Car Batteries. When to Change Them?

by | Feb 24, 2015 | Auto Questions, Preventative Maintenance

With the cold temperatures we have been having lately,  a lot of people worry that they will wake up in the morning, and their car won’t start. The good news is that automotive technology has come a long way, and cars are a lot more reliable. We used to have cars lined up for battery service on cold days when the temperatures dropped to the single digits, but that’s just not the case anymore. People are hopping into their cars, turning the key, and the cars are starting… even if they are a little hesitant at first.

But… if you are really worried about your car starting, you can always bring your car in for a battery check. The important thing to know is that if you are getting regular preventive maintenance service with us it’s probably not needed. At every preventive service from the smallest to the largest we check your battery, on larger services (15k and larger) we perform more comprehensive battery charging and starter tests. If your car battery fails any of the tests, we recommend a new battery.
Notably, we often find ourselves in a difficult situation. We want you to get as much life out of your battery as possible, but we also don’t want it to fail and leave you stranded! Unfortunately, there is no definitive way of knowing how much life is left in your battery. Some batteries last longer than you would think is possible (i.e. 6 to 7 years) while others fail after only two years.

Some of the tests we use on batteries can point to a future problem. When this happens, we let you know that your battery is marginal and that it’s the best time to change your battery. We also suggest that if your battery is over four years old, even if it passes all our tests, for your peace of mind it is wise to change your battery.

Changing the battery before it goes bad has another positive effect. A weak or marginal battery can cause your alternator (the generator that replenishes the battery) to work harder. When your alternator works harder it gets hotter and this can lead to a shorter life expectancy. Alternators cost up to $400, even more for some imports, so it pays to have a good battery, and not put any extra strain on your alternator causing it to fail early.

We always recommend good quality batteries. We believe that AC Delco has the best quality batteries. They cost a little more, but they last the longest. AC Delco batteries are installed in Honda and GM cars at the factory. We keep a complete range of AC Delco batteries on hand. They come with a 2 year direct replacement warranty.

So, when to change your battery? There is no hard and fast rule, but our tests help us to advise you when to change yours – before it leaves you stranded at the roadside!


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About the Author

About Brian England

Brian England, the current president of BA Auto Care (formerly British American Auto Care), got his start with an auto apprenticeship in a small town in northwest of London. He came to the U.S. in 1972 to work for a Land Rover dealer in Rockville, MD. A few years later, he started British American Auto Care with his wife, Jennifer. Brian is a big believe in preventative maintenance, and his philosophy is to encourage and educate drivers on the benefits of a regular maintenance plan.