Signs Your Car Battery Needs to Be Replaced

January 4th, 2024 by

The battery is arguably your car’s most crucial component. Your vehicle might have a perfectly running engine and transmission, a sophisticated electrical system, and state-of-the-art infotainment and driver-assistance features. But none of those work if your battery fails, and you may find yourself stranded by the roadside.

Like any other vehicle component, the battery needs regular maintenance to work effectively. However, it has a finite lifespan, and changing it before it fails is essential. On the other hand, you don’t want to change it too soon when it’s still got plenty of life in it. So, how do you know how often to change a car battery? Here at Jack Burford Chevrolet, we’ve got all the answers to your car battery questions.

How Do You Know if Your Car Battery Needs Replacing?

At Jack Burford Chevrolet, our customers often ask how long a car battery should last. There’s no definitive answer, as it can depend on several factors. On average, the battery should last for three to five years, but your driving habits, the location and frequency of your journeys, and even the climate can all affect your battery’s life.

It’s scary to think of your vehicle’s battery suddenly failing, especially on a dark, deserted stretch of road at night. However, there are several warning signs that your battery is nearing the end of its life, and it’s unlikely to let you down unless you ignore these indications. The most apparent factor determining when a car battery needs replacing is age. If you’ve had it for five years or more, it’s probably time to change it.

You should inspect your battery regularly to determine its external condition and check for these faults:

  • A bad smell: When you open the hood and notice a rotten egg smell, it’s a sign of leaking battery acid. A dying battery emits hydrogen sulfide gas, which has a foul odor.
  • Corrosion: Another sign of a leaking battery is corrosion on the connections or cables. While you can clean the terminals and leads, the battery needs replacing.
  • Bulges or cracks: Check the battery case for swelling, bulges, or cracks. These are signs that the battery could rupture, which can be a fire and health hazard.

You should change the battery immediately if you notice any of these signs.

How Does a Car Act When the Battery Is Going Bad?

Your car will act differently and warn you when it’s time to replace the battery. These are the signs to be aware of when you’re starting and driving your car:

  • Frequent jump starts: If you often need to jump-start the car, the battery is not holding its charge and needs changing.
  • Clicking ignition: When you turn the key or push the starter and hear a clicking noise or the engine is slow to turn over, it usually indicates a bad battery.
  • Dim lights: If you’re driving at night and the headlights flicker or are dimmer than usual, it’s typically a symptom of a weak battery.
  • Electrical problems: Electrical components can indicate poor battery life. Flickering dashboard lights, malfunctioning seat heating, slow-operating electric windows, and sporadic radio operation are all bad signs.

These problems can be due to other components, but the battery is the first thing you should check.

How Do You Know if It’s Your Car Battery or Alternator?

Your car battery relies on several other components to maintain its charge, so what seems like a battery problem could be down to another element. The most significant drain on the battery is when starting the car, but as you drive, the alternator generates electricity and sends it to the battery to replenish the charge. If the battery isn’t charging, the warning light comes on, or you notice any warning signs that your battery is failing, the alternator might not be doing its job.

If your battery is relatively new or a recent test showed it working properly, it’s likely a failing alternator. Sometimes, the radio or odometer will stop working properly, even when you’re driving, which is also a sign of a failed alternator. When you bring your car to our Jack Burford Chevrolet service center, our technicians will test the battery and alternator to diagnose and rectify the fault for you.

How Do You Prolong the Life of Your Car Battery?

These are some simple steps to make your battery last longer:

  • Avoid short journeys: Starting the car is your battery’s key task. If you frequently drive short distances, your battery may not fully recharge and will have a shorter life.
  • Don’t leave lights on: Every time you leave the car, turn the headlights and interior lights off and close the doors so you don’t return to a drained battery.
  • Don’t use electrics when parked: If you park your vehicle to wait for somebody, avoid using features such as the air conditioning, radio, and phone charger, as they deplete the car battery.
  • Have your battery serviced: A regular service will maximize the performance and life of your battery.

These tips will prolong your car battery’s life, saving you time and money.

What Is a Battery Service?

During a battery service at Jack Burford Chevrolet, we’ll inspect the battery for exterior defects and test the cold-cranking amps and charge capacity. If the battery’s okay, we’ll clean any dirt and corrosion from the terminals and tighten the cable clamps. If it appears the battery’s at the end of its life, our experienced technicians will recommend replacing it.

Schedule a Battery Service at Jack Burford Chevrolet

Don’t wait for your battery to let you down. Schedule a battery service with our team at Jack Burford Chevrolet in Richmond, Kentucky, today. If you need a new battery, we have the manufacturer-recommended part for your car at an affordable price. Don’t forget to check our service and parts specials to save even more money.

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