Did you know that the price of some batteries has dropped by 97% in the last 2 decades? That statistic demonstrates that car travel is becoming more and more affordable worldwide.
Just because batteries are affordable doesn’t mean you should replace them too often. On the other hand, you mustn’t leave it too late. A dead battery can leave you stranded on the side of the road without warning.
The trick to affordable car battery replacements is finding the sweet spot. That’s somewhere between when it has started declining, and when it will stop working. To do that, you need to know your battery’s expected lifespan, as well as the signs that it’s on the out.
In this guide, we’ll cover how long your battery should last, so you know when to start looking for the warning signs. We’ll also explain how to test your battery when you think it’s losing power.
How Long Does a Car Battery Last?
The first step to staying on top of your battery’s health is knowing how long it should last. The average car battery lasts between three and four years, depending on the exact model.
Factors that Affect Car Battery Lifespan
Of course, that’s a huge generalisation. Everything from the weather to the age of the battery can have an impact on a battery’s actual life expectancy. To help you gauge your battery’s health further, here are four factors that can affect its lifespan.
1. The Length of Your Journeys
When you start a car, the battery has to supply a huge amount of electricity to the vehicle. On a journey of average length, driving the car recharges the battery. That way, the next time you need to start it, the car has the power it needs.
Problems arise though when vehicles only ever take very short journeys. Batteries in those cars may never get fully recharged. Even with the occasional longer journey added to the mix, it might not be enough.
If your car only ever takes short trips, your battery’s lifespan may be shorter than three to four years.
2. Extreme Weather or Temperature
Almost all machinery struggles under extreme conditions. That includes a simple car battery.
Whether your car is parked or driving, extreme temperatures or wet conditions can take a toll. They weaken the battery, likely shortening its lifespan. So much so that even electric vehicle batteries don’t last as long in the cold.
Protective battery covers exist to combat the strain of extreme weather conditions. This insulation may be a worthwhile investment if you drive in an area with extreme heat or cold.
3. Extra Electronic Accessories
It’s common sense that the more accessories your car has, the more strain is put on the battery. For most cars, this isn’t an issue. The manufacturer chooses a battery that can handle the car’s requirements.
Issues are more likely if the battery has ever been replaced with a model that can’t handle the strain. Or if several electronic accessories have been added over time, the battery may not be up to the task. In these cases, the battery may fail you sooner than expected.
4. Rough Driving Conditions
An auto battery relies on a chemical reaction to work as intended. If the battery gets disturbed, it can’t work as well. Therefore, it won’t last as long.
The battery may be disturbed if it isn’t properly fitted. If not secured, it can jostle around during driving, which is very damaging.
Even a properly secured battery may still suffer in rough driving conditions. Constantly driving on uneven roads can disturb the battery more than it can handle. This will shorten its lifespan.
How to Know When to Replace an Auto Battery
If your battery is three to four years old, or it’s been handling issues discussed above, it might be time to replace it.
But before you invest in a new battery, there are two common ways to test its health. These techniques can help you decide whether a battery replacement is necessary.
Measure the Battery
Measuring the battery’s voltage is the most foolproof way to check how it’s doing. To do this, you need an electronic tester. Connect it to the battery and check the readings it gives you.
Then, compare this to the manufacturer’s recommendations. If it’s up to standard, there’s no need to worry yet! But if it performs at less than the recommended voltage, you may only have a few weeks left before it stops working.
The Headlight Test
But not everybody has an electronic battery voltage tester lying around! In that case, there’s one old-fashioned car maintenance technique that still works perfectly. It’s called the headlight test.
To perform the headlight test, grab a friend, or a well-placed mirror. Start your car engine and turn on the headlights. Then, rev your engine.
If the headlights are brighter when you’re revving than when the car is idle, you have a problem. The battery voltage is not good enough to support the car’s electrical needs at all times. Change your battery soon to avoid getting stranded!
Choosing Your New Car Battery
If you’ve determined it’s time to replace your car battery, you have an important decision to make. You need to choose the best battery for your car within your budget.
A good battery should not only last the average 4-year lifespan. It should also not be worn down too easily by external factors. That way, you can rely on it all year round, regardless of driving conditions.
RB Battery provides some of the best and most affordable products available worldwide. View our battery products today to find the best option for your vehicle.