The battery plays a crucial role in your vehicle’s function. It supplies the electrical power that starts the engine, controls the onboard electrical systems, and keeps everything running smoothly. Understanding the basics of your car battery is essential so you know when it’s time to replace it. We put together this guide to answer the question, When do I need a new battery?
How Long Do Car Batteries Last?
How long your battery lasts depends on the type of battery you have. Here’s an overview of the average car battery life span for the most common types:
- Standard flooded lead acid: This battery type has a shorter life span than other types, about three to five years.
- Absorbent glass mat (AGM): AGM batteries store electrolytes in solid form, giving this type an average life span of up to seven years. Vehicles that use stop-start technology often carry AGM batteries.
- Lithium: Lithium batteries can last anywhere from eight to 20 years and cover an average range of 100,000 to 200,000 miles, but extremely hot or cold environments can impact their longevity.
What Factors Affect a Battery’s Life Span?
There are a few factors that can influence the overall life span of your car battery. Being aware of these is essential to staying on top of regular car maintenance and ensuring you get the most out of your battery.
Extreme temperatures can put a strain on your car battery. High temperatures accelerate the battery’s chemical reactions, ultimately leading to faster deterioration. Conversely, frigid temperatures reduce the battery’s ability to generate power, making it harder to start the engine.
Your driving habits and patterns can impact the life of your battery. Frequent short trips and stop-and-go driving doesn’t allow the battery to fully recharge, which can lead to a gradual loss of electrical capacity over time. Longer drives can keep it charged and in good condition.
The quality of the battery itself plays a significant role in its life span. Opting for a reputable brand and proper maintenance can help extend it. Regular maintenance, such as cleaning the terminals, checking fluid levels in non-maintenance-free batteries, and securing the connections, also ensures a longer life.
An excessive electrical load can strain your car battery. If your vehicle has numerous electrical accessories or even aftermarket modifications, such as powerful audio systems or additional lighting, these can drain the battery faster and shorten its life span. Make sure you’re maintaining an electrical load within the battery’s capacity.
The battery can gradually discharge if you store your vehicle for long periods without driving it. It’s important to disconnect it or use a battery maintainer to prevent excessive discharge while your car is in storage. Keep in mind that storing your vehicle for a long time in extreme temperatures can also affect your battery’s health.
Charging System Issues
In a newer car, the charging system includes the battery, alternator, wiring, and electronic control unit, which work together to create and store the charge in the battery. When this system starts to malfunction, it can result in faulty charging. Insufficient charging inevitably leads to premature battery failure.
Age and Use
The age of the battery and its usage history can also affect its longevity. As batteries age, their capacity naturally decreases. Deep or frequent discharging and recharging can also impact the overall life span of your car battery.
When Do I Need a New Battery?
While the life span of a car battery provides a general guideline, several signs can tell you when it’s time for a replacement at our local service center in Corinth. These signs include the following:
- Difficulty starting the engine: If you notice that your engine is struggling to start, it could be a sign that your battery is losing its capacity. Slow cranking or not starting at all are clear signs that your battery is no longer delivering sufficient power.
- Frequent jump-starts: If you need frequent jump-starts to start your vehicle, your battery isn’t holding its charge as effectively as it should. Even though jump-starting provides a temporary solution, you’ll need to address the underlying issue.
- Dimming lights and electrical issues: Dimming headlights or other electrical components not functioning optimally are signs of a weakening battery. If you notice the lights are flickering or your power windows are operating slower than usual, it could be time to check your battery’s health.
Signs You Need To Replace Your Battery Soon
Besides the key signs that you need a battery replacement immediately, there are more subtle indicators that your battery is nearing the end of its life. Look out for the following:
- Aging battery: If your battery is approaching the three- to five-year mark, it may be time to consider a replacement. Even if it works fine, an older battery is often more prone to sudden failure.
- Corrosion and leaks: Check your battery terminals for corrosion or any signs of leakage. Corrosion can hinder the electrical connection, while a leak indicates a damaged battery that you should address right away.
- Swollen battery case: Exposure to high temperatures or overcharging can lead to internal battery damage, causing the case to swell. If you notice this issue, it’s a clear sign that the battery is at its life’s end.
- Unreliable performance: If your battery struggles to perform in extreme temperatures, such as difficulty starting in cold weather or holding a charge in hot weather, it may be a sign that it’s reaching the end of its life span.
Do You Need a New Battery?
If you need a new battery, don’t settle for one that’s already lost some of its service life while sitting on a shelf. At Huffines Kia Corinth, our parts and service center has you covered with battery replacement services. Don’t wait until a dead battery leaves you stranded. Visit our parts center and let us ensure your vehicle is equipped with a reliable and long-lasting battery.