All car owners know that an essential part of owning a car is keeping on top of maintenance. This will usually include making sure your coolant level is topped up, checking and changing your engine oil and keeping an eye on your brakes. But did you know that your car has a battery that needs to be looked after too?
Below, we’re going to take a quick look at what a car battery does, when it needs replacing and how you should do this. You can also read how to increase the lifespan of your car battery.
What Does a Car Battery Do?
The main purpose of a car battery is to start the car when you turn the key or press the start button. This is something you’ll want to happen every time you attempt it, which makes having a battery that is in good shape a must.
Your car battery will run all of the electronics and technology inside your car. Depending on how new your car is, you might find you have more electronics to keep running than you originally thought.
Headlights, indicators and wipers are all pretty obvious, but other features such as a reversing camera, stereo system and satellite navigation can all drain the battery.
How To Identify a Worn Car Battery
The worst way you’ll find out you need a car battery replacement is if your car won’t start up when you turn the key, which can be the result of a damaged or drained battery.
Other ways to tell if you have a worn car battery are failing electronics, dim headlights or even physical damage to the battery itself.
You can also monitor the health of your battery by using a multimeter to check its voltage. A car battery in good health should measure 12.6 volts or higher when the car isn’t running, and between 13.7 volts and 14.7 volts when running.
When Does a Car Battery Need Replacing?
Not every battery will need replacing straight away. You might find that your battery has slowly run out of charge rather than broken. If you think this might be the case, there are some things you can try out before seeking a replacement.
Instead of a car battery replacement, you can try to charge your car battery yourself at home. To do this, you’ll need an inexpensive car battery charger and a comprehensive guide to follow.
If you need to get going in a hurry and have another running car nearby, jump-starting your car will have you back on the road in no time. You’ll also want to go on a short journey in your car to charge up your battery as much as possible for the next time you need to use it.
Can I Replace a Car Battery Myself?
It is entirely possible to replace your car battery yourself, however, this should only be attempted if you know how to safely do so. Doing this yourself will lower the car battery replacement cost and is a handy skill to learn.
If you aren’t sure how to do this, we would always recommend seeking the help of a trained mechanic. Prices will vary depending on where you live, but it is generally an inexpensive job.