How Do I Know When a Car Battery Needs Replacing?

Car battery

Have You Had Your Battery Checked?

It isn’t unusual to see drivers getting car battery service during the winter in and around the Atascadero, California area. From getting them jump-started to replacing them, the winter seems to see a lot of that happening. Believe it or not, the hot summers are worse on a car battery!  

How do you know if a car battery needs replacing or just recharged?

The last thing anyone wants is a car that won’t start because of a battery.  Depending on the day and time, it can be very inconvenient and it could leave you in an unsafe situation. If you’re experiencing any of the following, take your car to a mechanic for a car battery service: 

  • Life Assessment 

The average lifetime for a car battery is between 3 and 5 years, depending on some factors: 

  • Temperature
  • Time
  • Vibration
  • The Cost

Car batteries are not cheap, but there are less expensive replacement batteries based on the brand and type of battery. A base type of car battery can cost a little over $100 and can reach $250 or more. There are factors to consider when buying a replacement car battery. Services a battery is expected to perform are to provide power to the lights, radio, air/heat blower motor, and more. The more ‘gadgets’ your car has, the bigger the battery it will need.

  • Dim Headlights

A pretty sure indication that you need to get professional car battery service is when you notice the headlights dim while the car sits idling, then brighten back up as you accelerate. The technician will test your battery and the alternator, it could be either/or both. 

  • Slow Cranking

If it takes a few turning times the key for your car to start, or it sounds reluctant, you may need to have a car battery service technician check it out. It isn’t always a battery issue, it may be the alternator, starter, or bad wiring. An experienced technician will know how to check all possibilities and pinpoint the problem. 

  • Flicking Dashboard Lights 

As we’ve mentioned before, there are many car battery services expected by a car owner, like all of the electrical components, including the dashboard and all the interior lights. If you notice any of the light flickering, it is possibly the battery. Have a car battery service inspect the battery before you find yourself stranded! 

  • Slow Rolling Windows

This is only a problem if your car has electric windows, which most cars on the road do today. If they are slow to roll up and down, it may be the battery, but there are issues inside the door that could be the problem too. Have a professional car battery service inspect the situation and they can pinpoint the problem.

  • Excessive Corrosion 

Once a month or so, open the hood and take a look under there. If you see a powdery blue or white substance on the terminal connections, it could indicate the battery is nearing its end of life. Often, this can be cleaned off by a car battery service technician, and you’ll have many more miles left to go. By not cleaning them, the battery can’t charge the electrical system sufficiently. 

  • The Battery Age

The average lifespan of a car battery is between 3 and 5 years with 4 years being the most common. That lifespan can be shortened by several factors, like your driving habits, the distance you drive, and the weather. Each time you have the oil change, it is recommended to have car battery service performed too. 

What shortens a car’s battery lifespan?

There are things you can do (or not do) that will minimize the need for car battery service and lengthen the lifespan of your car’s battery:

1. Limit Extreme Temperatures Changes

You can’t control Mother Nature, but you can park your car where isn’t exposed to extreme cold or heat. Both of these can shorten the life of a car battery. When possible, park your car in the carport, a garage, or anywhere that can protect the car from freezing temps or strong UV rays. 

2. Securely Fasten The Battery

Any abrupt motions like quick starts, fast turns, and sudden stops can cause a battery to come loose and allow it to move around and vibrate. This puts a strain on the battery and affects the power it provides the electrical components. 

3. Not Driving The Car 

When a car sits undriven for too long, the battery will lose its charge. r garage for months on end, the battery will slowly lose its charge. If you’re going to be away for some time, leaving the car sitting, have someone periodically start the car and let it run for 10-15 minutes. 

4. Limit The Power Use 

Making sure the lights are off when you kill the car is important, but you don’t need to sit with the engine off and listen to the radio. These are things that will drain the car battery service. 

Staying Powered Up! 

Minimize the amount of times you help a fellow motorist by jump-starting their car. And avoid doing anything that drains your car battery completely. Each time a battery is allowed to go completely drained, it damages the cells inside and shortens the lifespan. If you need car battery service in Atascadero, CA, call us today at 805-466-3236!