How Often to Replace a Car Battery

Car Battery

According to experts, you should plan on replacing your car battery about every 4-5 years. However, your battery life depends on a few important factors that can either prolong or shorten it. The service team at Mcconnell Chevrolet has everything you need to know about car battery replacement below, including the average cost of a replacement, warning signs to keep an eye out for, and how to test a car battery.

How to Know If Your Car Battery Needs to Be Replaced

If you’re driving around Santa Rosa and you notice any of the following warning signs, that indicates it’s time to replace your battery:

  • 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 Deterioration in Healdsburg?

  • Heat: Since heat causes the liquids inside a car battery to evaporate, your battery life will generally be shorter if you live in a consistently hot climate.
  • Vibrations: Vibrations, such as those caused by frequently driving over rough terrain, are often a contributing factor to batteries wearing out prematurely.
  • Needing a Jump: If you have to frequently jump-start your car, say from leaving your engine idling or your headlights on for too long, your battery life will be significantly shortened.
  • Time: Car batteries are just like any other battery, meaning they’ll wear out eventually. Taking proper care of the battery can prevent it from wearing out early, though.

Your owner’s manual will give you a more specific idea of how long your battery should last. You can also contact our service center if you want an expert opinion.

How to Test a Car Battery

There are a few ways to test your car battery to see if it’s wearing out. The easiest way is to have a service technician check it out during your vehicle’s twice-annual regular maintenance. If you want to DIY a battery test instead, there are two main methods you can choose from:

The Headlight Test: 

  1. Turn on your car’s engine, keep it in park, and turn the headlights on.
  2. Rev the engine and check to see if the headlight brightness changes at all.
  3. If the headlights get brighter, then the current is not strong enough to keep the lights on normal brightness while the car is idling. 
  4. If this is the case, bring your car to a service center to get it inspected further.

Using a Digital Multimeter:

  1. Set the voltmeter to 20 DC volts.
  2. Open your vehicle’s hood and 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℉, a reading on the voltmeter of 12.5 volts or higher means your battery is fully charged. A reading of 12.3 volts indicates a 75% charge. If you see 11.8 volts or lower, it means you have 25% or less charge and need to replace the battery. 

How Much is a Replacement Car Battery? 

When it’s time to replace the battery in your Larkfield-Wikiup-area vehicle, the cost of a replacement varies depending on the battery. A standard car battery usually costs between $75 and $120, while a premium battery can cost up to $200. If you drive a hybrid, you’ll be paying quite a bit more for a replacement battery since the battery has a much bigger job than in a traditional gas-powered car. Hybrid batteries run anywhere from $1,000 to $6,000, though the high price is offset by much lower gas consumption.

Keep Your Vehicle in Top Shape at Mcconnell Chevrolet

If you have any questions about replacing your car battery, or want more information about vehicle services, contact our office anytime! You can also bring your car by our Petaluma-area service center if you need any kind of maintenance done. If you’re looking to save on your next service appointment, be sure to check out our service specials.


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