guide.
Why Does My New Car Battery Keep Dying?
Despite being a critical part of the electrical system, you must remember that other components affect the health of your car battery. If the battery has been proven adequate for use even after multiple tests, it’s time to focus on other parts:
Your car’s alternator charges the battery back up when the engine is running. So, if your Optima battery is still discharged after several minutes of idling your car, it may be an issue with the alternator. Check the alternator belt or the solenoid to ensure they are still intact.
If your alternator is working fine, the next step is to examine the cables connected to the battery. Rats and raccoons can quickly chew the wire off. The wires may also melt and threaten other engine components in the event of a short circuit.
The charge from your Optima battery travels through a distributor or ECU, depending on your vehicle’s make and model. If that component malfunctions, it can block it from starting your engine. So, if your battery is working fine, it helps to check the current distribution system.
While not a problem for diesel vehicles, spark plugs used in SI engines can get carbon on the ignition tips. That prevents the engine from cranking, even when your Optima battery is fully charged.
See full this video: EASY FIX! Car Battery Keeps Dying? How to fix in 1 minute
Why Is My Optima Battery Overcharged?
It is normal for fully charged batteries to go over their rated voltage. For example, an Optima battery rated for 12 Volts can often read 13.2 Volts when fully charged. That is due to the excess of charges dispersed within the electrolyte during the charging process. It also indicates that the electrodes are highly active and readily transfer the charge within the circuit.
Nevertheless, it would help not to keep your battery overcharged for extended periods. It accelerates corrosion on the terminals and increases the risk of electrical overload. In worst-case scenarios, the conditions may culminate in a fire.
You can see more this video: What should a 12 volt AGM battery read when fully charged?
Why Does an Optima Battery Have a Low Rate of Self-Discharge?
Optima manufactures AGM batteries with high-quality lead plates separated within each cell. Due to a modular design, the battery makes it harder for those plates to react with each other. That minimizes the battery’s self-discharge rate, so you can get your vehicle started even after leaving it unused for days on end.
How To Recharge Optima Batteries With a Battery Charger?
If your battery’s charge reduces to less than a specific point, you may have to use an AGM-compatible charger. It can even revive your battery from 0 Volts without increasing your electricity bill. In most cases, the Optima 400 Battery Charger can suit your needs. You can avail of it from Optima service stations and your local Walmart or Target store. It also works just as well for non-AGM batteries.
To recharge your battery with an AGM charger:
- Connect the charger with a charged battery or the mains power supply. Make sure the AGM charger is in the OFF state.
- Use the cables provided to hook up the charger to the discharged battery.
- Turn on the charger and check for the voltage and current for the first few seconds. It should stabilize at 12 Volts and 10 Amperes for a regular 12V RedTop variant.
- Leave the charger for an hour and check the progress of the battery. Regardless of the charge levels, your battery will now be fully charged.
- Turn off the charger and disconnect all the cables.
The best feature of the Optima 400 is that it has an auto cut-off that kills the connection if it detects overcharging. So you can use it safely, even for moderately charged batteries.
See more full this video: How to charge a car battery
Why Is Optima Not As Perishable as Other Batteries?
Thanks to the patented Spiral Cell technology and a rugged case build, Optima batteries can withstand increased vibrations and high-energy impacts from accidents. Moreover, they possess sealed insulation that prevents the external elements from interfering with the car’s ignition and keep any electrical fires in check.
What Causes a Car Battery to Keep Dying?
There are several reasons why your car battery might repeatedly keep dying. A few common ones include:
- Headlights or dome lights left on: The headlights and dome lights can extract plenty of juice from your car battery, especially when left in idle condition. Even with LEDs, an average family saloon can draw anywhere from 55 to 120 Watts from just one pair of headlights. Add to that loads like dome lights and roof-mounted strips, and you can scale up the consumption by a lot.
- The battery in weak or poor condition: The electrolyte of your Optima battery can deteriorate with time. With repeated charging cycles, the acid weakens as more charges get neutralized within the solution. Thus, you need to swap the electrolyte after some time to ensure that the battery still holds a substantial charge.
- Corroded or loose battery terminals: The electrodes at the battery terminals experience corrosion from the electrolyte solution and the external elements that react with the metals. The formation of rust or sulfates at the surface interferes with the functions of the electrodes. As such, they become loose and prevent the battery from charging to its full potential.
- Other parasitic drains in the electrical system: Accessories that you add to your car can drain the battery excessively. Whether you have an augment to the audio system or adaptive neon lights around the frame, make sure that your car’s battery is ready for it.
- Extreme hot or cold: Batteries subjected to extreme temperatures deliver sub-par performance. Most versions are designed for room temperatures (around 27°C or 80.6°F). Higher temperatures speed up the chemical reactions, increasing the evaporation of the electrolyte and the corrosion on the electrodes. On the other hand, freezing temperatures increase the current required to start the engine.
- Charging problems: With the engine running, your car’s battery charges utilizing the alternator. However, the alternator can lower its output through malfunctions or high humidity, lowering the battery’s charge over time.
Even with Optima batteries, the issues mentioned above can arise unless you adhere to a strict maintenance schedule. Therefore, it is best to take your battery to your nearest service center and let a professional look under the hood every few months.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Are Optima batteries still good?
Yes. All Optima AGM batteries offer decent performance for their rated life cycle, provided you keep up with the minimal maintenance requirements.
Can you refurbish an Optima battery?
Yes. You can go to your local Walmart Car Care center or an Optima service station to refurbish your old battery. Depending on the location, you might also get an excellent discount.
What are storage recommendations for Optima batteries?
It is best to store your Optima battery away from direct sunlight, dirt, and dust. Ensure that the environment has minimum humidity and less chance of any water spillage. Furthermore, it is best not to store any valuable items near it.
What is the life expectancy of an Optima battery?
A regular RedTop Optima AGM battery can last you well past 7 years. If you keep up with the maintenance, you can extend that lifespan past the 10-year mark.
Can a completely dead Optima battery be recharged?
Yes. If the battery still has its components in acceptable condition, you can recharge a dead battery via an Optima AGM charger or take it to the nearest service station.
Can Optima batteries be reconditioned?
It depends on the variant and the damage sustained by the battery. Often, if a battery has severe external damage or corrosion, it helps to purchase a new one rather than trying to recondition it.
Can I use an isolator with an Optima battery?
Yes. Any Optima battery is compatible with most isolators or solenoids.
Can I hook up an Optima battery in parallel with my other battery?
Yes. Although, you must use an Optima Battery Charger to keep the charging process as safe as possible.
And that’s all there is to it! You don’t need an electrical engineering diploma to determine the best for your Optima car battery. Just the tips mentioned above will do. If you liked this piece on Optima batteries troubleshooting: how to fix, try to stick around for more useful guides pertaining to more features in the near future.
- EASY FIX! Car Battery Keeps Dying? How to fix in 1 minute
- How to charge a car battery
- 6 Reasons Your Car Battery Keeps Dying
- How To Tell If Your Optima Battery Is Bad
- Frequently Asked Questions
- HOW TO RECHARGE OPTIMA BATTERIES WITH A BATTERY CHARGER
- Why does my car battery keep dying?