The general advice of experts is that you should replace your car battery every 4-5 years, but really, your battery life can vary widely. There are a few factors that can affect your battery’s life, including how and where you drive. Learn all about car batteries from us here at Hendrick Chevrolet Hoover, and if you have any questions, contact our Birmingham area service center.
How to Know If Your Car Battery Needs to Be Replaced
Here are the basic warning signs that your battery is reaching the end of its life:
More frequent need for engine revving or jump starts
Takes longer to start the engine when you turn the key/push the button
Unusual power fluctuations
What Causes Your Car Battery to Deteriorate?
Your car battery’s life will vary depending on how much it is being deteriorated by its environment or use. Here are some of the most common causes of battery deterioration:
Heat: With excess heat, such as from hot weather, the liquids inside your car battery can evaporate. If you live in a consistently hot climate, your battery life will be shorter.
Vibrations: Vibrations will cause internal battery parts to break down faster. This means that if your battery’s hold-down clamps are loose, or you often drive over rough roads, your battery will have a shorter life.
Needing a Jump: If you leave your lights on overnight or let your engine idle for too long, you may require a jump start. Letting this happen can shorten your battery’s life significantly.
Time: A car battery can only go through so many charge cycles, so the death of your car battery is unavoidable, but proper care can prevent the battery from dying on you early.
Remember, always consult your owner’s manual. It should contain the best estimate of how long your car battery will last with proper care.
How to Test a Car Battery
You can always have your car battery tested during your regular maintenance at our Vestavia Hills-area service center, but if you want to test it between those visits there are ways to do so. For one, many retailers offer free tests, or you can test the battery at home with these easy methods:
The Headlight Test:
Turn on the engine, keep the car in park, and make sure the headlights are on.
Rev the engine and see if the headlight brightness changes.
If the headlights get brighter, that means the current is not strong enough to keep the lights at normal brightness while the car is idling.
Under the hood, touch the negative terminal (black) with the negative meter probe (also black).
Touch the positive terminal (red) with the positive meter probe (also red).
Have a friend turn on the headlights and check the voltmeter reading.
At 80℉, 12.5 volts or higher means your battery is fully charged. 12.3 volts means it’s at about 75% charged.11.8 volts or lower means you have 25% or less charge.
How Much is a Replacement Car Battery?
The typical cost of a car battery ranges between $75 and $120, but if you have a premium battery it could be up to $200. If you drive a hybrid car, hybrid car batteries have a much bigger job. This means that they are much more expensive, and can cost anywhere from $1000 to $6000. Thankfully, this is usually offset by the much lower gas consumption on the streets of Bessemer.
Come to Hendrick Chevrolet Hoover for Affordable Car Maintenance!
If you’re ready to replace your battery, visit the Hendrick Chevrolet Hoover parts center and check out our rotating parts and service coupons ahead of time! That way, you won’t miss out on a great deal when scheduling service with us. Still have questions about car batteries or other issues with your car? Don’t hesitate to contact us and ask, or read our other service tips!
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