Advance Essentials: Battery Basics

Automotive battery care: Here's why you should replace your car battery

Battery Introduction (Part 1)

If you perform basic car maintenance tasks like changing your own oil, then you're probably quite aware of how much you can save by doing it yourself. But, what about your car battery? You probably don't even think about it until it stops kicking in. The truth is, replacing your car battery before it fails will not only save you the cash, it may also alleviate hours and hours of wasted time and headaches. That's certainly worth thinking about.

As car batteries age, they build up high, internal electrical resistance, and that makes recharging more difficult. This results in your car alternator running longer and harder, reducing performance and gas mileage. When your old battery finally does decide to quit, we can just about guarantee that it won’t happen in the safe confines of an Advance Auto Parts store parking lot. Rather, you’ll wind up paying for a roadside jump or tow, as well as the local shop’s full retail price for a new battery. Plus, you’ll pay an added labor fee for the car battery replacement. (Note: Advance installs car batteries free.) In the end, you won’t save money by trying to squeeze the last trickle of life out of your old car battery.

Car Battery Life Facts

Here’s the bottom line on car batteries: They usually fail after about four years. There are several reasons why. First, the engine compartments in late-model vehicles are jam-packed with more accessories, so they run hotter than earlier models. And, high heat is the top battery killer. Second, late-model cars and trucks simply use more power, so car batteries get drained deeper and more often. The newer, larger alternators can recharge your car battery and provide enough power to run all of your accessories when you drive at highway speeds. But if you happen to run the A/C, heater, rear window defogger, sunroof, power windows, sound system, laptop or GPS in stop-and-go traffic, your truck or car alternator simply can’t keep up. The accessories draw power right out of the battery, causing a deep discharge. Add up the long-term effects of repeated deep discharging, longer charging times and higher under-hood temperatures, and it’s no surprise that you end up with a dead car battery.     


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