Putting gas in your car keeps the engine running, but what about all the other components of your vehicle?
The air conditioning, the radio, all the electrical components of your car: they are powered by your battery. That’s not to mention your starter, which gets the car going before the engine revs up. In other words, without your battery, you aren’t going anywhere.
They don’t last forever, either. Your battery will need replacing eventually. However, every car and every driver is different, so the length of time it takes for your battery to give out is different for everyone.
However, there are a few signs that it’s time for a new battery. So if your car has maybe been acting a little funny and you’re wondering “Do I need a new car battery?”, read on for a breakdown from CBS Collision Repair on how a battery works, how long a battery should last, and the signs you should look for to determine when to replace your car battery.
How Does A Car Battery Work?
For the most part, your battery and not your engine is doing the heavy lifting when it comes to starting and running your car.
When you turn your key, it sends a signal to your battery, which sets off a chemical reaction. This reaction transitions to electrical energy that cranks the engine, and voila: your car starts.
If the battery is dead, your lights will probably flicker, but your engine won’t be able to turn over.
How Long Does A Battery Last?
Well, it’s different for everyone, and for every car. Knowing when to replace your car battery isn’t an exact science: it depends on how long a battery can hold its charge as well as how long it’s capable of being recharged.
When to replace your car battery also depends on the conditions you’re driving in. In ideal conditions, i.e. no extreme temperatures and no excessive humidity, a battery can last up to six years. However, these conditions are virtually nonexistent, so a battery is much more likely to last closer to 4 or 5 years.
So, Do I Need a New Car Battery?
Since the average lifespan of a battery is about 4 or 5 years, depending on the conditions you live in, it’s important to start looking for the signs that it’s time to replace your car battery at around the three-year mark. If you do this, you can exchange your old battery with a new one before you end up stranded in a parking lot somewhere with a car that won’t start.
Unfortunately, all vehicle batteries do need to be replaced; there’s no way to avoid it. While there are no real overt signs that a battery is about to die, there are a few signs that may indicate its health is starting to fail.
Here are 7 signs you may notice when it’s time to replace your car battery:
- Your check engine light. There are many different issues with your car that may trip your check engine light. Your battery failing is only one possible explanation; usually, an illuminated check engine light will appear in conjunction with one of these other signs when it’s time to replace your battery.
- A slow starting engine. Over time, the bits and pieces of your battery wear out. When this happens, it will take your battery a little longer to turn your engine over. Slow starting is usually a battery’s last gasp before it kicks the bucket.
- Dim lights and electrical issues. This one seems kind of obvious, but you would be surprised how many people don’t notice when their lights begin to dim. The battery powers everything electrical in your vehicle, from your headlights to the display on your dashboard. If you are experiencing issues with these components, it may be time to start asking “Do I need a new car battery?”
- Quick-tip: the more things you plug into your car battery, such as phone chargers, extra speakers, or dashboard cameras, the faster the battery will die.
- A bad smell. Damage to the battery can cause it to leak gas. If you smell rotten eggs when you pop the hood of your car open, a leaking battery may be your culprit.
- Corroded connectors. When you look at your battery, if you notice a white, ashy substance on its metal parts, there is most likely a corrosion issue. Corroded terminals, meaning the positive and negative connectors on top of your battery, can lead to voltage issues, and trouble starting your car.
- A misshapen battery case. Exposure to any extreme temperatures, whether they be hot or cold, can cause a battery casing to swell or crack. Humidity is also particularly harmful to batteries, meaning that the damp Louisiana heat will wear your battery out like nothing else. If your battery is anything but rectangular, the answer to “do I need a new car battery?” is yes.
- An old battery. Sometimes a battery simply lives to the end of its lifespan. If it’s been a few years and you’re wondering when to replace your car battery, it’s probably time. The typical battery lasts 3-5 years, and if you’re in a harsher climate, your battery will likely be on the shorter end of that spectrum. Once you hit the three-year mark with your battery, it’s a good idea to get your battery performance tested regularly.
What Causes A Car Battery To Die?
Other than age, there are a few things that could cause your battery to die. For instance, if your car sits in your driveway for a long period of time, your battery may die. Likewise, lots of short trips that require the battery to exert energy to start but don’t allow it time to recharge can strain the electrical system.
Also, of course, don’t forget to turn your lights off. We all know how that’s going to end.
How Much Does It Cost To Replace A Car Battery?
So, we’ve answered the question “when to replace your car battery”, so your next question is probably how much it’s going to cost you. The short answer is that it depends.
The long answer is that your car battery’s price will vary depending on how old your car is, what model it is, and also who you’re buying the battery from. Batteries for newer cars can range anywhere from $80 to $150. Batteries for more luxury vehicles can sometimes hit $200. A reputable mechanic will likely charge between $65 and $100 for installation, depending on where the shop is located.
Call CBS Collision Repair!
If you’re wondering when to replace your car battery, call CBS Collision! Contact their Bossier office by calling 318.741.2373, or their Shreveport office by calling 318.636.6134. You can also request an estimate here.