When is the right time to replace your car battery?
Does the following situation seem familiar to you? You wake up, longing for a few more minutes of sleep, you go ahead and do all the necessary preparations for work, such as washing up, having breakfast and getting dressed. Then, as it happens most of the time, you rush to your car, you sit in it, you insert your key into the ignition and…Nothing! Yeah, it’s most likely the battery that’s letting you down, the battery which, providing you didn’t forget to turn off the lights the night before, has come to its end, thus letting you know it’s time to replace it. This is exactly what happens to be the subject of this eHow, which deals with how to recognize the signs indicating the need for a new car battery.
You Have a Hard Time Starting the Engine in the Morning
Again, providing you didn’t forget to turn off the lights the night before, the problem you have should be related to the battery. However, before you blame it on the battery, check whether some part of electronics is on, so as to be sure that it’s not some faulty switch or connection that are causing the problem.
The problem with the battery can be either its inability to hold charge, or not being supplied with enough power to run. If it doesn’t hold charge, it’s high time to replace it. But if it doesn’t receive enough power, you should go to your mechanic to check the alternator.
Be sure to check the battery terminals for corrosion (if they are corroded, clean them up using a little bit of water), seeing it as corrosion affects the electron flow to the cables, and then recharge the battery and check whether it holds the charge because if it doesn’t, it means it’s time to replace it.
You Hear a Click When Starting the Engine
If, when turning the key in the ignition, all you hear is a click, it is usually an indicator of the battery not having enough power to activate the solenoid and the starter, all for the purpose of starting the engine. There can be multiple causes of this problem, such as the alternator not providing a complete charge, the starter requiring too much power, a faulty solenoid or relay. In order to be sure what the problem is about, as well as whether any of the aforementioned elements need to be replaced, pay a visit to a professional car service center for a testing.
Your Engine Cranks When Starting It
If you’ve been a driver long enough, there is a great probability that you’ve experienced the famous engine cranking at some point, which didn’t lead to the engine getting started. In this kind of situation, in most cases, the problem lies within the battery.
This is where the good old method of using jumper cables and, of course, having a sweetheart of the driver of another car with a battery working properly, who is willing to “share” their voltage with you, at your disposal come into play. After you start your car, remove the jumper cables and don’t forget to drive the car for at least half an hour in order to make it possible for the alternator to recharge the battery. After you do that, turn off the engine for a minute and then turn it back on, so as to make sure that the car won’t give up on you again.
Of course, use this moment to check the battery at a professional car service center in order to find out whether you need a new one.
No Signs of Life When Starting the Engine, Impossible to Turn on the Lights
If, when starting the engine, nothing happens and the lights are out, the “prime suspect”, as you might’ve guessed, is the battery. Why? Because it supplies all the electronics and lights, especially when the alternator is not activated.
If, when starting the engine, nothing happens, but the lights are working properly, a problem of another nature may exist, such as something having to do with the starter or the engine mechanics.
You Are Able to Start Your Engine Successfully only from Time to Time
If the engine’s “mood” changes on a day-to-day basis, there is a possibility that the battery terminals are loose, corroded or simply damaged, as well as that there is an electric parasite knocking about, meaning electricity is being used, even when its source is turned off. It can also be a matter of having a bad connection somewhere. You can remove and then check the terminals on your own, but for everything else, you are recommended to go to a professional car service center.
You Have a Hard Time Starting the Engine in Cold Weather
This is something you need to pay special attention to, seeing it as having a hard time starting the engine in cold weather frequently is one of the first signs that your 4-wheeler’s battery is on its way out. We emphasize the word “frequently”, given the fact that at low temperatures, due to fuel being dispersed more difficultly and oil being thicker, the battery has less power than in normal weather conditions, which is why having a hard time starting the engine every now and then in cold weather is normal. However, if this becomes common practice which takes place 3 or more times per week, it means it’s time for you to go car battery shopping.
Of course, this isn’t the only indicator of a car battery whose lifespan is coming to an end, which is why we’re providing you with a list of signs based on which you can see your battery’s end coming:
- The need for frequent use of jumper cables;
- Increased battery charging (15 - 30 minutes) while the engine is off, and the radio or some other electronic are on;
- The need for turning your key in the ignition multiple times, when starting the engine;
- Your lights and electronics blink every time you turn your key in the ignition, when starting the engine;
- Having a hard time starting the engine after stopping;
- Your lights and electronics blink every time you accelerate, when driving;
- Your radio and electronic turn off, when driving.
Car Batteries’ Lifespan
A car battery’s lifespan is 2 to 3 years long on average, although certain manufacturers claim that their car batteries’ lifespan is 5 + years long. In most cases, a car battery will last as long as its guarantee.
You are recommended to replace your car battery every 2 or 3 years, prior to facing any problems, because, by then, it can be too late, and the last thing you want to experience is having your car battery let you down in moments, such as going on a family trip or rushing to an important business or private meeting.
Bear in mind that by having your car battery maintained properly, you ensure its maximum lifespan!
We hope that you’ve found this article useful. For any questions, unknowns, and suggestions you may have, please, feel free to contact us.