How Long Does a Car Battery Last?
An underrated but integral part of your car is your battery. Like all other aspects and parts of your car, your battery will eventually need to be replaced in order to ensure your vehicle remains running optimally. One crucial question to answer is just how long does a car battery last?
In this piece, our team at Genesis of Littleton will look to answer that question in order to help Parker, Castle Rock, and Littleton, CO, drivers.
What Is a Car Battery?
Before answering just how long your battery will last, it is important to go over what your battery is and does. Your battery is a crucial part of your vehicle’s charging system, a system that ultimately allows you to turn on and drive your car. Without a battery, this would not be possible.
When you turn your key in the ignition, the battery is responsible for transitioning the energy to the electric starter, which will in turn start your engine. Seems simple, right Well, the battery itself is a fairly simple part that can be easily replaced. However, if you leave your battery without attention, your car will be rendered inoperable and unable to start.
For these reasons, it is important to know when to change your battery and what to look for.
How Long Does a Battery Last?
The life of your car battery will depend on a number of variables that vary from driver to driver. For this reason, it is hard to put an exact number of how many years or miles you can go until you will need it replaced. However, it can usually be expected that every three to five years, you will need to replace your battery.
Some things that can affect your battery include:
1. Where You Live/Weather You Live in
Warmer weather tends to deteriorate batteries faster. So, if you live in a warmer climate, your battery could call for attention sooner rather than later.
2. Malfunctioning Charging System
The battery is a part of the charging system. If you have issues with other parts of your charging system—like your alternator, for example—it could drain your battery quicker than normal.
3. Vehicle Vibration
The bumps and jolts of the road can cause wear and tear on battery parts, like any other part in your car. You can remedy this, though. Hardware to hold your brakes in place better can be added to reduce the effects of vehicle vibration.
4. Lights and Radio Left on
If you leave your lights and/or radio on without the engine also on, this can prove detrimental to your battery. While in most circumstances this won’t completely drain your battery, it will call for a “jump” to recharge it.
Signs Your Battery Needs to Be Replaced
Now that you know roughly how long your battery will last, you’ll need to know the signs and symptoms to look out for. Perhaps the largest indicator is the inability of your vehicle to start. While it may not always be indicative of a battery issue, your car not turning over could mean your battery is losing power or is already dead.
Other signs include:
- Battery light coming on [normally looks like a Lego with a plus sign (+) in one corner and a minus sign (-) in the other]
- Battery is corroded
How to Replace a Car Battery
If you’re a DIY enthusiast, this section will be of particular interest to you. Once you know your car battery has gone bad, it will need to be replaced in order for the car to run. Here are the steps to do so:
1. Find the Battery
While this may seem self-explanatory, you first need to find out where your battery is located in your vehicle. Typically, it will be positioned in one of the corners under your hood. Once you have located it, you will need to purchase a new battery of the same kind.
Additionally, your car should be off for this procedure.
2. Detach Cables
Once you’ve located the battery, you will want to detach the cables from it. You need to always remove the negative (-) cable first. The negative cable is usually black. Once it is detached, you can remove the positive cable, which is usually red in color.
3. Remove the Battery
Once the cables are detached, you will want to remove the old battery from the car.
4. Clean Battery Terminals
As the old battery has likely been lodged in the terminals for at least a few years, they will have grown dirty and corroded. Before inserting your new battery, you will want to clean the terminals.
To do so, you will need to mix water with some baking soda and scrub the area.
5. Insert New Battery
Now that the old battery is removed and the housing has been cleaned, it is time to insert your new battery. Place the new battery in your vehicle, aligning the positive and negative ends of the battery with the correct terminals and cables.
Then, re-attach the cables to the new battery. This time, you will want to re-connect the positive cable first and then the negative cable.
6. Start Your Engine
You are now ready to start your engine! Turn your key over and make sure your vehicle starts and you will be ready to roll.
Learn More Today
If you’re not sure your car battery needs to be replaced or you don’t want to tackle this job at home, our team at Genesis of Littleton will be happy to lend a hand. Contact us today and we’ll answer any questions you may have in order to get you back out on the roads of Parker, Castle Rock, and Littleton, Colorado, in no time.