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When to Change Your Car Battery
It’s easy to take your car’s battery for granted... until you try to start it up on a cold winter evening and nothing happens. Most of the time, you won’t know that your battery needs to be replaced until it dies. Here are 4 signs that you should look into replacement.
You’ve moved from a warm climate to a very cold climate.
Car batteries come with a CCA (Cold Cranking Amperage) rating. The higher the rating, the more power is available to turn over your frozen flywheel. If you’re living in Los Angeles and relocate to Minnesota, you might have a problem.
A CCA of 600 or higher is recommended for locations with severe winter weather conditions. If your battery is rated lower, it might not be fit for those below-freezing Minnesota winters, and should be replaced before the weather gets cold.
Your battery shows symptoms of not holding a charge.
Sometimes you’ll get a few warning symptoms before your battery completely dies. A weak start is a sign that the battery isn’t transferring sufficient power to the solenoid switch.
When your battery is strong, you can usually get away with leaving a dome light on all night. If that oversight causes your battery to die, it might be time to think about a new one.
Before a battery is completely dead, it often needs to be jump-started, but can perform adequately for awhile afterwards. If you find yourself pulling the jumper cables out of the trunk every week or so, that means that your battery has lost its ability to hold a charge, and it’s probably time to replace it.
It’s the end of the warranty period on your new car.
New cars don’t always have the highest quality batteries installed in the factory. Though most batteries should last at least 4 years, you should start thinking about replacement once you hit the time period or mileage limit of the car’s warranty. If your original battery is one of the least expensive models, it may only be rated for 3 years.
You’ve been in a car accident
If you’ve been in a car accident, have your mechanic check your battery. The impact of the accident can crack the battery case, which may mean a dangerous chemical leak. If your battery wasn’t clamped down tightly enough when the accident occurred, your battery may have shifted during impact, which can cause damage.
If there’s any reason to think that your battery was damaged, it’s a good idea to replace it to avoid potentially dangerous problems.
Your car’s battery won’t last forever. If it’s approaching the time limit on its warranty, or showing signs of weakness, it’s best to replace it before you get stranded in a parking lot—in the middle of a blizzard.