How Often Should You Change Your Car Battery? (2020)

Updated October, 2020
Call an insurance expert
Our team will help you find the lowest insurance prices.
866-996-3156

Most car batteries need to be replaced every 3-5 years. Your environment, driving conditions, and other factors may affect this. Battery issues can leave you stranded. Avoid this by having your battery inspected when you get an oil change. Your mechanic can ensure the cable connections are clean and tight, and the hold-down hardware is secure.

Why do car batteries need replacing?

Car batteries are susceptible to many environmental factors that wear down the battery, and it's functionality. Some of these factors may even cause damage or leakage.

  • It's old. You should replace your battery every 3-5 years. The longer a car battery is in use, the more unreliable and prone to damages they become.
  • It's been damaged. Your alternator could cause damage to your battery. Your alternator is a regulator that controls how much power is being sent to your battery. If it's malfunctioning and sending too much power, the acid in your battery may boil and overflow.
  • Overcharging your battery. Constant overcharging, such as receiving a jump often, effects your battery's cells. Over time, the battery's cells begin to leak.
  • Extreme weather. Extreme cold may freeze the acid in the battery causing the case to be put under pressure and crack. Extreme heat may cause the plates to expand and push out the liquid.
  • Extreme driving conditions. Living someplace with a bumpy road may cause damage to your battery over time. This because the constant jumbling may cause leaks, a loose battery, or a crack in the battery casing.
  • Incorrect storage. If you plan to store your battery, make sure it's fully charged first. Then store it someplace dry and cool. If your battery overheats, it could bloat and cause cracks/ leaks.

How do I pick the right battery?

Installing an incorrect battery can adversely affect your vehicle's electrical system. Knowing the type of battery to buy is sometimes daunting. Consult with your car mechanic or your vehicle owner's manual.

What you should consider when comparing batteries:

  • Battery type. Batteries are either conventional lead-acid or a more advanced AGM design. Most cars use a conventional battery. Some luxury car models use AGM batteries because they're spill-resistant and better able to handle repeated discharging and recharging.
  • Physical size. Group numbers represent the physical size, configuration, and type of battery. To play it safe, choose a battery with the same group number as the original battery you're replacing. This ensures a secure fit and no cable or terminal issues.
  • Cold-cranking amps (CCA) or amp-hour (Ah) rating. Always install the proper CCA or Ah rating. Installing a battery with a lower rating than recommended, you may experience electrical system problems. Choosing a battery with a higher rating works if it fits properly. However, this is usually unnecessary and may have a shorter service life in hot climates.

How much will a new battery cost?

Car batteries run between $50-$200 depending on the quality of battery you purchase and who installs it. On average, most people pay $50-$120. Below we compare the quality of batteries available:

  • A budget battery. These batteries are very affordably priced but have a shorter life, and shorter warranty period.
  • An average battery. These batteries are still reasonably affordable in the $75-$120 range. They come with a warranty and may have some additional features like extra weather protection.
  • A premium battery. These batteries may cost as much as $200. However, they're made for specialty luxury vehicles, have a long life, a long warranty, and multiple special features like cold weather performance, and shock-absorbing casings.

What should I do with my old battery?

There are two ways to recycle your car battery:

  • Dropping it off at a hazardous waste recycling center
  • Trade it in for a new battery

A hazardous waste recycling center allows you to drop off or can pick up your lead acid battery for you.

Taking it to your mechanic for a trade-in is a great option as you save money on a new battery, and your mechanic can dispose of the old battery for you safely.

Will my insurance protect my investment?

Some insurers offer free battery replacement or a discounted rate for the replacement. Check your current insurance policy and don't be afraid to compare other policies for the best deal.

Use our free insurance comparison tool to find the best deal, today!

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