“How long should the battery in my car last?”
That’s a question we get asked a lot. The average car battery can last between 3-5 years, but the actual life of your battery depends on several factors.
- The quality of the battery when first purchased. You don’t have to spend a fortune, but don’t be cheap about it.
- How well you maintain it. Battery maintenance goes a long way toward longer life. Include your battery on your checklist whenever you take your car in for routine check ups. Don’t forget the cables and terminals and keep them clean.
- The weather. Check the top of your battery to see the temperature specifications. If you live in a cold climate make sure you purchase one intended for your area. Cold weather reduces the cranking power of your battery so an older battery will experience more issues in the winter than a new one. Car batteries can even freeze and explode so if you think your battery is frozen proceed with caution.
- Your car usage. Turn off all your car’s accessories before you turn off your car. The heater and A/C, radio, wipers, etc. can really drain your battery even when the car is off. Even consistently short trips can shorten battery life.
And since it’s still the middle of winter we’ll pass on some more battery tips from our friends at AAA:
- Turn off all accessories at night before turning the ignition switch off.
- Make sure battery case and brackets are free of corrosion.
- Keep the car in a garage overnight, if available.
- Check the tension and condition of your fan belt. If it is loose, it can affect the battery’s ability to recharge.
- Watch and listen for battery-drain warning signs. If headlights dim when idling but brighten when you rev the engine it could signal an electrical system problem. If you hear a grinding or clicking when you turn the ignition to the crank position, your battery may be weak
- Lastly, if your battery does not initially turn the engine over on the first try in the morning, turn the ignition key on and wait one minute before cranking the engine again. This gives the battery chemicals time to jell and energize the battery terminals.
If you’re wondering if your battery is on its last legs bring your car into Sallas Auto Repair and we’ll be happy to check it as well as your car’s other systems. Don’t be caught dead (battery wise, that is) when a winter storm or cold snap comes and you have to be on the move.