How Often to Replace a Car Battery

November 19th, 2018 by

mechanic charging dead car battery with jumper cable

Many experts say you should replace your battery about every 4-5 years, although depending on a several factors you car battery life can vary widely. Explore the ins and outs of car batteries at Nissan of Richmond, and if you have any questions contact your Glennallen area service center.

How to Know If Your Car Battery Needs to Be Replaced

Some warning signs to watch out for to know if your battery is reaching its end:

  • Dimming headlights
  • 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 Car Battery Deterioration?

  • Heat: Hot weather causes the evaporation of liquids inside a car battery, so if you live in a more consistently hot climate your battery life will be inevitably shorter.
  • Vibrations: If your battery’s hold-down clamps are loose, or you drive over rough roads frequently, vibrations will cause internal battery parts to break down faster.
  • Needing a Jump: If you’ve done something like left your lights on overnight or let your engine idle for too long and require a jump start, this can shorten battery 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.

For the best idea of how long your car battery should last with proper care, consult your owner’s manual or maintenance schedule.

How to Test a Car Battery

You can have your car battery tested during regular maintenance at your Mechanicsville-area service center twice a year. If you want to test it between that time many retailers offer free tests, or you can test the battery at home with a few easy methods.

The Headlight Test:

  1. Turn on the engine, keep the car in park, and make sure the headlights are on.
  2. Rev the engine and see if the headlight brightness changes.
  3. 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.
  4. To take you car to a service center at this point for further assessment.

Using a Digital Multimeter:

  1. Set the voltmeter to 20 DC volts.
  2. Under the hood, touch the negative terminal (black) with the negative meter probe (also black).
  3. Touch the positive terminal (red) with the positive meter probe (also red)
  4. Have a friend turn on the headlights and check the voltmeter reading.
  5. 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 car battery cost can range between $75 and $120, and if you have a premium battery it could be up to $200. Hybrid car batteries have a much bigger job, which means they are much more expensive, and can cost anywhere between $1000 and $6000, but this is usually offset by the much lower gas consumption.

Find Affordable Car Maintenance at Nissan of Richmond

When you are ready to replace your battery in Henrico, visit the Nissan of Richmond parts center and check out our parts and service coupons ahead of time so you don’t miss out on a great deal when scheduling routine maintenance like transmission checks and tire rotations.

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