When to Replace Car Batteries

Most drivers have had to jumpstart their vehicles at one point or another. Because car batteries are rechargeable, they very rarely go completely dead. If a motorist mistakenly leaves his headlights on, the battery will drain down and it may not have enough juice left in it to actually start the car. There is a surprisingly simple explanation for this.


You see, most modern vehicles have chargers (alternators) that recharge the battery and power the electrical system when the engine is running. But when the lights are left on and the engine is not running, the battery must do all the work. And if the lights stay on for long enough, the battery will go dead.  A pair of jumper cables and another car battery is often enough to get the battery going again, since they are rechargeable.


But like anything else in a vehicle, batteries will eventually wear out.  The good news is that car batteries are affordable.  They can be purchased at any auto parts store for forty or fifty dollars. If properly maintained, they will last for an average of five to seven years. The only real danger when it comes to expense is getting caught with a completely dead battery, i.e., one that cannot be jumpstarted back to life.


When a battery is truly dead, a driver will have to call a tow truck to transport his hors de combat vehicle to the nearest auto mechanic. This can cost hundreds of dollars and may take several hours, especially if your car breaks down at night. That is why it is extremely important to take your car to a mechanic if it has any electrical issues.


One of the most common battery problems is when a vehicle coughs during startup.  When a car takes two or three turns of the key to start, it should be taken to a mechanic immediately. The mechanic may be able to “load” the battery, and if it can hold a charge, he may not have to replace it. However, if the battery does not respond, you may have to buy a new one. As we mentioned, car batteries are affordable. They are nothing compared to the average brake cost.


Since it is such a common problem, most garages keep new batteries on hand. A good mechanic can replace a battery in a matter of minutes and have you back on the road for a reasonable fee.


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