When to Replace Your Car Battery? 5 Signs that Could Mean Right Now
We all know the importance of a well-maintained engine, functional brakes and a clean exhaust system. But some drivers forget about their batteries. In fact, it’s not so much that they forget, but rather, they don’t pay enough attention to their batteries until it dies. It’s both interesting and unfortunate since a dying battery gives off quite a few signs about its impending death. That’s why it’s important for you to recognize these warnings, so that you know when to replace your car battery. Although it’s not a very costly fix, a dead battery can be a major inconvenience. That’s why you want to replace it as soon as you notice there’s a problem.
1. Starts One Day, Doesn’t Start the Next
Inconsistent starting is a common sign your battery is on the decline. Understandably, extremely cold days in the winter could make your battery a bit sluggish. But when you find this happening somewhat frequently, it’s time for you to think about checking your battery. There are a few reasons why you may be having this problem. First, you may have battery terminals that could be broken, calcified, corroded or loose. The other cause for this problem could be some other gadget or car part that’s draining power. This is especially true for those of you who love car mods. To start, check your battery cables since they often are the source of the problem. Additionally, you can check the cables without much of outside help. The cables should fit tightly onto the posts. If not, you will need to fix them so that they are firm, or you can leave it in the hands of your mechanic if you prefer.
2. You’re Always Jumping the Battery
Once in a while, you’ll have to jump your battery. But if you become known at your local grocery plaza for being the guy or gal who always needs a boost, then it’s time for you to replace that battery. You can charge it every time if you wish, but the time will soon come when you have to toss it. This is something to keep in mind if you’re currently boosting your battery three or more times a week. Even if the battery is relatively new, jumping the battery so often is a clear indication that it needs to be replaced. Don’t stall. You can have it examined by a mechanic, but even they will most likely recommend you to toss it.
3. Sluggish Electronic Accessories
Sometimes, your battery won’t give off an obvious sign like difficulty starting the engine. It’s a little more subtle at times. One sign that throws people off is the sluggish operation of your electronic devices. For example, your windows may roll up and down at an abnormally slow pace. As a result, you might think the problem rests with your windows when it really doesn’t. You may notice your dashboard lights dimmed down at night, or you may find that your radio (or sound deck) doesn’t play your tunes at the volume you want. These signs are deceiving, because the problem may lie within your battery. If you are having this problem, you can test your battery with a multimeter (or have your mechanic do it for you) to see its strength. From there, the results will give you an idea of when it’s time to replace it or not.
4. Strange Sounds When Starting
For some people, the sounds of a strained battery may lead to confusion as well. Many car noises come from a damaged engine or transmission, so it’s easy to overlook your battery if you notice these sounds. But if you hear clicking, grinding or buzzing, you might want to point fingers at the battery. As it gets closer to dying out, it will struggle louder and louder until other problems start appearing. Again, you can use a multimeter to test the strength of the battery, so that you can know for sure if the problem is coming from there.
5. It’s Old & Overused
Maybe there’s no obvious sign that your car battery is about to die. But there’s one factor that many drivers overlook – your battery’s lifespan. The average cell lasts roughly 3 – 5 years, so it’s important for you to consider its age, especially if you bought your car a few years ago or if you drive a used vehicle. Apart from age, there’s the issue of use. If you put a lot of clicks on your car each year, expect your battery to die sooner than those who don’t. When combined with other factors, such as climate and driving conditions, the lifespan of your battery can be significantly different from another driver with the exact same one as you. You may not have to replace an older battery so soon, but don’t forget about it completely if you’ve had the same one for a while.
A Guide to Buying a Car Battery
If you have to buy a new battery soon, it’s a good idea to make sure of a few things before proceeding. Some of you are car enthusiasts and have probably exchanged a battery or two, so you’ll know what shopping for a new one will entail. For those of you who don’t, pay attention.
Tips for Buying a New Car Battery
- Learn what kind of battery your car needs
- Find out what options/alternatives there are
- Double check your manual or ask a mechanic for help if you’re unsure of what to buy
- Shop around for different options
- Decide who should install it (you, mechanic, trusted friend)
Give Your Car a New Spark
Due to the fact that batteries are not too costly and are easy to replace, we often think little of them until they die out. But they give our cars life – without them, your vehicle stays put. The last thing you want is to end up stranded or unable to move because of a dead battery. So take good care of yours. Beware of any signs that may indicate it’s about to die, and swap it for a new one if necessary. That way, you won’t find yourself stuck in a plaza or on the roadside.