The best time to replace your battery is before you need to. But how do you know it’s time to replace the battery if it’s not dead—yet? Although most batteries can last for five years or more when properly cared for, most car batteries will become worn down and inefficient within three years of everyday use in normal conditions. Just like with your computer or smartphone’s battery becomes less efficient with every charge, your car’s battery gradually deteriorates every time it’s charged up by the vehicle’s engine. After three years, it’s normally time to install a replacement.
After four or five years, most car batteries will be almost completely unreliable. Old car batteries can present a number of safety and reliability issues. Luckily, it’s easy to identify if your car’s battery is nearing the end of its lifespan.
Sure, you might notice a few common warning signs of a weak battery, like:
- Slow engine crank
- Illuminated check engine light
- Bloated, misshaped battery case
- Battery fluid leak
And if you don’t notice any warning signs? General wisdom says you should replace your car battery about every three years, but many factors can influence its lifespan. You might need a new battery before the three-year mark depending on the climate where you live and your driving habits.
Yes, did you know that the climate can change the lifespan of your battery?!
Consider Your Climate
Extreme temperatures impact battery life.
Hot and cold weather can negatively affect your battery.
Batteries are just like our bodies in a way, when you step outside on a super-hot day, you’re at risk of becoming dehydrated. The same is true for your car’s battery.
Also like our bodies, car batteries rely on liquids to keep moving. The sweltering heat of summer can lead to evaporation of water in your car’s battery acid, resulting in decreased performance, starting power, and in the end a shorter lifespan.
This doesn’t just apply to hot temperatures. Cold weather can damage your car battery, too.
When the heat index turns to wind chill, your battery needs to work harder to generate enough energy to keep your car running smoothly. Cold weather can also result in thicker engine oil, which puts an additional strain on your battery.