Everything you need to know about your car battery

It’s important to have a healthy car battery. The purpose of a car battery is to power all the electrical systems in the vehicle, including the alternator which allows the engine to start up and then the alternator powers the rest of the vehicles electrical systems which in return charges the car battery. In this blog post we tell you all you need to know about your car’s battery, so you can do your best to ensure it is kept in good shape.

Most importantly, know the average lifespan of your car’s battery. This can vary due to exposure to extreme heat or cold but you should typically replace your car’s battery every three to five years. Find a few battery maintenance tips below:

How do you know if the battery needs to be replaced?

Generally, the first sign that your battery needs to be replaced is when you start your vehicle. The crank over will be slow and will take longer than usual to start the vehicle’s engine. This is an indication that the battery is weak and is not able to supply enough power to the vehicle’s starter.

Battery fluid is too low. The vehicle’s battery fluid should be at a certain level. Most batteries will have a mark on the side of the fluid tube to show the recommended amount of battery fluid. If it’s under the mark, then the battery has lost or used the fluid and the battery should be replaced.

A swollen or bloated battery indicates that it is not in healthy condition and could be dangerous because it could explode. This type of battery should be replaced as soon as possible. Generally this happens to car batteries that have been exposed to a lot of heat.

The “Check Engine” light may appear on the dashboard. Although the battery is not part of the engine, it may trigger the engine light if the battery is not in perfect working order. If the battery doesn’t supply enough power to the starter and alternator, the engine light might appear because the vehicle’s electronic systems will find a fault with the starter.

Lastly, the age of the battery can determine whether the battery needs to be replaced. Most batteries have an average lifetime of around three years, however some batteries can last as long as five or six years. Lucky this is easy to check – simply look for the production date on your battery.

Where can I get my battery checked and replaced?

Your vehicle’s service providers should be able to offer a free battery check-up. Typical car battery prices in South Africa range from R1000-R2000 depending on the brand and size of the battery.
Make sure you’re covered with unexpected vehicle maintenance costs, with a MotorHappy Maintenance Plan. Our plans help ensure you can spend less time worrying about the health of your car and more time enjoying your car!

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