Car batteries have a limited life span, which prompts the question of when they should be replaced. The answer varies between batteries and their uses. However, there are some factors you can keep in mind.
All batteries degrade over time. Manufacturers usually recommend replacing them after three to five years. Once you hit three years, start testing the battery regularly such as when you have the oil changed.
The way you use your vehicle affects the battery. If you exclusively drive short distances, the alternator might not have enough time to fully recharge the battery. Vehicles that aren't driven for a while discharge the battery until it's drained. Anytime the battery needs to be recharged, it cuts into its life span.
Extreme temperatures damage the inner structure of car batteries. Carmakers put measures in place to help with heat protection, such as heat shields. Make sure those stay in good shape as your vehicle ages. Your local climate matters as well. A battery that would last five years in a mild area might only last three in a hot southern locale.
Signs of a Failing Battery
Not all batteries will warn you that they're going bad, which is why it's important to test it regularly. Sometimes there are signs, though.
Battery Warning Light
This light on your dash doesn't necessarily mean the battery is bad, despite its icon. It's actually warning you that your alternator isn't properly charging the battery. Running all the car's electrical systems off just the battery is hard on it, and can decrease its life span.
Slow or No Start
Starting issues are one of the obvious signs of a failing battery. If it doesn't start at all, the battery is likely dead. You might need a jump to get going, but the battery needs to be checked or replaced soon.
A bad battery might make your headlights dim at startup, especially in older cars.
If you need a car battery replacement, we invite you to bring your vehicle to Complete Car Care Encinitas today!