There has been no shortage of myths and confusion regarding batteries, especially when it comes to car batteries. Due to a bit complex structure combined with rapid change in technologies, it is hard to keep up with what’s new in the car battery industry. One of the common questions every beginner asks himself is should I replace my car battery before it dies or make the most of it.
Well, you should replace your car battery before it dies to ensure optimal performance. Using it longer will do more harm than good. Though you might save a few bucks if you use the battery until it runs out. But it might cause you to spend a substantial amount on other pieces.
Should I Replace My Car Battery Before It Dies?
Yes, you should change the battery every 2 to 3 years. Using it any longer could harm the internal components of your car that depend on the battery.
The mechanism inside the batteries is simple. Initially, one pole holds the electrons and another has none, once we let the electron flow from one pole to another it generates electricity. And, charging is the reverse of this process.
During each charging and discharging cycle, these poles and the medium between the poles wear out a little.
So, bit by bit the battery loses its efficiency and heads toward component failure. Present technology allows users to safely use the batteries for up to 3 years. Using it longer not only reduces performance but also increases the chance of accidents.
Should I Charge My Car Battery Or Replace It?
If your battery is older than 3 years you should consider changing instead of charging. For batteries older than 4 years, they should definitely be replaced. Because old batteries can cause myriad of problems in-car equipment.
The expiration date of the battery is likely to be imprinted on it. But remember that date is a general estimation, it does not account for the factors like summer or cold season let alone your driving style.
The life cycle of the battery depends on the driving temperature, driving style, car equipment, etc.
For example, in hot temperatures reaction rate inside the battery increases which speeds up battery decline. So. for optimal performance, changing the battery between 2 to 3 years is recommended.
How Long Can A Car Battery Last Without Driving?
When the car is not in use, it still consumes charge from the battery. Internal equipment like clocks, computers, and a few other pieces require a constant supply of power. So even if you don’t drive the car for long periods, it will still discharge the battery.
On top of that, the car battery will self-discharge even when it is not connected to any circuit. It is true for almost any kind of battery cell. Depending on the technologies, only the self-discharge rate varies.
So when you couple those two reasons together, it will take around 3 months to lose its power. Given that the battery was always attached to the car. If you keep it away for storing, it will last up to 6 months at most.
Why Should You Replace The Car Before It Dies?
One of the worst experiences behind the wheel could happen when the battery dies in the middle of nowhere. Replacing the battery before it dies makes sure you won’t have to deal with such an experience. Also, old batteries take a toll on the electrical equipment.
Before the worst happens, your car will start to suffer earlier. For example, the GPS, mp3 player, video player might start some weird behavior. The car might stop multiple times during long drives. Also, the electrical equipment might not function properly. If the worse should happen, they can get damaged.
What Is The Life Of A Car Battery?
Car batteries can last from 3 to 5 years depending on the weather. In hot weather, they last about 3 to 4 years. Where in cold weather, a life cycle of 4 to 5 years is almost guaranteed.
Driving weather and duration put on the biggest impact on these power cells. In hot weather reaction rate inside the battery spikes up. As a result, it drains more quickly than the regular speed. Due to the optimal reaction rate in cold weather, the battery lasts longer. Another important factor is how long the car is driven. If it is driven for a long time on a regular basis, then the battery is more likely to run out of juice quickly.
How Long Should I Let My Car Run After Installing A New Battery?
If you want the battery to last as long as possible do not run your car just after installation. Instead, you should put it on a trickle charger and make sure it is fully charged before using it.
Typically, new batteries are charged between 40% to 80%. Directly using it in the car could reduce the battery life as a car alternator could dump up to 50 amps in the battery. Which will to some damage to the battery.
How To Know If A Car Battery Needs To Be Replaced
Look out for corrosion on the connector regularly. Corrosion and rust set in on the connectors over time. This can mess with voltage and create issues when starting the vehicle.
Once the battery gets old enough, it will no longer be able to run electrical equipment in full power. This will result in dimmed cabin light, radio, dashboard.
It takes the battery longer to accumulate the necessary charge when it needs replacing. This happens due to wear and tear inside the battery over the course of time.
When the components inside the battery get old, unwanted reactions might take place. It can produce a weird smell for one case. The battery can get swollen too if gas is produced as a by-product.
So, the short answer to your question ‘should i replace my car battery before it dies’, is 2-3 years. Given that you live in a place with a warm climate. For colder climates, 3-4 years would do.
But climates are not the only things affecting the batteries. The factors stated in the post also play a great role in deciding when should you replace your car battery.