When it comes to your car battery, your primary focus is making sure it gives your car the power it needs to get you where you need to go each day.
But when looking at your battery, you may notice a cover and wonder if the cover itself is actually necessary.
A car battery cover is not necessary, but it does provide several key benefits, such as added temperature insulation and protection from corrosion and rust. Battery covers help the battery function better and extend its lifespan.
Keep reading to learn more about why the seemingly simple battery cover is such a useful vehicle accessory!
What is the Point of a Battery Cover?
If your vehicle includes a battery cover, it is not there just for decorative purposes. In fact, a battery cover does serve several important functions.
Most importantly, the battery cover will help extend the life of your vehicle’s battery.
Whether the cover is plastic housing or more of an insulated jacket, the cover will protect your battery when outside temperatures get extremely cold.
Since very cold temperatures affect the chemicals inside car batteries, the battery cover can insulate your vehicle’s battery just enough so that it can proceed through its normal progression of temperature changes at a slow and steady pace.
By doing so, this lessens the risk of your battery shorting out or experiencing other problems that may leave it dead on arrival.
The car battery cover also helps protect the terminals on the battery from rust or corrosion. Just as it helps guard against cold temperatures, the cover also helps keep water, dust, and dirt away from the battery terminals.
When these are left exposed to the elements under your car’s hood, it accelerates the pace at which rust and corrosion occur.
Do Battery Terminals Need to be Covered?
While it’s not mandatory that your vehicle’s battery terminals be covered, it is usually a good idea if they are given this added level of protection.
Though you may not notice battery terminals being covered in older vehicles, most of today’s newer vehicles do have covers for the battery terminals.
The primary reason for doing so is to keep the terminal sealed and not letting water make contact with it, since this can cause rust, corrosion, and short-circuiting that could kill the battery.
In fact, electrical safety is one of the main reasons why newer vehicles have covers for battery terminals.
With more stuff now being packed under the hoods of newer cars, there is often very little clearance between the hood when it is closed and the battery terminals. If accidental contact takes place between the hood and the battery, arcing may take place to the hood’s underside, burning off paint and seriously damaging the battery.
If you drive your vehicle in an area that has quite a bit of smog, having battery terminals that are uncovered can increase the likelihood of terminals becoming rusted or corroded.
This is due to the concentration of nitric acid in the atmosphere, which increases when high levels of industrial and vehicle emissions are present.
Though the chances of an explosion under your hood are rare, battery terminal covers do help in making sure this rarity does not become reality.
Since your car battery is constantly recharging, hydrogen gas is produced during this process.
Though a gas buildup under your hood is unlikely, it could potentially happen under the right circumstances.
By having battery terminal covers, the probability of arcing is negated, which in turn eliminates any source of ignition for hydrogen gas.
Finally, should you find yourself in a situation where your battery has died and you need a jump start, battery terminal covers can come in very handy.
When you look at battery terminal covers, you will notice they are bright colors of red or yellow in most cases, and also have plus or minus signs on top of them.
Should you need a jump start, having these terminal covers will make it much easier to not make a mistake, which can easily happen on a dark, cold night when you just want to get your car started and head for home.
Do Battery Covers Need to be Replaced?
In most cases, it is not necessary that you replace the battery cover. However, after learning of the many benefits a cover offers, you may want to do so after your battery has been serviced.
For newer vehicles, most manufacturers now suggest the battery cover be replaced each time the battery is serviced.
However, some people tend to believe that the battery cover actually traps more heat around the battery than necessary, which could lead to it overheating and becoming damaged.
Overall, we often find that most people tend to toss aside their car battery covers, looking at them as more of a trim piece that gets in their way when they are doing this and that under the hood.
However, should your vehicle contain an unsealed battery, meaning it is one that has removable caps on its top, your car battery cover will play an even more important role in keeping the battery in good condition.
Along with preventing rust and corrosion, the battery cover may also help keep the temperature in these batteries better regulated, since unsealed batteries are more prone to overheating and having their fluid boil and leak out.
Ultimately, there are reasons to keep the battery cover or opt to set it aside. Since we tend to go by what the vehicle manufacturer recommends, we suggest you do the same.
Will Not Having a Battery Cover Really Damage My Battery?
Though the jury is still out on whether or not a car battery cover is really necessary for all vehicles, most experts believe having one under your vehicle’s hood offers more pros than cons.
As an example, think about how warm weather affects your car’s battery. While you know very cold temperatures will sap the life out of your battery, so too will warm weather under the right conditions.
During the summer, having a battery cover will keep unnecessary engine compartment heat from compromising your battery.
In fact, some research suggests that eliminating the battery cover from your car can shorten your battery’s lifespan by almost 70 percent, especially if you live in and drive you car in a very hot climate.
Is It Easy to Get a New Battery Cover?
Yes, it is usually very easy to get a new battery cover for your vehicle.
Just as with any other part, you should be able to find what you need at a local auto parts store, your vehicle’s dealership, or by shopping online.
In most cases, you probably won’t spend much more than $20 to obtain a car battery cover replacement.
Once you do, it should also be very easy to install on your own. Should you have any trouble doing so, your mechanic should be able to do it for you in a matter of minutes.
Should I Worry if the Battery Cover is Missing from a Car?
If you are looking at a vehicle you are considering buying and notice it does not contain a battery cover, you should not necessarily be worried.
Should the car be running well and the battery appears to be in good shape without any visible signs of rust or corrosion, you should have no problems. After all, should you buy the car, you can probably find a battery cover that fits if you feel it’s important.
Since you want to do everything possible to keep your car battery in good condition, it may benefit you to make having a car battery cover a high priority for your vehicle.
By doing so, you may extend its life and prevent other unexpected events from occurring.