When do I need to replace my battery?
That is a very smart question that can sometimes be overlooked until the battery dies and it is a last resort purchase. Other times, batteries are being replaced before their time. Here is the run down on how to know when your battery is ready to be replaced.
If your battery is dying and you need a jump start, it could very well be that you have a bad battery. But you cannot instantly jump to that conclusion. The problem could be a bad alternator that is not charging the battery correctly.
Another tip is to have your alternator tested. A surprisingly high percentage of “bad” alternators are actually just fine! The problem here is a worn serpentine belt and/or belt tensioner. If the belt is slipping, it can’t fully charge the battery.
So you see, a dead battery can be the result of a chain of events. If you don’t check the belt, tensioner and alternator, you will end up replacing batteries that may still be good!
That brings us full circle to when batteries do fail. There’s a chemical cycle that takes place in each car battery. The battery is discharged when you start the car and is recharged as you drive. Short trips with frequent stops and starts may mean that your battery is never full recharged. This means that parts of the battery harden and are no longer able to store electricity. Over time, your battery will just not be able to hold enough charge to keep your car going. This overworks your alternator and causes it to wear out prematurely.
Batteries generally last longer in colder climates and wear out faster in warmer weather. No matter the climate, the fact is that on average, 70% of batteries fail within 4 years. Many experts recommend replacing your battery every 5 years, but we recommend getting routine checks of your belt, tensioner and alternator just to be safe! This can help you avoid being stranded with a dead battery and undue wear on your alternator!
Call your local NAPA AutoCare Center today!