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How Often Do Car Batteries Need to be Replaced?

Power - by Bryan Veldboom - updated on 9/1/2022

Happy family taking beach equipment out of a car trunk

Car batteries are one of those things most of us don't think about all that often. As long as they turn over our engine every morning, it's easy to put them out of mind. Your battery's life cycle is limited though and if you ignore the warning signs for too long you can find yourself stranded on the side of the road. Does your battery seem like it might need to be replaced? No problem. Follow our car battery basics guide for answers to all of your questions.

When Should Car Batteries Be Replaced?

In general, a typical car battery lasts between three and five years, although its life can be longer or shorter depending on a number of factors like how you drive and how well the battery is maintained. Short "stop and go" trips have a negative effect on batteries and can shorten your battery's life if taken frequently enough. Climate plays a role in battery life too, with both high heat and extreme cold having a negative impact on vehicle batteries.

Common Signs You Need to Replace Your Car Battery

You might be asking yourself, "How do I know when my car needs a new battery?" There are a number of things to look for. If it takes you multiple attempts to start your car or truck, there's a good chance your battery needs to be replaced. If your battery is starting to fail, you may also notice that the radio, windows and other electronics won't work as efficiently or that your headlights are dimmer than they should be.

You can also take a look at the battery itself. If you find corrosion on the terminals, or the battery itself has a misshapen appearance, it's probably time for a replacement.

How Do You Test a Car Battery?

One way to test your car battery's performance is with the use of a multimeter. A multimeter is a handheld device used to measure electrical voltage, resistance and continuity. To test your battery, follow these simple steps:

  • Set the multimeter to read voltage.
  • Turn on your car's headlights to activate the battery.
  • Touch the multimeter's probes to the correct corresponding terminals on the battery (negative to negative, positive to positive) to receive a reading.
  • A fully charged battery should be between 12.5 and 12.6 volts.

Does Batteries Plus Test Car Batteries?

If you don't have a multimeter you can always stop into your nearest Batteries Plus store. Our staff will be happy to check your vehicle's battery for free and let you know if it's time for a replacement. If you're worried about your battery's performance, be sure to have it checked as soon as possible, especially before taking any long trips, or if there's extreme weather on the horizon.

How Much Does a Car Battery Cost to Replace?

A typical flooded auto battery will cost you somewhere in the range of $164.99 to $269.99 to replace. AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat) batteries are slightly more expensive and retail for around $179.99-$379.99. Though they cost more, AGM batteries have several advantages over standard flooded batteries. They're more durable and spill-proof, making them safer to handle. They also recharge faster and provide more engine starts during their lifespan.

X2Power Batteries are the Best Auto Batteries for Your Car or Truck

If you're looking for the best possible replacement battery for your car or truck, check out our exclusive X2Power brand batteries. X2Power batteries utilize Thin Plate Pure Lead (TPPL) technology to provide more power and a longer overall lifespan. An X2Power battery will cost you more upfront, but will last roughly 3X longer than a flooded battery option, meaning you'll probably end up saving money over the course of the battery's life. Learn more about X2Power in our blog "X2Power is the Best Battery Brand for Your Car, Truck or Boat."

What Happens if You Don't Replace Your Battery?

Replacing a dying battery is not something you want to postpone for too long. As a battery gets closer to dying, it will become less and less reliable. Over time, it won't be able to turn over your engine, forcing you to jumpstart your vehicle in order to get it running. Don't wait for that to happen. If your battery is past its prime, get your battery replaced right away.

Get Your Battery Replaced at Batteries Plus

Shop our selection of car and truck batteries for any make, model or year. Each of our batteries come with a warranty good at any of our locations nationwide. Plus, we offer free car battery replacement service on most vehicles at most of our locations - you don't even have to make an appointment! In addition, we can help you get rid of your old battery responsibly through our battery recycling program.

If you'd like to learn more about this subject, we have plenty of helpful articles in our blog. Some related topics include "How Far Do I Need to Drive to Charge My Car Battery?" and "How Many Cold Cranking Amps Do I Need for Cold Weather?"

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