How do you know if it’s time to change the car battery?

By Max Anthony •  Updated: 12/14/20 •  4 min read

You get in the car, put your belt on, turn the key, and the car won’t start. Most of the time, this is a sign that the battery is not in the best of days. It is always good to be aware of the signs that you need to change the battery. Next, we help you find out if it was time to change the car battery. Just take a look at these tips! 

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How to know if you need to change your car battery

Have you had to turn the key several times for the car to start? If you have difficulty starting the first morning and find the engine running slower and heavier, it means that the time is coming to change the car battery. Headlamp and dashboard displays with the lights off may also indicate that it is dim. In fact, the panel also warns, see? If a different light comes on, the car may be warning that the part needs to be replaced. Looking under the hood, you can also identify some signs of the weather. 

If you noticed any of these signs on your car, it is best to buy a new battery. ]It is also good to know that battery life is directly linked to its use. In simpler cars, without air conditioning, powerful sounds and additional headlights, the component will last longer. Each battery lasts two to three years, but if you have to change the car battery before that time, the problem may be misuse or the quality of the part. 

How to make the battery last longer?

First, it is very important that you use a suitable battery for your car model, according to the vehicle manual. Some drivers install batteries with greater or lesser capacity to have more power or to save money, but this practice can shorten its useful life, and you will have to change the car battery ahead of time.

Taking some precautions when starting the engine can also help prevent premature wear. A good tip is always to remember to turn off all electrical accessories, such as lights and air conditioning, before turning the key. When you stop the car, you can also turn everything off and just leave the engine running for another two or three minutes. “The engine works to recharge the battery and restore energy, which keeps the battery healthy for a longer time.

It is also good to avoid leaving the interior lights on or doors open for a long time – when the car is in the garage or washed. If the car is going to stand still for a few days, the tip is to turn off the battery or keep an electronic charger connected. Keeping the battery terminals clean is an attitude that also helps with battery life. To avoid oxidation, it is recommended to add a little petroleum jelly or a specific aerosol.

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Keeping your car up-to-date is another essential factor in preserving the battery, paying special attention to the electrical system. This includes cleaning the terminals and grounds to avoid bad contact. It is also worth checking if the alternator is working correctly. If any parts are faulty, it may happen that the battery discharges or is not charged properly.

Always consult a professional

Do not attempt to repair or replace the battery yourself. There are specific tools for each vehicle model. Also, professionals have some equipment that indicates the best procedure. With these tools, it is possible to accurately detect whether the defect is in the battery or in the alternator, which is responsible for transforming mechanical energy into electrical energy by means of alternating current induced by a magnetic field.

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Max Anthony

Max is a gizmo-savvy guy, who has a tendency to get pulled into the nitty gritty details of technology and cars. He attended UT Austin, where he studied Information Science. He’s married and has three kids, one dog and a GMC truck and a Porsche 911. With a large family, he still finds time to share tips and tricks on cars, trucks and more.