A terrible feeling is to know you “should” have replaced your cars battery, but didn’t. Image being stuck somewhere waiting on a tow truck because your vehicle doesn’t start, it is super cold, the kids in the back are extremely hungry and you’re late for an appointment. This is typically when your vehicle decides not to start. The big question is “how long should the battery in your car last?”
This is a great question and the true answer is “it depends”. A simple rule would be to replace your battery every four to five years. If you are in a climate that has extreme temps error on the earlier side. If you are someone that likes to roll the dice you can wait longer. However, if you are someone that depends on their vehicle and can’t afford delays replace your battery every four years.
Sometimes a vehicle will show signs that it is in need of replacing, however, sometimes they will go from working fine to not starting your vehicle. Some signs you may notice that can be from a week battery are:
- Vehicle turns over slow
- Lights start to dim (interior and/or exterior)
- Modules (computers) can shut down such as your navigation or other auxiliary items not required to drive
- Dash indicator lights (example check engine light) come on
- Vehicle goes into “safe” mode or “reduced power” mode
If you notice any of the signs listed above bring your vehicle into a local repair shop. Knowing some common issues with batteries and making sure your repair shop is checking them can assist with your battery lasting longer as well as helping to ensure proper operation. First, the battery cable ends must be tight. Many times these loosen over time due to the vibrations of the vehicle and, left unchecked, can cause your vehicle to be towed. The battery hold down is designed to minimize the vibrations. If this is missing make sure it is replaced to help avoid this issue.
A second issue is corrosion on the cable ends and battery posts. This is only an issue on under hood batteries that have top posts. If your battery is this style make sure it is properly cleaned annually. One great service is to have battery protector pads installed, which deflect the battery acid fumes when they escape the top of the battery. This prevents the corrosion for about a year and help extends battery life.
Believe it or not, batteries have many different locations on a vehicle. If the battery is not under the hood there will be jump posts under the hood. These can easily be mistaken for the battery location and when the battery is tested from this location the tests are very inaccurate. We recommend replaced batteries that are in other locations than under the hood based on age and not a battery test. Some of the locations for batteries are:
- Under the hood top or side post (side post batteries do not corrode)
- Wheel well
- Under the seat
- Under the floor board
Another huge factor in the life span of a battery is avoiding the battery being drained to have no charge. When the battery goes down this far it significantly affects the life of the battery and may never charge properly again.
For any questions on your battery or starting charging system give us a call. Carz R’ Us is your source for the highest quality batteries and service. We sell Interstate Batteries, which have a minimum warranty of 24 months free replacement and 60 months prorated. View our Battery video to learn more, or call and schedule your appointment today.