A failed car battery can create many unwanted situations. While maintenance can definitely help in ensuring that it does not happen frequently but, in some cases, it is simply time to replace the battery itself. This leads us to the question that how often should one replace their car battery? We at BPZ understand the significance of this question and today we will shed some light on this matter.
A battery over the course of time, whilst being subject to numerous charging and discharging cycles. Under charging and over charging can cause the battery to fail. On average, a battery can last around 2-3 years with normal usage and regular maintenance. To maximize life on one’s battery, it is recommended that one performs frequent checks of the battery as well as the vehicles charging system.
This could include checking:
- Charging voltage of the vehicle’s alternator. Ideally this should be 13.8 to 14.3 volts (with headlights and air conditioner on)
- Voltage level of the battery – known as (OCV) open circuit voltage (with no charging taking place) – 12.6 to 12.75 volts
- Check the electrolyte levels of the battery if not maintenance free
- Ensure that the battery bracket is secure.
- Ensure there is no corrosion on the battery terminals. If this is the case clean with a solution of bicarbonate of soda and warm water. NEVER use Vaseline or grease on the terminals
- It is advisable to give the battery an occasional recondition charge (even if the vehicle is used every day) – Ctek battery chargers are strongly recommended
- If a vehicle is not being used daily, then point (6) above is very important. Alternatively, the best option is to leave the battery permanently attached to an intelligent charger. This charger must have a “FLOAT MODE. Float mode will not overcharge the battery and the battery need not be removed from the vehicle. Ctek battery chargers are strongly recommended.
When a battery begins to fail, there are certain signs that a battery may start to display:
- The engine may begin to drag when starting
- The engine may start one day then not the next.
- There may be a strong “rotten egg” Sulphur smell
- The car's headlights become unusually dim and may gradually get brighter as you rev the engine. (this could also indicate an alternator problem)
As batteries are an expensive commodity today, it is a good investment to apply the checks to one’s battery as has been highlighted above.
Furthermore should one have any doubts at to the stability of one’s battery, it is worthwhile to get a professional test by means of an electronic battery tester or a carbon pile load tester and from a reputable service provider