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Chevrolet Sonic Repair Manual: Battery Description and Operation

Chevrolet Sonic Repair Manual / Electrical / Battery System / Battery Description and Operation


Batteries produce explosive gases, contain corrosive acid, and supply levels of electrical current high enough to cause burns. Therefore, to reduce the risk of personal injury when working near a battery:

  • Always shield your eyes and avoid leaning over the battery whenever possible.
  • Do not expose the battery to open flames or sparks.
  • Do not allow the battery electrolyte to contact the eyes or the skin. Flush immediately and thoroughly any contacted areas with water and get medical help.
  • Follow each step of the jump starting procedure in order.
  • Treat both the booster and the discharged batteries carefully when using the jumper cables.


Because of the materials used in the manufacture of automotive lead acid batteries, dealers and service shops that handle them are subject to various regulations issued by OSHA, EPA, DOT, and various state or local agencies. Other regulations may also apply in other locations. Always know and follow these regulations when handling batteries.

Batteries that are no longer wanted must be disposed of by an approved battery recycler and must never be thrown in the trash or sent to a landfill.

Batteries that are not part of the vehicle itself, not the battery under the hood, must only be transported on public streets for business purposes via approved hazardous material transportation procedures.

Battery storage, charging and testing facilities in repair shops must meet various requirements for ventilation, safety equipment, material segregation, etc.

The maintenance free battery is standard. There are no vent plugs in the cover. The battery is completely sealed except for 2 small vent holes in the side. These vent holes allow the small amount of gas that is produced in the battery to escape.

The battery has 3 functions as a major source of energy:

Battery Low Start Vehicle Message

The body control module (BCM) monitors battery positive voltage to determine battery state of charge. If one or more of the BCM battery positive voltage terminals measure less than approximately 11.6V compared to the BCM ground circuits, this message will display and four chimes may sound. Start the vehicle immediately. If the vehicle is not started and the battery continues to discharge, the climate controls, heated seats, and audio systems will shut off and the vehicle may require a jump start. These systems will function again after the vehicle is started.

Battery Ratings

A battery has 2 ratings:

  • Cold cranking amperage
  • Amperage hours

When a battery is replaced use a battery with similar ratings. See battery specification label on the original battery.

Amperage Hours

The amperage hour rating tells you how much amperage is available when discharged evenly over a 20 hour period. The amperage hour rating is cumulative, so in order to know how many constant amperage the battery will output for 20 h, you have to divide the amperage hour rating by 20. Example: If a battery has an amperage hour rating of 74, dividing by 20 = 3.75. Such a battery can carry a 3.75 A load for 20 hours before dropping to 10.5 V. (10.5 V is the fully discharged level, at which point the battery needs to be recharged.) A battery with an amperage hour rating of 55 will carry a 2.75 A load for 20 hours before dropping to 10.5 V.

Cold Cranking Amperage

The cold cranking amperage is an indication of the ability of the battery to crank the engine at cold temperatures. The cold cranking amperage rating is the minimum amperage the battery must maintain for 30 seconds at −18°C (0°F) while maintaining at least 7.2 V. See battery label for the cold cranking amperage rating of this battery.

Battery Charging
Special Tools EL 50313 Battery Tester For equivalent regional tools, refer to Special Tools. Diagnostic Aids For best results, use an automatic taper-rate battery charger with a ...

Battery Disconnect Warning
Warning: Unless directed otherwise, the ignition and start switch must be in the OFF or LOCK position, and all electrical loads must be OFF before servicing any electrical component. Disconne ...

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