How Do I Know When My Car Battery Needs Replacing?

Updated October, 2020
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Most car batteries last around 5 years. That benchmark is a good time to look for a new one. However, you may need a replacement sooner if your current battery has corroded connectors, a misshapen battery case, or a host of other problems.

What are the signs my car battery needs to be replaced?

Due to a litany of factors, car batteries may wear down prematurely. Most batteries are designed to last between 3 and 5 years, so pay attention to the following issues when your battery gets to that point.

  • Corroded connectors - Pay attention to any white substance on your battery's metal. This is a sign of corrosion. It can lead to voltage problems and your vehicle having issues starting.
  • Misshapen battery case - You need to watch out for a faulty battery case if you live somewhere with extreme heat or cold. The case can start to crack and swell over time. The battery isn't correctly aligned, and issues develop.
  • Dim lights - An old battery may have problems giving power to all of your car's electrical components. This is most evident in the lights. If your headlights don't illuminate like they used to, then a faulty battery is likely the culprit.

How do I pick the right battery?

Not all car batteries are created equal. Your car may need a different type of battery than your friend's, and here are some factors to consider.

  • Size
  • Shelf life
  • Price
  • Disposal regulations
  • Temperature range
  • Voltage

Most auto shops can tell you what battery works for the make, model, and year of your car. However, you should also have an understanding of what the numbers on the battery mean.

The number tells you what kind of battery it is. This can then be used to determine what cars it works best for. For example, "24F" is highly recommended for any Toyota, Honda, Acura, and Nissan vehicles.

How much will a new battery cost?

Most mechanic shops charge between $50 and $100 for a new battery installation. However, the main portion of the cost comes down to the battery itself.

You have different options. While cheap and expensive batteries exist, you ultimately want to pick what's best for your car and budget.

Cheap battery

Pros:

  • Lower price
  • Quite durable

Cons:

  • Prone to acid spilling
  • More susceptible to corrosion

Mid-range battery

Pros:

  • Found almost anywhere
  • Last just as long as expensive batteries

Cons:

  • More maintenance
  • Higher cost

Expensive battery

Pros:

  • Great quality
  • Last longer

Cons:

  • Higher price
  • Higher installation cost

What do I do with the old battery?

You can't just throw an old car battery in the trash. For environmental reasons, you need to dispose of it properly.

Fortunately, you can get rid of car batteries at many auto shops, dealerships, recycling depots, and auto parts stores. Make sure to call ahead to make sure a place near you accepts batteries.

Once you know where to go, secure the battery in the trunk, hatch, or floor. Make sure it's unable to slide around.

After arriving at the location, tell the representative you have a battery. He or she takes it off your hands, and you're on your way!

How to tell when it's my battery or another car issue?

You should know when it's time for a new battery based on the signs your current one gives off. Some of the most common symptoms of battery failure include:

  • Slow engine crank
  • Clicking noises when you turn the key
  • Illuminated dashboard warning light
  • Loose terminals
  • Issues with electrical components

When the time arises, is my insurance going to be enough?

When it comes to car insurance, there are several factors to consider beyond monthly cost. A policy that covers you when you need it, has a low deductible, and offers several discounts can be hard to find - which is why we've done the work for you.

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Call an insurance expert
Our team will help you find the lowest insurance prices.
866-996-3156