Too often, the first sign of a battery going wrong is a car not starting in the morning. A lot of people forget that, as with oil and filter changes, batteries have to be tested regularly and replaced every few years. So, when we get a problem, it seems like the battery has suddenly packed up! This generally isn’t true.
The first question we have to ask is: how long does a battery normally last before needing to be replaced? It varies, a lot. A good rule of thumb, though, is that batteries can last up to 5 years before they need to be replaced. This doesn’t mean that you should wait until they’re 5 years old. Many batteries won’t last anywhere near this long, especially if you buy a budget one. Every time your car goes in for a service, ask to have the battery tested. This can help you solve any problems before they occur!
Next, we should talk about some symptoms that your car battery might need replacing soon:
- Immediately after starting your car, do all of the electronics function as they should? If your onboard computer, headlights, or other features that use a lot of power aren’t working properly as soon as you start your car then your battery may be on its way out.
- Is your battery not holding its charge very well? If you find yourself having to ask for jumps on a regular basis because you’ve left your car idle for a minute or two then your battery’s capacity is definitely becoming a problem.
- Does your car not start at all? Before you start worrying that there might be something more serious causing the problem, have your battery tested. This is often the cause of a non-starting car and is a relatively cheap and easy fix. The simplest solution is often the correct one!
If you have any of these symptoms, check when you last replaced your battery. If it’s more than 2 or 3 years then you’ve probably found the cause. Our advice is to replace your battery within this time-frame as this is generally when the performance of a battery starts to drop. Doing so will help you avoid these problems and stop you from being caught at the roadside on your morning commute!
Keeping an eye on your battery is even more important if you have a modern car. Recently manufactured cars have more electronics than older models, including sophisticated onboard computers. Many of these electronics will continue to drain the battery, even when your car isn’t on. Whilst these drains are very small, they will have an effect on your battery over a long period of time.
Once you’ve decided that you need to replace your battery, you might be wondering about cost? A typical car battery will probably cost around £40-£90. This can go up quite a lot if you want to get a premium battery which will last longer than a standard one. This often won’t include fitting, so expect to add another £15-20 on top if you don’t want to fit it yourself!
The next time you need a battery, though, consider going to a breaker yard. You could get considerable savings on your next battery, even with a fitting cost! Breaker yards are also more likely to have every type of car battery you might need, so you won’t have to spend as much time shopping around.