How Often to Replace a Car Battery

If you’ve been driving around Raleigh and Cary with the same car battery for a few years at this point, you may be wondering how often to replace a car battery. Generally, car batteries require replacement every four to five years, though some die out sooner, around three years at the earliest. In the guide below, the service professionals at BMW of Southpoint tell you how to know if your car battery needs to be replaced, how to test a car battery at home, and more! We’re here to provide service information you can trust.

How to Know If Your Car Battery Needs to Be Replaced

The last thing you want is to become stranded in Chapel Hill with a dead battery. Fortunately, there are some clear warning signs your vehicle may exhibit before the battery dies completely. Here are some common red flags to watch for:

  • Dim headlights
  • Sluggish engine turnover
  • Electrical issues
  • Power fluctuations
  • Bad smell when you pop the hood (a leaking battery may emit a foul odor)
  • A visual inspection that shows the battery case to be swollen or otherwise misshapen
  • Corrosion covering the metal parts of the battery (the connectors)

What Makes a Car Battery Deteriorate?

Every car owner in Durham will need to replace their car battery at some point, as it’s only capable of a certain number of charge cycles. The passage of time means a car battery will probably die after three to five years on the road, but there are some other factors to keep in mind that could cause a battery to wear out faster than normal:

  • Heat: If it’s hot outside, the liquids inside a car battery can start to evaporate, leading to a shorter battery life.
  • Shaking: Your car battery is held securely in place by hold-down clamps, but these clamps can become loosened. If this happens and the battery is sliding around as you drive, the internal components can suffer damage that shortens the battery life.
  • Jump-Starts: If you accidentally leave your lights on and the battery is drained, the jump-start required to get it charged again can shorten the battery life quite a bit.

How to Test a Car Battery in Your Own Garage

We recommend having your battery professionally tested about twice per year during routine maintenance visits, but if you’re between appointments and would like to check your battery at home, learning how to test a car battery is pretty simple! Check out two quick methods:

Digital Multimeter Test 

  1. You’ll need a voltmeter set to 20 DC volts for this test, as well as a friend or family member to assist you later on.
  2. Connect the black negative meter probe with the black negative battery terminal.
  3. Connect the red positive meter probe with the red positive battery terminal.
  4. Now, ask a helper to turn on the headlights. Check the voltmeter reading.
  5. At 80℉, 12.5 volts or higher means your battery has a 100% charge. 12.3 volts indicates a charge of about 75%, while 11.8 volts or lower indicates just 25% of a charge.

Headlight Test: 

  1. Run the engine but leave your car in park. Turn the headlights on to full brightness.
  2. Gently press the accelerator pedal to rev the engine.
  3. If the headlights get brighter when you rev the engine, you’ll know the battery current isn’t strong enough to maintain normal brightness when idling.

If your vehicle fails the headlight test or a voltmeter reading shows a charge as low as 25%, you’ll want to schedule a service appointment without delay.

On Average, How Much is a Replacement Car Battery?

If your car battery has become unreliable, how much is a replacement car battery going to cost? The average range for a standard car battery is $75–$120, or up to $200 for a premium battery.

If you’re replacing a hybrid battery, the cost could be between $1000 to $6000. Why is there such a large price gap for hybrid batteries? Their components are more complicated than the batteries for gas vehicles, and they need to supply the vehicle with a lot more power.

Get Trusted Battery Service at BMW of Southpoint

Tired of dealing with an unreliable car battery? If you suspect you’ll need to replace it soon, BMW of Southpoint will be here to help when you’re ready. Our expert technicians will inspect your battery and install a high-quality replacement in a timely manner. With any questions about our services or to ask about our ongoing service specials, fill out a contact form or call us at 919-338-7135 and we will be happy to help!

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