It can be hard to remember how often to replace the car battery. If you’re like us, you may find yourself asking, “Did I replace that battery the year before last? Or was that my kid’s car? Should I replace my car battery before it dies, or just wait until I know I need it done? And how would I know it needed to be replaced before it died, anyway?!” We are here to help.
First, you should know that you do, indeed, want to replace your car battery before it dies. Otherwise, you could end up being up the proverbial river with no paddle. It’s never convenient to be stuck with a dead battery! But what are some of the signs that would let you know that the current battery is getting weak?
1. Having trouble starting the engine
If you are experiencing problems starting your automobile, this is one of the most obvious indicators that your battery may be defective or running low. An automobile battery’s internal parts deteriorate and lose some of their functionality over time. This results in an increasingly long time for the alternator to charge the battery. Waiting for your battery to completely drain is not a good idea since you could find yourself stuck with no power. A weak or sluggish start is often the result of your battery failing. Your battery is most likely already dead if you attempt to start the engine and hear a clicking sound. Make sure you get your car inspected by a local mechanic as soon as you experience problems starting the engine. They will help you know when a car battery should be replaced.
2. You notice the cold weather affecting your ability to start the engine
Car batteries generally don’t work well in the cold. Winter automobile battery maintenance is especially important for drivers who reside in areas that see snow or other harsh weather. A sufficiently low temperature can cause your battery to truly freeze. Its chemical processes will become less rapid. Because engine oil moves more slowly in cold weather, the car battery is required to supply the maximum current. The battery will quickly run out of life because starting the engine takes a lot more energy. If your car starts more slowly in the winter and you start to notice poor performance, it could be a weakening battery. Prior to the onset of the cold weather season, it is a good idea to get your battery updated by a mechanic because newer batteries are better capable of handling colder temperatures.
3. Issues with lights or seeing dashboard warnings
Watch the check engine light on your vehicle. Do not disregard the warning lights on your dashboard if they appear to be on unexpectedly. This suggests that the battery or one of the car’s computers isn’t working properly. It might indicate that the battery has degraded and depleted, or it can indicate that the alternator is no longer supplying power to it. In either case, speaking with a mechanic is crucial. They are able to test the battery and let you know when to change the car battery. A car shop in Belton will ensure that it is operating at maximum capacity or if it is indicating another problem.
You may also notice dim headlights. Your car’s electrical components won’t get as much power from your battery as they usually do if it is depleting. It could be an indication that your battery is almost dead if your headlights appear abnormally faint and dim, especially when you first start the engine. When the automobile is idling, the inside lights may also seem dimmer than usual or flicker. In order to preserve safe driving conditions, make sure to have your automobile checked out as soon as you notice any unexpected behavior from the lights.
Other Tips to Stay Safe
- It’s a good idea to write the battery’s expected expiration date on the top of the battery with a marker that shows well.
- Keeping jumper cables in your trunk or other auto compartment is also a good idea.
- If you have a roadside assistance plan, make sure you keep a copy of the phone number saved in your phone and a printed one in your car.
- Keep your mechanic’s phone number saved the same way: in your phone and in your car.
- Before the winter season starts, have your local auto mechanic test your vehicle’s battery
Knowing when to replace a car battery can be tricky if you don’t know what to look for. With the above tips and information, you can rest assured that you will be ready before your battery needs to be replaced. If you need a trusted mechanic in the Kansas City area, call or come by Belton Transmission & Complete Auto Care.