Keeping up with your Car Battery: The risks, the signs and when you’ll need a new one!

Is your car’s engine turning over slower than usual? Are your dash lights flickering or dimming when you start your car? Have you noticed the lights in your car dimming when your engine is idling? These are all signs that your car battery may be reaching the end of its life. There are three main factors that influence the life of your battery: heat, vibration and time. While looking at each factor, consider if any or all of them have adversely affected the performance of your car’s battery.


Increased heat surrounding your car’s battery helps to facilitate the chemical reaction your battery uses to generate electricity, but it also speeds up the rate of battery degradation. Cars that are located in warmer climates typically need to have their batteries replaced a couple years sooner than cars that are located in cooler climates. However, the location of the car battery in the vehicle exposes it to extreme heat – regardless of the outside climate. Temperatures can easily grow to more than 200 degrees Fahrenheit under the hood of a vehicle, putting serious stress on your car’s battery. This is why it is important to try and keep your car parked in the shade on an especially hot day.


How secure is your car’s battery under the hood? Vibration caused by missing or loose hold downs under the hood can cause physical breakdowns of your battery’s internal parts. The more severe the vibration the more potentially harmful the damage to cell connectors and separators that keep the battery operating at peak efficiency. You’ll want to make sure that all cable connections to the battery are tightened and clean to prevent erosion caused by unchecked vibration.


Unfortunately, proper car and battery maintenance can’t keep your car’s battery running forever. Car batteries have a finite lifespan and even in great operating conditions it will still deteriorate gradually until it is no longer useful. The type of use your car is getting during this time can also have a significant impact. If you drive your car mostly on short trips you may not be allowing the battery to fully recharge. If you leave your car parked for a long period of time your battery will naturally self-discharge as well. If you start to see the performance of your car’s battery fade, and you haven’t replaced it in more than three years – it’s probably time for a new battery.


If you’re not sure if your car is in need of a new battery, or just have questions on proper car battery maintenance, please stop in to Xpress Lube Plus in Davenport and our expert technicians will get you taken care of!

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