How Often to Replace a Car Battery

Mechanic Removing Battery from Car

When dealing with your vehicle’s battery, most auto experts believe you should replace it every 4-5 years. This can depend on multiple factors related to wear and tear and other issues. Yet often we get other questions. This includes, ‘How to know if your car battery needs to be replaced?’, ‘How much is a replacement car battery?’ and ‘How to test a car battery?’.

Learn about this and other car battery topics with Dick Hannah Jeep. If you have any further questions, call us at 360-944-3275 or contact us online.

How to Know if Your Car Battery Needs to be Replaced

There are several warning signs that might indicate your car’s battery is coming to the end of its service:

  • Dimming headlights
  • More frequent need for engine revving or jump starts
  • Taking longer to start the engine when you turn the key/push the button
  • Unusual power fluctuations

What Causes Car Battery Deterioration?

  • Heat: Warmer weather causes liquid within the battery to evaporate, so living and driving in a hot climate can lead to a shorter battery life cycle. 
  • Vibrations: If the battery’s hold-down clamps are loose, or you’re frequently driving over rough roads, vibrations can cause internal battery parts to break down quicker.
  • Needing a Jump: If you’ve left your lights on overnight, or let your engine idle for too long, requiring a jump start, this will shorten how long your battery lasts.
  • Time: A car battery will go through multiple cycles and changes while in your car. As a result, that battery will die eventually, but proper maintenance can keep it from dying too soon.

When in doubt, always consult your owner’s manual or maintenance schedule to determine what to do with your battery. With proper care, it can last for longer than expected.

How to Test a Car Battery

Whether through regular maintenance at your local Longview service center or at home, you can have your battery tested multiple times during the year. Among the methods you can use at home:

The Headlight Test: 

  1. Turn on the engine, keep the car in park, and make sure your headlights are on.
  2. Rev the engine and see if the headlight brightness changes in intensity.
  3. If the headlights get brighter, that means the current is not strong enough to keep the lights at normal brightness when your car is idling.
  4. Take your car to a service center at this point for further assessment and maintenance.

Using a Digital Multimeter:

  1. Set the voltmeter to 20 DC volts.
  2. Under the hood, 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 what the voltmeter is reading.
  5. At 80℉, 12.5 volts or higher means your battery is fully charged. 12.3 volts means it’s about 75% charged. 11.8 volts or lower means you have 25% or less charge. 

How Much is a Replacement Car Battery? 

Most car batteries can typically cost between $75 and $120, although a premium battery can go upwards of $200. If you have a hybrid car, these batteries are often more time-consuming, so they’ll be more expensive. As a result, this can cost you anywhere from $1,000 to $6,000.

Keep Your Battery in Top Shape at Dick Hannah Jeep

Now you know how often to replace a car battery! If your battery needs replacing, drive over from Battle Ground and visit the Dick Hannah Jeep service department. Also check out our existing parts center and see what coupons are available this month, there might be a great service deal. Find out today! 


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