How Often Should I Replace My Car Battery?

Photo courtesy of flickr by Robert Couse-Baker

Your Car Battery Keeps Your Car Alive

One of the reasons that your vehicle operates during the cold or warm temperatures is because of your battery. It is always doing its job to allow you to drive. For many people, the battery and what it does are just taken for granted.

They don’t realize its importance until one day the vehicle stops running. By this time, it is too late. That is why understanding and checking your battery is not only a wise decision to make but an economical one too.

Conditions that Affect Car Battery Life

man fixing car battery
Photo courtesy of carsguide

The battery works at any time the vehicle is turned on. The extreme fluctuations in temperatures and the way you drive can also put a huge drain on the battery. This happens especially if you start and stop the vehicle a lot or only drive for short distances.

All of these types of activities can put a strain on the battery causing it to have a lower life span than usual. Typical batteries are supposed to last three to 10 years, but that is rarely the way it goes for most drivers.

Some Car batteries Only Last 3 Years

Although car batteries can last five years or even more when properly looked after, most car batteries get worn out and become inefficient after around three years of everyday use in normal conditions.

Just like your laptop or smartphone battery gets less efficient with every charge, your car’s battery gradually deteriorates each time it’s charged up by the running engine. And after about three years, on average, it’s generally time to put in a brand new battery.

After four or five years, many car batteries can be pretty much completely useless and unreliable, depending on the conditions – factors such as extreme heat or extreme cold can make a lot of difference to battery life. Old and worn out batteries can lead to a variety of dangerous safety and reliability issues. Luckily, it’s quite easy to check if your car’s battery is nearing the end of its working life.

It’s worth noting that even a car with a very dodgy battery will work well enough once it’s running, as most of the battery’s recharge comes from the running engine. Which is why the best time to test your car’s battery is right after you switch your vehicle on, ideally when it’s dark – do the lights seem dim or get brighter when you put the transmission in neutral and push the accelerator? If they do, your battery is probably cooked.

You can also inspect the battery’s condition with your own eyes. Make sure that your vehicle transmission is in park and that the ignition is turned off. When you check your battery, look for any type of corrosion on it. The terminals should be clean and free of debris. Check around the screws on the battery, too. You can’t always tell from a battery tester if it is still working properly.

In some instances, you may not be able to tell by visual inspection alone if it needs to be replaced. Which can lead to you ending up at the mechanic’s urgently needing a new battery installed pronto. Unless you have a GOFAR. Then you’ll never find yourself in such a potentially frustrating situation ever again.

A Clever Device That Spots Car Trouble

You want a device that can let you know when you need to pay special attention to your car’s battery. At least an OBD2 diagnostic tool that will help you understand what your vehicle’s computer is trying to tell you.

GOFAR alerts you when you need the battery replaced, keeping you informed and in control of your vehicle’s maintenance schedule.

GOFAR Doesn’t Just Look After Your Battery

A quality OBD2 device like GOFAR doesn’t just help you keep an eye on your car’s battery – it helps you monitor all the important engine and transmission related systems in your vehicle.

In fact, GOFAR can explain all the car warning lights that appear on your dash, and even explain in plain English hundreds of the most common error codes right there on your smartphone via the free app.

phone adapter

It’s basically like having a mechanic in your pocket! And if you use it just once to diagnose and turn off the check engine light without having to pay your mechanic the cost of a diagnostic service – it has paid for itself just like that.

And the best thing is you can simply leave GOFAR plugged into your car’s OBD2 port and it constantly monitors your car’s health whenever the engine is running – every trip you make, every mile you drive – GOFAR is on patrol.

It can even help you out at tax time by giving you a full, accurate record of all your business-related trips. Check out all its features here.

Tips for Keeping Your Battery In Great Shape

You want your battery to last as long as possible. Here are some tips that may help you to do so:

1. Make sure that your doors are always closed. Not closing them all the way can cause the interior lights to stay on and drain on your battery unnecessarily.
2. If your battery is old or your car is old, try not to leave cell phone jacks plugged in when the vehicle is turned off, as it can kill a depleted battery. But most cars require you to have the ignition at turned to accessory before they draw power from the battery.
3. Avoid starting and stopping the vehicle too often. In older cars, let it run for a while to get the battery charged up. Go further distances rather than a bunch of shorter ones when you can.
4. Monitor your car’s health using a leave-in device such as GOFAR – that way, you’ll never be caught out again.

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