With the help of this guide, you can learn the warning signs of a dying car battery and how frequently it needs to be replaced.
Ever wonder, “how often to replace a car battery?” Many car experts agree you should change your battery every 4-5 years, though that time frame depends on several factors that affect battery life. And if it does fail, your car usually stops working with no warning; it just dies.
As you read, keep in mind that batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles differ slightly and that this article will focus primarily on batteries for vehicles with conventional gasoline engines.
How Often to Replace the Car Battery?
The lifespan of a battery is finite. General wisdom says you should replace your car battery about every three years, but you could end up needing a replacement sooner. See the lifespan of a Tesla car battery.
You may need a new battery before the three-year mark due to factors like your driving style and climate. Consult your manufacturer’s suggested service intervals to ensure you’re replacing your battery on time.
Whether you live somewhere hot and humid or cold and dry, climate can negatively affect your battery. The result of extreme temperatures, whether they are positive or negative, is the same: a shorter battery life.
- Hot Weather and Batteries
You run the risk of dehydration when you go outside on a very hot day. The battery in your car experiences the same thing. Car batteries require liquids to function, just like our bodies do. Summer’s intense heat can cause water in your car’s battery acid to evaporate, lowering performance, starting power, and lifespan.
Furthermore, the inside of your battery can suffer damage from extreme heat. The likelihood and speed of corrosion increase as the temperature rises and the water in your battery evaporates; corrosion is one of the major contributors to battery drainage and malfunctions.
- Cold Weather and Batteries
There’s still more, though! Cold weather can also cause battery issues, just like hot weather can. Your battery has to work harder to produce enough energy to keep your car running smoothly when the heat index turns to wind chill.
Additionally, thicker engine oil may be a result of cold weather, which puts more strain on your battery.
- Don’t Let Climate Ruin Your Battery
Consider replacing your battery more frequently than is recommended if you live in an area that gets particularly hot or has an unusually cold winter.
Making sure you have the proper battery type will help you protect your battery from the damaging effects of the weather. When it’s time for a replacement battery, look for one made for your region.
How you use your car over a long period of time can affect how often you need to replace your battery. Your battery won’t have enough time to recharge completely between trips if you frequently make short trips, like the daily drive to work and the grocery store, for example. Lower performance may result from this.
Additionally, even when the engine is off, your car’s battery continues to slowly deplete if it is left in the garage or driveway for an extended period of time. The good news is that these battery-sucking behaviors are excellent justifications for taking your vehicle on a traditional road trip.
How to Test a Car Battery?
Learn how to test a car battery by following these steps, or ask to have your battery tested at your next service appointment:
The Headlight Test
- Make sure the headlights are on and that the engine is running while keeping the car in park.
- If the headlight brightness changes when you rev the engine, do so.
- Increasing headlight brightness indicates that the current is insufficient to maintain the lights’ normal level of brightness while the car is idle.
- Bring your vehicle to the Wolfchase Nissan service department for additional testing.
Using a Digital Multimeter
- Put 20 DC volts on the voltmeter.
- The negative meter probe (also black) should be touched to the negative terminal (black) under the hood.
- Touch the positive terminal (red) with the positive meter probe (also red)
- Check the voltmeter reading and have someone turn on the headlights.
- Your battery is fully charged if it has 12.5 volts or more at 80 °F. 12.3 volts means it’s at about 75% charged.11.8 volts or lower means you have 25% or less charge.
How to Know If Your Car Battery Needs to Be Replaced?
Do you have questions about how to determine when to replace your car battery? The following symptoms could all be indicative of the need for a replacement battery:
- Slow Engine Crank A slow or difficult-to-start car engine is a clear, potential indication that the battery is nearing the end of its useful life.
- Battery Light with Illumination If this light is on, pay attention to it. There are a lot of reasons your battery light might come on, but many of them point to an issue with the charging system.
- Bloated, irregularly shaped battery case This is typically caused by an overcharged battery or one that has been in hot weather. You definitely need a new battery if it is swollen or oddly shaped.
- Battery Fluid Leak Damaged or overcharged car batteries frequently leak, which is a sign that it’s time for a replacement.
The Final Word: Replace the Car Battery
Therefore, the general rule for battery replacement is straightforward: You have roughly four years before the battery will theoretically start to turn from a chemical powerhouse to a chemical paperweight. Although there are many exceptions to this rule, the standard recommendation for replacing the battery in a hybrid vehicle is 10 years.
Your battery can be depleted by a variety of factors, some of which may not become apparent until it is too late. You can avoid being stranded or on the side of the road by regularly testing your battery.
How Much is a Replacement Car Battery?
A premium battery can cost up to $200, compared to the typical range of $75 to $120 for an average car battery. Even more expensive hybrid batteries can be found for between $1000 and $2000, but the improved fuel economy usually makes up for the higher price.
Is It Normal to Replace a Car Battery Every 2 Years?
The lifespan of a battery is finite. General wisdom says you should replace your car battery about every three years, but you could end up needing a replacement sooner. You may need a new battery before the three-year mark due to factors like your driving style and climate.
Can a Car Battery Last 15 Years?
Typically, the average car battery life is between three and five years. Even in ideal driving circumstances, pushing a battery past the five-year mark may result in an unexpected failure. Because of this, many manufacturers advise replacing items every five years.