When to Change Your Car Battery

couple getting out of red car

All too often, car batteries are taken for granted until they simply stop working. A dead battery can be an inconvenience at best and, at worst, may leave you stranded somewhere. That’s why it’s important to know when you should replace your car battery.

It’s important to look for warning signs long before the moment your battery is no longer strong enough to start the engine. In some cases, a dead battery can be caused by avoidable human errors, such as leaving the lights on and draining the battery overnight. In cases like this, you can get a jump-start to help start your car and recharge the battery.

However, other problems can indicate that your battery is reaching the end of its useful life and that it might be time to replace it. Here are some warning signs that suggest it’s time for a new car battery.

Warning signs your car battery might need to be replaced

The age of the battery

One of the main indicators that you might want to replace your battery is age. On average, your car battery should last five to seven years. If it’s getting older, keep a close eye on how well it performs over time.

How often the car is driven

Some batteries last longer and others die even sooner; much of it has to do with how often you drive your vehicle. Driving your car charges the battery. If you take your car out daily, the battery is likely going to last longer than the battery in a car that sits unused for long periods of time.

Time it takes for the engine to start

If your car engine begins turning over more slowly when you start it, that’s a good indicator that your battery is beginning to fail. The lights on your dashboard might go dim or flicker when the car is starting, which is another indicator that your battery may be getting weak.

Other signs that it might be time to replace your car battery

  • The headlights dim when the car is idling, although they brighten up when you rev the engine
  • You can see signs of corrosion at the battery terminals and cables
  • Functions like the power windows run very slowly when the engine is idling compared to their speed when the engine is running

If you notice these symptoms in your vehicle, it’s probably time for a new battery. You can always be sure by taking your car to an automotive repair shop.

Your mechanic can test the battery using equipment that measures its CCAs, or cold cranking amps. This will tell you how much starting power your battery has. From there, your mechanic can help you determine whether it’s time to replace the battery or not.

Maintaining a strong battery is one important component of car maintenance. Learn more about performing a check-up on your vehicle to ensure its systems are working efficiently.