Battery replacement has many factors that can make it an easy task or a difficult one. When replacing your battery you should make sure you pick the right battery and dispose of it properly. Before you replace the battery make sure you get it tested.
What are the signs my car battery needs to be replaced?
Your battery is what makes everything in your car go. If it breaks down, you aren't going anywhere. Your car battery wears down before it dies. Plugging too many electronic chargers into your car can kill the battery. If your car sits for too long, that battery will lose its charge. Look for these signs when you're worried about your battery:
- If you have a smell or odor coming out of your engine check your battery. A short circuit or damage to the case of the battery can cause a leak. Battery acid leaking in your car is never a good thing.
- If you notice corrosion on the battery connectors it may be time to change your battery. Corrosion is a white ashy substance that prevents your battery from putting out its full power. Sometimes cleaning the corrosion can help, but sometimes that damage is irreversible.
How do I pick the right battery?
Picking the right battery can be daunting. There are many different types of batteries and different specifications. You'll see multiple numbers on your battery. There are up to 5 different numbers you could see on a battery. Here is what they mean:
- MCA- This is how may amperes the battery holds for 30 seconds at 32 degrees Fahrenheit until it falls below an amp threshold.
- CCA- Cold Cranking Amps, the higher this number the easier the battery will start the vehicle. This number only really matters at 0-32 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Reserve Capacity- This number effects how much your car can do when your alternator isn't charging the battery.
- Amp Hours- the amount of amps a battery can put out in a time frame. If it's rated 60-amp-hours it can put out 60 amps for an hour, or an amp for 60 hours.
- Month/Year codes- These show when the battery's warranty expires. if it dies before this date the manufacturer should replace it for free.
How much will a new battery cost?
Batteries can range in cost based on their life expectancy and reserve capacity. Brand name batteries are going to cost more, like Interstate or Optima. Another option is a rebuilt battery. This replaces the battery acid with a magnesium sulfate solution.
- A rebuilt battery can be done yourself or you can buy one for less than $100. The price is definitely a big pro however the battery has to be messed with and that can be unsafe.
- Your mid range battery is between $100 and $200. These batteries are pretty standard and can run most cars and trucks. However, they may not have a high enough reserve capacity for some people.
- Some batteries can cost as much as $300, even more for a hybrid battery. While the price is a drawback, these batteries have a longer warranty and higher standards.
What do I do with the old battery?
You have 3 options when it comes to battery disposal. You can take it to a hazardous waste recycling plant, your local auto parts store will accept it, or you can exchange it for a new battery at an auto parts store. As long as you safely dispose of your battery you have made the right call. Unsafe disposal causes toxins to be released into the environment.
How to tell when it's my battery or another car issue?
Sometimes an issue may seem like a battery issue, but it's an issue with another part of your car. The most common culprits are your alternator, a blown fuse, or a short in the electrical wiring. Differentiating these from a battery issue is important to save you time and money.
- If you charge your battery and it doesn't hold that charge, get your alternator tested. The alternator is responsible for charging the battery as you drive.
- A short circuit can drain your batteries power. If your battery is struggling to hold a charge get it tested as well as your electrical circuits.
- If your headlights or interior lights are flickering or aren't working and you have changed the bulb, check the fuses. They are easy to replace and cheap to buy.
When the time arises, is my insurance going to be enough?
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