Everyone will have to replace their battery at some point. Mechanics estimate the average car battery is designed to last anywhere from two to five years. Of course, other factors go into this. Factors such as your vehicle type, weather, and type of battery in your car are all at play in how soon your battery will need to be replaced. Compared to other car maintenance replacing the average battery is inexpensive, but knowing how to estimate the cost ahead of time can reduce the price or allow you to shop in advance.
How to buy the right battery for your car
The video above from Roadshow gives several key elements to examine for buying your own car battery. For instance, almost all car batteries will be 12 volts. You’ll also need to make sure the size of the battery and the positive and negative terminal locations will match up with how your car is configured. You might also want to consider the battery’s ability to perform in cold temperatures, depending on your location.
You’ll want to look for a battery that’s no more than six months old, if possible. You might also want to consider the quality of lead in the battery and the quality of the battery case itself.
Signs of a low battery
Fortunately, when a car battery is running down, there are usually a few clear indicators before it completely runs down and you are left stranded. You might notice sluggishness when the car starts. This provides a simple indication that your battery might be on its last leg.
Interior lights may also appear to be dimmer than usual. It’s incredibly beneficial for anyone who has a battery for three or four years to monitor for all of these telltale signs.
The cost of a car battery
A typical vehicle battery can cost in the neighborhood of $50 to $120, although some specialty batteries can cost upwards of $90 to $200. There are more than 40 types of batteries available, and several factors affect the cost. Battery type is one of them. So make sure you are familiar with the battery type of your vehicle ahead of time.
The lead-acid battery is one of the most common, which costs the neighborhood of $125 to $135. Another type of battery is the absorbent glass mat battery (AGM). This type of battery will cost around $200 because they power the more sophisticated electronics in luxury vehicles. Batteries that come with a more extended warranty will also add to the cost.
Depending on the battery location in the car and how long it takes to install, a mechanic can charge $10 to $100 to install the car battery. However, many car part retailers will install the battery free of charge if you buy the battery from them. If you ever have trouble with a battery dying on the side of the road, consider AAA or using your roadside towing insurance rather than hiring a tow truck. This will save you a lot of money on a relatively inexpensive fix.
Factors that shorten battery life
Temperature changes can drain your battery quicker than expected. An increase in temperature causes battery fluid to evaporate, which can damage the battery’s components. With cold temperatures, engine oil tends to thicken, which can cause hard starts to deplete the battery.
Some drivers may find corrosion around the terminals of the battery. Autos.com says that once corrosion is noticeable in even a small bit of white or blue-colored fuzz around the connectors, electrical damage may have occurred. Trying to remove corrosion from terminals can be a good way of extending the battery life for your car. Battery corrosion cleaning items are sold in auto parts shops. Using a mixture of water and baking soda is one method some sources recommend.