How Often to Replace a Car Battery

Auto Mechanic Replacing Car Battery

Your car battery is a key component of your vehicle, but it doesn’t last forever. Most Detroit drivers can get around 4 or 5 years out of a new battery, but determining how often to replace a car battery can vary tremendously from one driver to the next. That’s because your driving habits and vehicle type can play a big role in the longevity of your equipment. Some of the red flags of a weak battery are:

  • Dimming headlights
  • More frequent need for engine revving or jump starts
  • Takes longer to start the engine when you turn the key/push the button
  • Unusual power fluctuations

What Causes a Battery to Weaken Faster?

  • Heat: When the weather is hot, the liquids in the car battery evaporate faster than a more mild climate.
  • Vibrations: Vibrations can jostle the internal parts and cause the battery to break down faster, which is why it’s so important to keep your battery’s hold-down clamps secure.
  • Jump Starts: Jump starts may be valuable in an emergency, but they can be hard on your battery’s lifespan.
  • Time: All batteries wear out over time, even the best models on the market. But, good maintenance can help prolong the lifespan of your battery. 

How Much is a Replacement Car Battery?

How much is a replacement car battery for your make and model? The team at Ray Laethem Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram would be happy to give you a quote, so don’t hesitate to reach out. But on average, a typical car battery will run between $75 and $120. Premium batteries can reach up to $200, while hybrid batteries can cost thousands to replace. 

How to Test a Car Battery

Testing your car battery will help you determine when you need a replacement more accurately, and there are several methods of how to test a car battery. You can request a battery check during your regular maintenance visit, or you can also test it in between appointments. Many retailers offer free testing services, and you can also do it yourself at home.

The Headlight Test: 

  1. With your car still in park, turn on the engine and make sure the headlights are on.
  2. Rev the engine while looking at the headlight brightness.
  3. If the headlights get brighter when you rev the engine, the current is not strong enough to keep the lights at normal brightness while the car is idling. This means your battery is fading.
  4. Take your car to a service center for a battery check or general inspection.

Using a Digital Multimeter:

  1. Grab your digital multimeter and set the voltmeter to 20 DC volts.
  2. Pop the hood of the car and touch the negative terminal (black) with the negative meter probe (also black).
  3. Touch the positive terminal (red) with the positive meter probe (also red).
  4. Ask a friend to turn on the headlights and check the voltmeter reading.
  5. At 80℉, 12.5 volts or higher means your battery is fully charged. 12.3 volts means it’s at about 75% charged.11.8 volts or lower means you have 25% or less charge. 
  6. Take your car to a service center for a battery check if you are concerned about your charge level.

Schedule Your Service with Ray Laethem Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram

We’ve gone through how often to replace your car battery, how much is a replacement battery, and how to test a car battery successfully. But, if you still have questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to us in Detroit. Contact us for all of your automotive needs in the St Clair Shores and Roseville area, and schedule your next appointment today!


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