You are out shopping around for a new vehicle, which features are you looking for? Most prospective car buyers will judge a car based on its engine capacity, fuel efficiency, size, or even the level of comfort offered.
There are some of us, on the other hand, that may pay more attention to the car’s battery. This is one of the most important components of any modern car because your vehicle’s battery manages a massive range of tasks and devices, from starting the engine to powering in-vehicle computers.
In addition to changing the oil, replacing the air filter, and other routine services for your car, taking care of your vehicle’s battery is one of the most effective ways to make sure that your vehicle runs smoothly and without any issues.
Flat or damaged batteries are one of the leading causes for roadside assistance calls, and a significant number of breakdowns happen due to batteries that are just too old to keep your car running properly.
This guide will break down the facts regarding your vehicle’s battery and help you determine when it is time to choose a replacement. We want to share some vehicle-specific tips to help you get the most from your car battery and potentially extend its lifespan.
Your Battery Can Wear Down in Just Three Years
While some batteries can last for five years or more when they are cared for properly, the majority of vehicle batters will wear out and become inefficient within three years of normal use. Just like your computer or smartphone battery becomes less efficient every time you charge it up, your car battery will gradually deteriorate each time it is charged up with the car’s engine. Every three years, it is usually time to install a replacement battery.
After four or five years, most car batteries will be completely unreliable. Old vehicle batters can present many safety and reliability concerns. Fortunately, it is easy to identify if your car battery is at the end of its lifespan.
Does Your Electrical System Respond as It Should?
Even a vehicle with a defective battery will function properly once it is up and running because much of the charge for the battery will come straight from the engine. This means that the best time to test yoru vehicle’s battery is right after you turn on your car.
Your vehicle can still start, even with a failing battery, but features that have notable power demands powered by the battery, such as headlights, may not work as well as they should.
Try starting your vehicle at night with the headlights on. Do they seem dim? If the headlights look dim, put your car in park or neutral and just rev the engine. If you have a failing battery, the headlights will become brighter as you press the accelerator.
Newer Cars Mean Greater Strain on the Battery
As a standard, the more sophisticated the onboard computers are on yoru vehicle, the greater strain it will be on the battery. There are many new vehicles that have powerful computers that are operating at all times, even when the car itself is parked and turned off.
These computers can draw energy from your vehicle’s battery at a steady pace, wearing it down over time. The damage done with each computer charge is small, but the overall impact can drain your car battery when it is sitting unused for long periods of time.
If you do not use your vehicle often, you should prevent the battery from becoming drained by onboard computer systems by taking it on a short drive. It only takes a few blocks around the block every week or two to recharge the battery.
Check Your Battery Often to Prevent a Breakdown
The next time you bring your vehicle in to the repair shop for routine car maintenance, you should ask for your battery to be checked. Battery wear is not always steady. Your car battery could go from 90% performance to 20% over the span of a couple of months.
It is very easy to test a battery, and every qualified repair shop will have its own set of electronic testers in order to test yours. Regular tests can show when your battery should be replaced and could even help prevent embarrassing breakdowns.
If your battery is showing some signs of wear and has not been replaced in the past three years, you should not take any risks. Car batters are not terribly expensive, and the slight cost of a replacement is worth avoiding the stress of a breakdown on the road.
Vehicles with Stop-Start Technology Could Require Special Batteries
Does your vehicle have start-start technology to save gas? Vehicles with engines that are designed to shut off automatically when at a stop can place a greater strain on their batteries than typical cars, and these types of vehicles often require a special kind of battery.
If your vehicle has stop-start technology and you are replacing the battery on your own, be sure that you purchase the right replacement. Your local auto repair shop will have many batteries in stock that can accommodate the unique needs of your vehicle.
Also, if you are replacing the battery on your own, which is fairly easy on most vehicles, it is important that you dispose of it safely. Find a nearby hazardous waste disposal service and never throw your car battery out with the rest of your trash.
San Diego Auto Repair Shops
Automobile Repair Shop San Diego is a family-owned and operated business that has been providing the best repair experiences. We will offer you hassle-free auto repairs starting with a precise damage assessment or estimate. We will tow your vehicle for FREE to our shop, organize for a rental car, and work directly with the insurance company to streamline the repair process. We will even pay up to $500 of your deductible. Contact us today to see how we can help.