Do you need to know often to replace car battery in your car or truck? You may have heard that replacing a battery is necessary every five years.
However, the battery lifespan depends on a variety of factors, such as the age of the battery, the region you live in, and the model of your car.
If you drive your car too frequently, the battery lifespan will be shorter. Overall, replace your battery if it fails to generate a sufficient charge within your car.
You can also extend the lifespan of the battery by cleaning the connector and battery, testing the battery frequently, checking the acidity levels, and maintaining the battery’s warmth.
This article will further highlight when to replace your car battery. Let’s explore.
Table of Contents
5. The Time Factor
Batteries naturally degrade over time. The right time to use a battery depends on how often you use the vehicle.
If you use your car frequently, you’re not giving your battery enough time to recharge. On the other hand, the battery will recharge longer if the car sits for long periods.
If you use your car more often, consider replacing the battery sooner than five years. Over time, you may notice the following issues:
- The engine has trouble starting
- The check engine light comes on
- Your vehicle needs incessant jump starts
- You have dimmer headlights
- You notice damaged battery connectors
Dimmer lights are one of the most notable issues because it means your battery lacks the ability to charge the lights fully.
The more you use other electronics in the vehicle (i.e. a charger), the faster the battery will die. Therefore, operate at minimum capacity until you get a new car battery.
4. Intense Climates
Hot and cold weather can affect your battery negatively. Heat invigorates the chemical reaction within batteries, but too much of it can erode performance. The heat under your hood can also degrade the battery’s integrity.
A battery can last less than five years in extreme hot or cold weather.
- Example: A wet cell battery in places like Arizona or Nevada last around three years.
The best time to check your battery is during the summer. You can test your battery’s ability to generate a voltage, or you can have a professional test it for you.
- Note: Don’t replace your battery if the test is positive. Only replace it when the test shows negative results.
You should also test your battery during the winter, especially if you live in an area prone to frost and snow. Cold weather makes your engine oil thicker, forcing your battery to do more work.
Further, the cold hampers the battery’s chemical reaction process. If the test shows a weak battery, replace it immediately.
Roadside assistance specialists deal with a high number of stranded motorists during the winter due to faulty batteries. Your battery could lose as much as 60% of its power in zero-degree weather.
In cold weather, the average battery lifespan can last three years. Your battery could last less than three years if it generated weak power before winter.
3. Vibration Dangers
Does your car vibrate often? If so, your battery may wear out sooner than the usual lifespan. Excessive vibration in your vehicle can loosen the battery components. The connections within a wet cell battery are fragile and can break upon excessive jolting.
Your battery could also die sooner if the following occurs:
- You drive on rough roads constantly
- You have a loose battery clamp that damages the battery
You risk battery degradation if you drive on bumpy roads routinely. Rough roads can damage the battery exterior and battery cables.
The same hazard can occur with loose clamps. Repeated contact with a loose clamp can shave years off your battery.
After replacing your battery, use battery mounts or clamps to hold it in place on bumpy roads. However, you should also check the mounts regularly to ensure they remain mounted.
2. New Car Model
New-model cars tend to drain batteries more than older cars. New cars usually have advanced computers that require additional electricity.
The circuitry can place a heavy strain on the battery and shorten the lifespan. If you have a new car, consider replacing the battery sooner than the average five-year lifespan. Instead of standard batteries, many new cars use absorbed glass mat batteries.
AGM batteries generate more power to support advanced circuitry and mobile phone charges. AGM batteries can last anywhere from six to ten years. However, they cost anywhere from 40 to 100% more than conventional batteries.
1. Foul Odor
A foul odor within your car indicates leaking battery acid. The odor may have a rotten-egg smell because the battery contains sulfuric acid.
Leaks occur when the components within your battery begin to break down. The circuitry can come loose, resulting in acid leaks.
Replace your battery immediately if you notice battery acid. Battery acid can also erode your connectors and damage your battery. You may also notice smoke coming from your hood.
Knowing How Often to Replace Car Battery Requires Foresight
Knowing how often to replace car battery requires looking out for various warning signs. Red flags include a check engine light, dim lights, engine trouble, and degraded battery connectors.
If you live in extreme temperatures, your battery could last around three years. In ideal circumstances, however, your car battery can last beyond four years. You can prolong your battery’s lifespan by maintaining it regularly.
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