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How Often to Replace a Car Battery

Car Battery


Your individual car battery’s life is affected by a variety of factors, but most experts agree that it should be replaced every 4-5 years or so. There are some key things to know when it comes to replacing your car battery, including warning signs to look out for, how to DIY a test of the battery, and how much you can expect to pay for a replacement. The service team at Cookeville Honda has put together a guide outlining all of this information below, so read on!

How to Know if Your Car Battery Needs to Be Replaced Soon

Keep an eye out for the following signs that signal it’s time to replace your battery

  • Dimming headlights
  • More frequent need for engine revving or jump starts
  • Takes longer to start the engine after turning the key/pushing the start button
  • Unusual power fluctuations

What Makes Batteries Go Bad?

  • Heat: A hotter climate will deteriorate your car battery faster because heat causes liquids to evaporate inside the battery.
  • Vibrations: Driving over rough terrain in or around Nashville can cause vibrations in your car that rattle the battery and cause it to break down faster. Vibrations can also be caused by loose hold-down clamps on the battery.
  • Needing a jump: Jump-starting your car after leaving the engine idling for too long, or leaving your lights on overnight, can cause the battery life to shorten.
  • Time: Car batteries don’t last forever; eventually you’ll have to get yours replaced, although proper care can extend its life by quite a bit.

Your owner’s manual should have information about how long your specific vehicle’s battery should last with proper care, but the general rule is about 4-5 years.

How to Test a Car Battery

If you want to do a DIY test of your car battery outside your two regularly-scheduled maintenance visits, there are two main methods you can use. 

Using a Digital Multimeter:

  1. Turn on the voltmeter and set it 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 the voltmeter reading.
  5. If the voltmeter is showing 12.5 volts or higher at 80℉, your car battery is fully charged. 12.3 volts means it’s at about 75% charged, while 11.8 volts or lower means you have 25% or less charge and should get your car to a service center.

The Headlight Test: 

  1. Turn on the engine, keep the car in park, and make sure the headlights are on.
  2. Rev the engine and see if the headlight brightness changes.
  3. If the headlights get brighter, that means the current is not strong enough to keep the lights at normal brightness while the car is idling. 
  4. If this is the case, take your car to a service center to get it checked out by a technician.

How Much is a Replacement Car Battery Near Lebanon? 

The cost of a replacement car battery in the Lebanon area varies greatly depending on the type of vehicle. For a typical gasoline-powered car, a standard replacement battery can cost between $75 and $120, while a premium battery can cost up to $200 to replace. However, hybrid car batteries are much pricier because they have more to do in your car, so expect to pay between $1,000 and $6,000 for a replacement. Though this is quite costly, a hybrid also requires much less fuel to consume, so the cost evens out a bit.

Care for Your Car With Cookeville Honda!

Have any questions about how often to replace a car battery? Feel free to contact us anytime! You can also come by our service center near Carthage for more information. If you’re ready to bring your car in for any kind of maintenance, be sure to check out our service specials to see if you can save on your next appointment. You can even schedule an appointment right from our website.

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