Whether you drive a large SUV or a sports car, you have to worry about changing your battery when the time is right. Unfortunately, nobody can tell you exactly how long the car battery is going to last. However, based on statistics, there are things you have to be aware of.
In order to know when it is time to replace the car’s battery, consider the following important factors.
Car batteries will age and always have a lifespan that is finite. Even if you are really careful with operating conditions, the battery will deteriorate in time. Eventually, not enough power will be provided to even start the engine.
How you use the vehicle also contributes to aging. If you just go on short trips, the battery might not be able to fully recharge. Also, when you have the car parked for a long time, batteries naturally self-discharge. Battery chargers are often needed to extend service life.
Heat is important for batteries and the chemical reaction needed for electricity to be generated. At the same time, it also increases degradation rate. When living in a Northern climate, the battery normally lasts at least 5 years. If you move to a southern climate, the minimum drops to 3 years.
Remember that batteries under the car’s hood often go over 200 degrees Fahrenheit when the weather is hot. In order to fight the heat, automakers mount batteries in isolated areas, relocated it outside the compartment of the engine or install heat shields. All of these have to be checked so you are sure they work properly.
Another factor to be aware of when it comes to the car battery’s life is this one. Vibration can lead to internal battery parts breaking down. In order to minimize vibration, different tools are used to secure the batteries. This prevents movement. If there are loose or missing hold downs, battery life is automatically shortened.
Other Things To Take Into Account
Battery life can also be reduced by a charging system that does not function as well as it should. The same thing can be said about over- and under-charging.
In newer SUVs, you get AGM (absorbent glass mat) batteries. These have to be checked as they have specific charging rates that lead to increased battery life. Charging strategies can also be altered as batteries age.
Last but not least, be sure that you do not let the car battery completely run out of its charge. This drastically reduce its lifespan.
Warning Signs To Know
There are different warning signs you have to know so you are aware of when the car battery needs to be changed. For instance, when starter motors crank or when the vehicle’s charging/battery warning light lights up, it might mean that battery is weak. On the older SUVs, look at the incandescent headlights. If they are dim when idle, it usually means that the battery is failing.
In order to avoid being stranded due to an SUV battery problem, be sure that you get the battery inspected every single time you change oil. A mechanic is going to check cable connections and see what charge level exists.
After the SUV battery is 3 years old, you need to perform yearly checks. A test done by a mechanic can identify whether or not the battery is deteriorated so much that a replacement is necessary.
Take a look at all the signs mentioned above and check the SUV battery as often as needed. If you need a new one, be sure that you take one from a reputable seller and go for the new ones. Used batteries are never recommended. Free replacements are often offered in the event that there is a mechanical problem that was caused by the manufacturer.