Car Battery Checks And Replacement At Elite Garages

Several factors can affect how long a car battery lasts, including the condition of the battery and the weather. Under ideal conditions, the typical lifespan of a car battery is 3-5 years. Driving in extreme conditions whether it’s hot or cold will reduce the lifespan regardless of battery type. In this guide, we share some valuable advice on how to care for your battery and some of the signs you may need a new battery.

How Does A Car Battery Work?

Your battery is one of the most important parts of your car as you can’t start the car without it. When turning your key in the ignition, it sends a signal to the battery that triggers a chemical reaction inside the electronic black box. This reaction converts into electrical energy that activates the starter motor which, in turn, cranks the engine. If your battery is flat or dying, your engine won’t have the power to start the car and your lights might flicker.

What Charges Car Batteries?

Most cars have an alternator that charges the battery while the engine is running. While most modern cars have an alternator, some older ones may still have a generator. The main difference is that an alternator can charge a battery at a lower RPM compared to a generator. Remember, the higher the engine RPM, the faster the battery charges. This means travelling on the motorway will charge your battery faster than driving shorter distances and stop-start city traffic.

What Is The Voltage Of A Healthy Car Battery?

When a battery is healthy, using a multimeter, it should show nothing lower than 12.6V when the engine is off (resting battery). This can fluctuate between 13.8V and 14.4V when the engine is running. If the reading on a resting battery is lower than 12.6V, your battery could be partly depleted. When it is below 12V, your car battery is considered completely discharged. 

If the battery is depleted or discharged, you should get it charged as soon as possible and test it once more. In the event of a failing battery, the problems will persist and it’s time to buy a new car battery. If you have any doubts about your battery, visit your nearest Elite Garages for a free battery check.

Signs My Battery Is Failing

Batteries are the heart and soul of every car, providing the power that keeps the engine running. As much as we’d love them to last forever, they have a limited lifespan and you might need a replacement at some point. It’s important to know when your battery might be losing charge and here are the most common signs:

  • The battery warning light appears on your dashboard 
  • If you struggle to start your engine, especially on warmer days
  • A rotten egg smell when opening the hood could be a sign that your car battery is leaking 
  • A white, ashy substance on the metal parts of your battery indicates a corrosion issue
  • Temperature fluctuations can cause your battery to lose shape. If your battery is not perfectly rectangular, it’s likely not working properly

How To Check The Strength Of My Car Battery?

Can you start your car but the electronics and features seem to struggle? This could be another tell-tale sign you may need a new battery. To determine the strength of your battery, start your car, turn on your headlights and check the quality of your beams. If they are overly dim, it’s likely that your battery needs replacing.

What Causes A Battery To Die Prematurely?

A vehicle’s battery reuses energy created from your car to remain charged. If your car is not in use for long periods, there is an increased risk of draining the battery. Also, when you only drive short distances, the battery won’t have enough time to recharge as it puts additional strain on the system. While most new cars will automatically switch off your lights, others don’t which is a leading cause of a flat battery. So, to avoid being stranded, make sure you turn off your lights and regularly take your car for a good 20-30 minute drive to ensure it gets charged. 

How Long Can I Leave My Battery Unused?

Generally, your car battery should still work after being left unused for 1-2 months. Thereafter, it could be worn out and may need recharging before it can start your car again. Of course, if the battery is particularly old and left in cold conditions, this time will be considerably shorter.

What Is The Lifespan Of Electric Car Batteries?

As good as electric car batteries are, they will also eventually deteriorate and need replacing. Several factors decrease the lifespan such as exposure to hot conditions and the excessive use of fast chargers. However, electric vehicle manufacturers have been improving battery technology to ensure they can handle all eventualities. Today, most electric vehicles will have a battery that can last for 100,000 miles or more. For more accurate details of your EV battery, consult your vehicle owner’s guide or contact your vehicle manufacturer.

How Much Do Car Batteries Cost?

The cost of your battery depends on the year your vehicle was manufactured, the model type and who you decide to buy it from. At Elite Garages, we offer a wide range of car batteries at very reasonable prices with fitment included*.

  • Battery Fitment from £24.99

* Prices are accurate at the time of writing and may be subject to change without prior notice.

Where To Buy A New Car Battery?

For expert advice on how to look after your car battery and avoid inconvenient and expensive problems, get in touch for additional info. If you want to buy a new battery for your car, simply contact your nearest Elite Garages as our professional, friendly staff are there to assist in any way they can. To make sure you don’t get stranded with a flat battery, book a free battery check today. When we test a battery, we will test its running voltage as well as test that the alternator is charging the battery efficiently.