Is It Time for a New Car Battery? Recognizing the Key Signs

Ever go to start your car, truck, or electric vehicle (EV) and you’re greeted with a dull click? Or nothing at all with an EV? A dead battery can leave you stranded. Thankfully, understanding how your battery works and noticing the tell-tale signs of a dying battery can save you a lot of time and frustration. Here’s how to recognize when it’s time to get a new battery.

Les Schwab tip: Learn how to jump-start your car with our how-to video.

Recognizing Signs of a Dying Car Battery

It doesn’t take a lot of power to start today’s gas-powered vehicles or initiate the startup sequence in an EV. That can make it difficult to notice when a battery is going dead. We have some tips to help.

Battery Light on the Dash

If the battery light on your dash is illuminated, it could be a loose cable, alternator issue, bad wiring, or a dying battery. Regardless, get to a Les Schwab store near you for a free inspection and advice.

Slow Starter

If your gas-powered vehicle takes a few cranks to start, it could be a battery issue.

Fluid Leaks

The fluid in your battery is corrosive and dangerous. If there is a leak, bring your car in for an inspection.

Swollen Battery

Too much heat can cause a battery to swell. This can be dangerous to change and may require professional removal and installation.

Car battery corrosion

Corrosion on the Posts

While it may just need a good cleaning or the terminals may need to be tightened, anytime you spot corrosion on your battery, stop by Les Schwab. We’ll take a look and share our advice.

Too Many Jump-Starts

If you jump-start your vehicle more than once a month, it could be time to check your battery and other components, including the alternator.

Old Battery

While age can affect a battery, the hot, summer months and other weather in your region can cause a lot of battery wear and tear. This is due to an increase in the chemical reactions inside the battery during hot days. If your battery is only a few years old, get to Les Schwab for a free visual inspection.

Technicians reviewing a car battery

How Often Do Car Batteries Need To Be Replaced?

Batteries are an essential part of today’s vehicles. Even EV cars and trucks have a regular battery to initiate the startup sequence before the traction battery is engaged. According to AAA, the average battery can last three years. With the right one and today’s automotive advances, it’s possible to get even more years out of your next battery. However, where you live, including elevation, weather, and where you drive can play a big role in the life of that battery.

How Weather and Climate Conditions Impact Your Battery Lifespan

Weather as well as where you live and drive can affect the life of your car’s battery. If you experience hot summers and frigid winters, your battery will have to work extra hard to keep you from being stranded.

Cold Weather Shows How Dead Your Battery Really is

Most of us notice a dead or dying battery in the winter. That’s because, after a hot summer and plenty of starts, that battery may be exhausted. The cold weather can become too much for the struggling power cells, ending with a drained or dead battery. Additionally, thicker engine oil due to the colder weather can force your battery to work extra hard to start a gas-powered vehicle.

Hot Weather Takes a Toll

There is water in your battery. When temperatures soar in the triple digits (or your battery reaches some dangerous temperatures), that water can evaporate, leading to damage and less power.

Tips for Protecting Your Battery in Extreme Weather

New car batteries are tough and built to start your vehicle thousands of times without fail. But hot and cold weather can damage even the best battery. Here are some tips to help protect your battery in your region.

Don’t Leave Your Headlights On

Even if your lights go off automatically, turn them off completely. This will save a little bit of your battery life. Additionally, turn off glove-box lights, trunk lights, and interior lights that remain illuminated when the vehicle is off.

Unplug Extra Accessories

Stereo components (such as subwoofers), and phone chargers that continue to work when the car is turned off can drain your battery. Especially in extreme heat and cold.

Take a Drive Once a Week

During extremely cold weather, take your car on a 15-minute drive once a week. This can help recharge your battery, if your alternator is working properly.

Tighten and Clean Battery Connections

Battery terminals that are loose or corroded can drain or damage the battery — especially in extreme heat and cold. If you find corrosion, scrub it off with a stiff-bristle brush (an old toothbrush works great) and a mixture of one part baking soda to three parts water.

Plug In Your EV or Hybrid

If you’re facing extremely hot or cold weather, leave your EV plugged in overnight. This can help keep your 12 volt car battery from draining completely.

Customer and an employee reviewing batteries

Importance of Regular Battery Checks

Just like checking the oil in your engine or air in your tires, have your battery checked often. Come by Les Schwab and we’ll perform a free inspection. Whether it just needs to be recharged or if you need a new battery, we can help, including new batteries for most vehicles.