How To Tell If The Battery In Your Car Needs Replacing

Automotive batteries have a limited life span, and even the best batteries will typically only last a few years under the best conditions. When the battery shows signs of wear, you may want to take your car in for battery testing at your local repair shop to check your battery condition. 

Automotive Batteries 

Most cars and trucks on the road use a lead acid battery for starting the vehicle. Once the car or truck starts, the alternator in the vehicle will recharge the battery, so it is ready to use again when you need it.

If the battery is not holding a charge or is starting to degrade, the amount of electricity it can store may fall until it is unable to start the vehicle. Battery testing will load the battery and simulate the draw on it during starting to uncover issues within the battery that could cause it to fail.

The most common failure point is damage inside the battery that happens with normal use. You can't see the problem, so it may appear suddenly, showing up as a low charge in the battery at the first startup of the day. As the condition worsens, the problem can become more apparent until the battery stops working. 

Battery Testing

Most battery testing is possible with the battery still in your vehicle. A repair shop can connect the battery analyzer to the battery and run several tests to determine the overall condition of the battery. Load testing can determine how many cracking amps are available for starting the engine in cold weather, and general battery testing will check the amps, volts, and resistance in the battery to give you an overall picture of the battery's condition. 

If the battery is several years old, you may be approaching its end of life. However, every battery manufacturer has its own ratings for life span and use, so check the battery for the rating. Often these ratings are also used to warranty the battery when you purchase it, so while a five-year battery may last eight years, the warranty on it may stop at five years.

Replacing The Battery

If battery testing indicates the need for a new battery, you will need to get the right one for your vehicle. The battery must fit physically into the battery compartment, but it also needs enough power to turn the engine over every day. 

When the weather gets colder in the wintertime, the amount of power required to start your car can increase, but your mechanic can help you determine the correct battery for your vehicle and install it for you if it is time to replace it.

Contact a local auto service to learn more about car battery testing