How do I know if my car’s battery will make it through winter?
Whenever someone talks about a car, truck or SUV for sale or lease at Billion Auto Group, the engine gets a lot of attention. However, without a working electrical system, a modern engine isn’t much use. As the teeth of another winter begin to bear down on the Bozeman area, we get a lot of people coming into the Billion Auto Group Service Department asking, ‘How do I know if my car’s battery will make through winter?’ Well, like most things, the signs will be clear – if you know what to look for. The best advice we can give you is to keep up with scheduled maintenance appointments at a reputable repair center like ours. However, if you’ve been noticing some weird things happening, let’s see if we can guess what they are.
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Car battery basics
The average life cycle of a modern car battery is three to five years, depending on a few factors. If you’re working your vehicle hard, that time frame may shrink. However, if you’re just commuting and putting your vehicle through average use, the lifespan could stretch a bit.
There are two main causes for a battery that dies before it’s time. The first is exposure to extreme temperatures – especially cold weather. Only driving short distances is the other bad habit we get into that kills batteries. Regular drives under 20 minutes won’t allow the batter to fully recharge.
Signs of a failing car battery
- If your vehicle sounds like it’s struggling to start, this is usually the first sign something is going wrong. A starter motor is required to turn the engine over, and electricity from the battery is required to make all of that happen. If your battery isn’t making enough juice, nothing happens.
- Does your vehicle’s instrument panel look like a Christmas tree? Seeing a lot of warning indicators turned on at the same time could mean the battery is starting to go bad. It could also, be a few other things. But let’s start with the least scary option first.
- Car batteries use a chemical mixture to transfer electrons between its poles to move the electrical current. Sulfur is one of these chemicals and it has a very distinct rotten egg smell. If you’ve noticed a weird smell, your battery could be leaking,and this is not good.
- Are the lights in your car not as bright as they usually are? If the battery isn’t pumping out enough current, your lights won’t be able to illuminate as they should. This is a telltale sign of a failing battery.
Being stuck in a parking lot with a dead car battery is never fun. Stop by the Billion Auto Group Service Department today and we’ll test your battery and let you know if you need a new one.