Driving habits rather than battery defect are often the cause of battery failure in Nigeria.
A German manufacturer of luxury cars reveals that of 400 car batteries returned under warranty, 200 are working well and have no problem. Low charge and acid stratification are the most common causes of the apparent failure. Acid stratification occurs if the battery dwells at low charge (below 80 percent), never receives a full charge and has shallow discharges The car manufacturer says that the problem is more common on large luxury cars offering power-hungry auxiliary options than on the more basic models.
In Nigeria, battery failure is one of the largest complaint among car owners. Well after suspension parts and issues due to how terrible our roads are. The average car is only driven 13 km (8 miles) per day and mostly in a congested city like lagos or abuja or port harcourt. As a result, the batteries will never get fully charged and sulfation occurs. Sulfation is a buildup of lead sulfate crystals and is the number one cause of early battery failure in lead-acid batteries. Japanese cars are the most used cars in Nigeria: Toyota, Honda and the likes. These batteries in Japanese cars are small and only provide enough power to crank the engine and perform some rudimentary functions. Other cities may be shielded from these battery problems, in part because of long distance driving.
Good battery performance is important because problems during the warranty period tarnish customer satisfaction. Any service requirement during that time is recorded and the number is published in trade magazines. This data is of great interest among prospective car buyers throughout the world.
Battery malfunction is rarely caused by a factory defect; driving habits are the more common culprits. Heavy accessory power when driving short distance prevents a periodic fully saturated charge that is so important for the longevity of a lead acid battery. According to a leading European manufacturer of car batteries, factory defects amounts to less than 7 percent.
The battery remains a weak link and the breakdowns on 1.95 million vehicles six years or less are as follows:
15% flat tire
7% fuel injection
6% heating & cooling
6% fuel system
A breakdown due to the battery remains the number one cause.
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* Source ADAC 2008 for the year 2007