The battery is the hub of any car, not just electric cars. Without it, you can’t start your engine, run your air conditioner, lower your windows, or listen to the radio—and those are just some functions we notice. Did you know that a battery lasts only between three and five years? It’s important to monitor your battery so you can replace it before it causes problems.
Difficulties Starting Your Engine
If your engine doesn’t start at all, grab your battery cables and boost it from another car battery or a jump starter. If that works, great! You’re on your way. However, if you have to boost your battery frequently, you probably need a new one.
If your car takes a long time to turn on, though, that’s a clear sign your battery is no longer holding its charge well. Replace it.
Are all your headlights dim at the same time? The lights on your dash? Do you have other electrical issues at the same time? If one headlight burns out, that’s not your battery. But if all of them are dimming, that’s a hint you may need a new battery.
However, your alternator may also be the cause here, so run these tests, too. Also, use a battery terminal cleaner to remove any corrosion on the terminals, then test your voltage with a battery tester to see if your battery reaches at least 12 volts.
Check Engine Light Is On
Like the smoke alarm in your house that pierces your ears when your toaster burns your bread, your check engine light can overreact, causing you to under-react. This is because it asks you to do one thing—check your engine—for a range of situations. Turning the light off can range from tightening your gas cap to having an engine replacement. Within that range of possibilities is a battery replacement. Take your car to your mechanic for a final diagnosis.
Under the Hood
It’s a good idea to lift the hood once a month, even if you’re unfamiliar with your car’s components. Familiarizing yourself with key parts may take only a few minutes—at most an hour—but can save you thousands of dollars in repairs because you’ll learn how to prevent an extremely high repair bill.
- An unpleasant smell, e.g., a burning smell
- Corrosion: If a battery has cracked, the acids in it can leak. Usually visible along with the connectors, it’s generally a blue foam. Don’t touch it with your hands! Always wear gloves.
- Misshapen battery case: Your battery should be rectangular, not angular or bumpy. The chemicals inside the battery are corrosive. If they leak, your repair bill will be considerably higher than a battery replacement.
If your battery appears damaged, replace it.
Replacing Your Battery
You have two options for replacing your battery: 1) Take your car to a trusted mechanic, or 2) Replace your car battery on your own. If you select option 2, make sure you purchase the right battery for your make and model. Your local NAPA associate can help.
Need an Incentive? Here’s a Rebate Offer:
It’s so easy to put off something like a battery replacement. That’s why, for the month of October, we’re offering a $20 mail-in rebate on NAPA batteries. Winter’s coming. Don’t be stuck in the cold with a dead battery on your way to work, a small family celebration, or the grocery store. If your battery is showing signs of coming to the end of its life, replace it today.