Your car battery is one of the central elements of your vehicle’s electrical system. Its most important role is helping the vehicle start and power its electronics while the alternator starts. However, it continues to be an essential component even when the vehicle is fully up and running. A bad battery could cause you to have a wide range of vehicle issues.
A car battery can usually hold a charge for about two months if not in use. If your vehicle will be sitting for longer, consider connecting it to a tender, a special type of battery charger that keeps the battery in good condition. If you are using your electronics, it may last as little as a few hours. When your car is running, the battery automatically recharged using the alternator. So, this is usually not a major concern for most drivers.
Most batteries last between three and five years. In some circumstances, your battery may last longer. However, it is typically best to replace any battery that reaches five years of use. Modern batteries tend to work close to optimally until they die. So, you may be stranded with seemingly no warning.
You can also test batteries using a multimeter to determine how effectively it is holding an electrical load. If it drops below five volts when in use, the battery likely needs to be replaced.
At What Percentage Should A Car Battery Be Replaced?
If you test your battery with a multimeter and find that it is holding below 75% of its original load, you should consider replacing it. Testing below 50% suggests that the battery is on its last legs.
There is no need to replace the battery based on its current charge percentage. As long as the battery has a charge, you will be able to start the engine and recharge the battery with the alternator. If your battery does not have enough charge to start the engine, you can jump it using another vehicle’s battery.
Again, car batteries are designed to be discharged and recharged. So, the battery lasts until it cannot hold a sufficient charge anymore, rather than until the initial charge is depleted.
How Many Miles Does A Car Battery Usually Last?
In most cases, a car battery will last around 50,000 miles. This can be more or less depending on how you drive and the conditions the battery is left in. Taking short trips frequently will cause a battery’s life to be shorter. Additionally, having loose cables or excessive corrosion on the terminals can deplete battery health. Generally, it is best to avoid using a battery until it completely dies.
Replace Your Dying Battery Today
If you want to make sure your vehicle’s electrical system works perfectly going forward, consider replacing your battery. You can find the right match by using a VIN lookup tool at your favorite auto parts store. Replacing your battery is surprisingly easy. You can do it with a wrench and a little time. Just make sure to never touch both battery terminals and the same time and disconnect the battery before doing anything else on your car.