When is it time to replace your car battery?
Ideally, you want to replace your car battery before it dies. Why? Well, there’s nothing worse than hopping into the car to head off to work, to meet a friend, or drop the children to school only to realise - you have a dead battery.
However, replacing a car battery before it dies can sound easier said than done. No one wants to outlay money on something, like a new car battery, before they need to. There are a few ways that you can tell that your car battery may be nearing the end of its service life.
What are the common warning signs of an old car battery?
- Slow engine crank: your car sounds sluggish when you attempt to start it, or it takes longer than usual to start.
- The check engine light is lit up on your dashboard: this will sometimes appear when your battery power is weak.
- Bloated, misshapen battery case: the result of exposure to excessive heat or cold and may decrease the life of your car battery.
- Corroded connectors or terminals coated with excessive discharge: this will look like an ashy, white substance that may suggest you have a battery fluid leak that could cause difficulties when starting your car.
If you notice any of these symptoms, head to your local BestDrive store to have a trusted professional assess the condition of your car battery.
How long does a car battery last?
The average lifespan of a car battery is approximately 3 years. However, there are many factors that will have an affect on the lifespan of your battery, which include the climate where you live and your driving habits.
Depending on where you live, the climate may have an impact on the life of your car battery. Extreme hot and cold temperatures may cause various issues.
Most types of batteries used in automotive applications contain a mix of sulphuric acid and distilled water, which functions as an electrolyte. In areas that experience extreme heat, the water can potentially evaporate, severely impacting the performance of your battery and reducing:
- Starting power
Extreme heat can also cause corrosion as rising temperatures will cause the water in your battery to evaporate. A faulty charging system can overcharge your battery, causing the water to evaporate at a much faster rate.
Most modern batteries are a sealed, maintenance-free design where the internal electrolyte is bound in a glass mat. Chances are, if you have a vehicle equipped with start-stop technology, you have an AGM battery, or absorbent glass mat battery. These are typically sealed and maintenance-free.
In extreme cold weather, your car battery works harder to generate the same energy as when it is warm; so an already weak car battery may fail to start your vehicle in cold conditions. Cold weather can also result in thicker engine oil, which places additional strain on your alternator and battery as they try to start your engine.
Your car battery requires adequate time to fully recharge between trips as it only charges when the vehicle is running. If you tend to only use your vehicle for short commutes, such as a trip to the local shops, or your office is only a short drive away...your battery may suffer from a decrease in performance.
Similarly, if you don’t tend to use your car often and it spends more time sitting in the driveway or in your garage for long periods of time, the battery will suffer. Even when the engine isn’t on, your car battery will continue to drain passively.
If you typically drive your car rarely, and short trips when you do, a battery minder, or tender, is a good investment as it will keep your battery in great condition while your vehicle isn’t being driven, and ensure it’s always in prime condition to start your car when you need it.
Worried about your car battery?
If you are concerned about the condition or age of your car battery, don’t hesitate to contact your nearest BestDrive store. We can assist you by:
- Testing the condition of your current battery
- Checking, and topping up as needed, the battery electrolyte level (if applicable)
- Ensuring the battery terminal and leads are in good condition
- Checking the alternator charge rate
If your existing car battery requires any maintenance, or if it is time to buy a new car battery - we will discuss your options with you. We supply and fit quality, Australian Century Batteries with options to suit most makes and models including batteries for passenger cars, SUVs and 4WDs.
BestDrive. You drive, we care.