How Often to Replace a Car Battery

Toyota Mechanic Holding Wrench

 

If you ask an expert when to replace your car battery in Tampa, most of them would recommend replacing it once every four or five years. While this is a good general guideline to follow, how often to replace your car battery will also depend on the conditions you drive your car and how you drive it on a daily basis. Learn more about the signs to look out for when yours is approaching its end as well as how much is a replacement car battery and how to test a car battery, so you can keep your car in the best condition possible!

 

How to Know When to Replace Car Battery

As you are driving around the Lakeland area, here are some warning signs that you should keep in mind as they are signaling that your car battery is out to die: 

  • 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 Car Battery to Die?

When to replace a car battery for one driver may be more frequent than another driver and that all comes down to what conditions the battery is being subjected to. The following are major factors that affect how often you’ll need to replace your car battery: 

  • Heat: Hot weather causes liquids to evaporate inside a car battery, so if you live in a more consistently hot climate like St. Pete, your battery life will be inevitably shorter.
  • Vibrations: If your battery’s hold-down clamps are loose or you tend to drive over rough roads regularly, vibrations will cause internal battery parts to break down faster.
  • Needing a Jump: If you’ve done something like leave your lights on overnight or let your engine idle for too long and require a jump start, this can shorten the battery life significantly.
  • Time: A car battery can only go through so many charge cycles, so your car battery will die out sooner or later. With proper care according to your owner’s manual or recommended maintenance schedule by the OEM, you help elongate the lifespan as much as possible. 

How to Test a Car Battery

During routine maintenance in a local service center, you can have your car battery checked twice a year. However, if you want to check more than twice a year, you can learn how to test a car battery yourself with these methods: 

How to Test a Car Battery with the Headlight Test: 

  1. Turn on the engine, leave the car in park, and make sure the headlights are on.
  2. Rev the engine and see if the headlight brightness changes.
  3. If the headlights get brighter, that means the current is not strong enough to keep the lights at normal brightness while the car is idling. 
  4. Bring your car to a service center for further testing.

How to Test a Car Battery Using a Digital Multimeter:

  1. Set the voltmeter to 20 DC volts.
  2. Under the hood, 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. Have a friend 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. 

How Much is a Replacement Car Battery? 

Besides wondering when to replace your car battery, you might also be wondering “How much is a replacement car battery?” Typical car batteries can cost anywhere between $75 and $120 and premium batteries can cost up to $200. Replacing hybrid car batteries will be more complicated, so they will be more expensive, and can cost anywhere between $1000 and $6000. For a quote on the replacement and the service, feel free to reach out to us! 

Maintain Your Car at Wesley Chapel Toyota 

Now that you have a better idea of how often to replace your car battery in Wesley Chapel, schedule a visit to our service center if your car needs maintenance and repair! Our trained technicians will be able to get your car in the best shape while using genuine parts.

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