Your vehicle can’t run unless you have a working battery in it. And when you don’t have that working battery, life can be a bit difficult. “How long do car batteries last?” is the question and we have the answers that you need, saving you time, money and frustration!
What is an Automotive Battery?
A car battery or an automotive battery is a battery that is used to start the vehicle. Its job is to main purpose is to provide electric current to your car’s motor, which in turn starts the internal combustion engine which propels the vehicle. Car batteries are usually “box-like” and have negative and positive terminals generally located on the top. With a running engine, the power for the car's electrical systems continue to be supplied by the battery. The alternator will charge the battery as demand increases and decreases.
Since there is a chemical reaction that puts your car in action, your vehicle battery converts chemical energy into the electrical energy. This is necessary to power your car- while delivering the appropriate voltage to the starter. In addition to your vehicle battery providing the energy required to start your car, it also has the task of stabilizing the voltage, ensuring that your engine runs.
What Are Vehicle Batteries Made Of?
An automobile battery is a great model of a wet cell battery is. There are six cells in it. Each cell of the lead storage battery has alternate plates that are crafted of an alloy grid that has lead in it, accompanied with a sponge lead. They may also be covered or coated with lead dioxide. Each cell also houses a sulfuric acid solution. Vehicle batteries are grouped by their type, placement of the terminals, mounting style and physical size.
What are Date Codes on Batteries and How Do You Read Them?
Each vehicle battery here in the U.S. has a date code. This helps consumers purchase the most recent battery. Once batteries are kept in storage, they begin losing their charge, because of non-current- chemical reactions of the electrodes, that lie in the acid of the battery. To read a date code, we offer the following example.: For a battery made in October 2016 will have a number code of 10-6 or a letter/number code of K-6. “A” is for January, “B” is for February, “C” stands for March- and so on and so forth. The letter “I” is skipped.
How Much Do Car Batteries Cost?
Many automotive professionals state that car batteries are designed to last approximately two to five years, depending on climate, driving habits and the battery type. The job of replacing a battery is a relatively inexpensive job compared to other components on a car that have to be fixed- but it could still cost about $100 for battery replacement. Generally, a car battery costs between $50 and $120. The cost of premium batteries can range between $90 and $200.
How Do I Know When My Car Needs A New Battery?
A great way to think of your battery is to imagine it being the car component that is the lifeline of your vehicle. Your battery is a vital for your engine to start. It also has the job of powering all of the electrical components of your car. Without a fully-working battery, you can’t do much in a car, let alone drive it. So, how do you know when you need a new battery? Here are some signs it’s time to buy a new battery.
Your Car Engine Starts Slow
Over time, your battery located inside of the battery will wear out and lose their effectiveness. And when this happens, the battery will work harder and longer to produce a charge for the starter. Then you’ll have to wait a bit longer for our engine to turn over. When you have this delay or this slow start, this is a great indicator that it’s time to replace your battery.
Electrical Issues and Dimmer Lights
Another sign that it’s time to buy a new battery is when you have both dimmer lights inside and outside of the car- and you begin to experience electrical issues with your car. Keep in mind that the vehicle battery provides power to all of the electronics in your car. This means that the battery powers your lights, radio, dashboard, interior lights and all electrical components of the car. So, if your battery is losing its charge, it will have a more difficult time powering these components- and powering them fully. You also may experience difficulty in charging your phone or other mobile devices. The harder your lackluster battery has to work, the less power your electrical items will see and have. Flickering and eventually dimming of lights and electric components are signs it’s time for a battery replacement.
The Check Engine Light Comes On
In many vehicles, the check engine light can mean lots of issues. It can also mean that your battery is just about gone. You can check your car manual and find out how and where to get your battery tested.
Connectors that are Corroded
Do see a white, powdery, or grayish and ashy substance on the metal parts of your auto battery? Then you are looking at a corrosion issue. Corroded terminals- which are the positive and negative metal connections located at the top of the battery- can lead to voltage problems. An example of this is not being able to start your car.
Horrible Smells from the Car
If you have a damaged vehicle battery or even an internal short, this will cause that vehicle battery to leak gas. The “rotten eggs” or “Sulphur-y” smell can hit you when you open the hood. And if this the case, then you may have a leaking battery on your hands. With this issue, you must get it checked out ASAP and replace the battery if needed.
An Altered Battery Casing
For many drivers, they live in very cold and very hot climates- and these wild climates can do a lot to the lifespan of a vehicle battery. Exposure to extreme hot temperatures and even extreme cold can cause a battery case to expand and break. So, if you have a battery that has morphed into something else, then it’s time to replace it.
Your Battery is Just Too Old
When is the last time that you replaced your battery? It’s ideal and understandable to want to elongate the parts and components of a car- but a battery needs to be replaced just about every 2-5 years. So, if it’s been longer than that- and you are experiencing some of the issues we mentioned above, then it’s time to replace that battery.
What Causes A Car Battery to Die Quickly? What Drains A Battery?
As drivers, we all make mistakes from time to time. Some of those mistakes can cause our car batteries to die a fast death. So, what causes a battery to die quickly?
The headlights are left on
You were driving to the party, got out of the car so excited seeing friends and forgot to turn off the headlights. Oops! Leaving car headlights on for extended periods of time can drain your battery’s power.
Loose Battery Connections
The negative and positive terminals, connected to your battery may become loose and corroded over time. For terminals that are loose or corroded, you may not be able to start your vehicle because your battery can’t properly transmit any power. You may even run the risk of stalling out while driving! So, you need to take the time to periodically clean your car battery terminals. An old steel brush can do the trick.
It’s Too Hot or Too Cold Outside
The temperature outside can affect your battery’s performance. Freezing winter weather and hot summer conditions are no friend to a battery. While newer batteries may have more of a resistance to extreme temperatures, older batteries may not stand a chance. For a car owner with an older battery, those extreme temperatures are a huge culprit to the health of a car battery. So, if you find that your battery is having a hard time braving Mother Nature, it’s time for a new battery.
Some Sort of “Parasitic Draw”
Even while your car is off, your battery is still working. It provides power to your car radio, car clock and even your car alarm system. And when you go do start your car, these items should come on with no issue. But a battery may be drained due to bad fuses, door lights or even car interior lights. So, you have to get to the bottom of what is causing your battery to drain quickly. Is it something simple as not closing your door completely? Or is it something that may require a tad more work, like replacing a few bad fuses?
Short Driving Trips
Each time you crank your car engine, you are making your car work. Starting your car takes a huge amount of power from your battery. And if you are driver who takes quick trips in the car or short drives, you may not be allowing enough time for your battery to charge, between pit stops. This may be a huge issue especially if you have an older battery. The bottom line is: frequent short car trips can shorten your car battery’s life and it will be soon time to get a new battery.
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