Your battery is the part of your car that is responsible for it starting and running. If you don’t have a battery, and you don’t drive a manual, you don’t have a way of starting and running the car.
A battery is an expensive item, it’s also critical to your car’s electrical system, mainly to your ignition and starter motor. If you are asking yourself “why won’t my car start?” It might be time for a new battery.
Some signs your battery is on its way out
You’ll notice the inconvenience before you realise anything else. There’s a raft of electrical issues that will crop up letting you know that it’s time for a battery replacement.
- You drove the car yesterday, but it won’t start today. Your alternator is spun by the engine and runs the electrics when the car is running, it also charges the battery at the same time. If you’ve driven the car for a reasonable amount of time and then parked it up for the night, only for it to not start tomorrow – it might be time for a new battery. As a side note, you could also have an electrical draw, that would be worth looking into.
- The starter motor clicks and doesn’t turn the motor over. This means the battery doesn’t have enough cold cranking amps (or ‘juice’) to turn the motor over. The battery is therefore not holding sufficient charge to power the starter motor.
- The indicator light shows that you need a new one. The easiest way to diagnose a failing battery, by far. Nearly all batteries have a little window on the top that indicates, based on colour, the current state of the battery. If it says you need a new one, even after a long drive, you need a new one.
How long does a car battery last?
Believe it or not, batteries last longer if they’re used often. If you leave a car sitting without a trickle charger, they run flat and this degrades the material in the battery.
Generally you should get 3-4 years out a battery but 5 years isn’t rare either.
How to make your battery survive longer
If leaving the car for a long time, you’ll want to leave it on a trickle charger. Make sure to charge the battery regularly, try not to let it drop below 40% charge, this will keep the materials inside the battery tip top.
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