If the engine is the heart then the battery is the lifeblood of your car. It supplies your car with the necessary juice to get its engine running. That’s why it’s important to know the ins and outs of your car battery. Or at the very least, its lifespan.
Here’s everything you need to know about a car’s battery life:
The Average Lifespan
A car’s battery lasts between 3 to 5 years on average. However, it can last longer or shorter based on several factors:
- Battery Type: The type of battery plays a large role in its lifespan. Lead batteries (wet cell) are the most common due to their affordability and versatility. Then you have other battery types, each varying in specifications and longevity.
- Climate: It can get hot here in Singapore and that can really drain your battery. The heat causes battery fluid to evaporate, damaging the internal components. Basically, the hotter it gets, the higher the chances of having a dead battery.
The same can be said for sub zero temperatures.
- Driving Habits: Short trips, excessive idling and stop-and-go driving will take a toll on your battery. It prevents it from charging, straining your battery and limiting its lifespan.
- Maintenance: Maintenance or a lack thereof can determine how long your battery lasts. Neglecting it for too long will cause corrosion, dirt and other issues that can shorten its life.
It’s also important to know your battery type as different batteries require different maintenance.
Signs of a Dying Battery
Starting a car to a dead battery is the last thing any car owner wants to hear. Luckily, there are plenty of signs that can help identify a dying battery. Here are common warnings signals to look out for:
- The “Check Engine” Light Is On: The check engine light is a telltale sign of an underlying issue, including a bad battery. Keep a look out for this signal and check your battery as soon as this indicator comes on.
- Dimming Lights: Dimming lights are usually caused by battery issues. Similar to that of a torchlight, the weaker the battery the dimmer the light. The root cause might be a charging problem or a lack of capacity.
- Corrosion: That white powdery residue on your battery is corrosion and it can reduce your battery’s efficiency. Although a small amount of this stuff is normal, excessive corrosion can interfere with your battery’s electrical conductivity.
- Slow Engine Turnover: The sound of a slow turnover is dreadful to say the least. Nonetheless, this is probably the best indicator of a dying battery. Keep in mind that an engine should kick into action the moment you turn the key.
Tips on Extending Battery Life
Now that’s out of the way, you’re probably wondering how to extend your battery life. The average lifespan is 3 to 5 years but it can extend to more with the right practices. Let’s take a look at some life extending battery tips:
- Regular Maintenance: Ensuring a well maintained battery comes down to one important step – regular maintenance! Inspect your battery regularly and look for signs of corrosion and dirt. Clean them accordingly and ensure the connections are tight and free from debris.
- Drive Smart: Stopping-and-going, short trips and idling are not smart ways to drive. They may not harm others but they do take a toll on your battery life. So remember to drive smart and plan ahead to avoid unnecessary stops.
- Monitor the Weather: We can’t control the weather but we can monitor it. Extreme weather can be harsh on your car battery and weather reports can help us avoid it. Park in the shade or use a sunshade to mitigate the heat and use a block heater in sub zero temperatures.
- Limit Electronic Use: Do you leave your aircon and radio running when the engine’s not on? Well don’t, because this might be draining your battery even more than idling. Long story short, turn everything off once you leave your car.
A car’s battery is just as important as any other component and it deserves proper attention. Understanding its lifespan is a good start as it can save you from the inconvenience of unexpected breakdowns.
So remember, a little care goes a long way and understanding your battery life can be the difference between being stranded and being home.