[Philkotse guide] How often should I replace my car battery?

Updated Oct 19, 2020 | Same topic: Handy Maintenance Tips

Here’s a handy guide to determine the right time to replace your car battery, and some other related facts you need to know.

A car’s battery is obviously one of its most vital parts. It is responsible for managing a wide range of devices and tasks – from bringing life to the car's mill to powering the on-board computer.

Meeting general service schedules, replacing filters, and changing motor oil is essential for the overall health of the car. But proper maintenance of the car battery shouldn’t be forgotten because it is one of the most effective ways of ensuring that your vehicle will run smoothly. It will also save you from any inconveniences brought by a failing car battery.

Take note that damaged or flat batteries are the main reasons for roadside assistance calls.  Most breakdowns happen because batteries are too old and are ineffective. This article from Philkotse.com will be your guide on determining the right time to replace your battery -- along with some facts you need to know.

1. Batteries can wear down in as early as three years

Typically, the life expectancy of batteries is five years or more if it is properly maintained. However, some batteries become inefficient and wear down in as little as three years because of everyday use in normal conditions.

It is similar to our computer and phone batteries that become inefficient every time we charge it. Car batteries eventually deteriorate with every charge from the engine. Usually, it's time to replace your old car battery after three years of everyday use.

Car batteries that are four or five years old can become completely unreliable. If you are still driving your car with old batteries, chances are you will face different reliability and safety issues. Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to determine if the battery of your vehicle already needs to be replaced.

Car battery

Some batteries become inefficient and worn down in as little as three years

>>> Read more: How Long Do Car Batteries Last: The Numbers and The Factors.

2. Check if the electrical system of the car still responds as it should

Even if your car's battery is highly defective, it will still function if the car is running. This is because the engine is the primary source of the battery’s charge. That being said, the best time to test the battery of your vehicle is after you turn on the car.

Remember that even if your car has a failing battery, it can still start quickly. But car features that need significant power from the battery such as headlights will not function as they should.

Check the car’s headlights shortly after you turn the engine. It’s preferable to do this during the night. Inspect if they are dim. If yes, place the car in neutral or park then rev the engine. You will know if you have a failing battery if the headlights will turn bright when you apply the gas.

It's easier to spot a wholly damaged battery. If you switch or push the ignition, and the car fails to start at all -- a clear indication that you need a battery replacement as soon as possible.

car with turned on headlight

Check the car’s headlights shortly after you turn the engine

>>> Also read: What if the battery warning light is on?

3. Modern cars will give more strain to the car’s battery

Modern vehicles have a more sophisticated on-board computer.  It means it will provide more stress to the battery. Newer vehicles have powerful computers which operate all the time. Some even work even if the car is already switched off or parked.

These modern car computers draw energy from the battery at a steady and slow rate which causes it to drain over time. If you own a modern vehicle and you drive it infrequently, you can avoid these on-board computers from draining the battery by taking a short drive. It will recharge the car's battery -- so you must do it every one or two weeks.

Modern car

Modern vehicles have a more sophisticated on-board computer

>>> You might concern: Car battery - What you should know before making a purchase.

4. Avoid breakdowns by frequently checking the car battery

Every time you have your vehicle routinely checked, always ask the mechanic to check your car batteries as well. Take note that battery wear is not predictable. It can go from 90 percent performance to 20 percent in just a span of a few months.

It's relatively easy to test a car battery. You can visit a reputable repair shop or garage, and they will perform the test for you. These tests can tell if the battery needs replacement and will help you avoid embarrassing and frustrating breakdowns.

If you haven’t replaced your car batteries for 2 or 3 years and it starts to show signs of wear, avoid taking any risks. It’s inexpensive to replace the battery of your vehicle. Spending a little money for a replacement will be worth it to prevent the occurrences of a roadside breakdown.

Checking the car battery

Take note that battery wear is not predictable

>>> Check out: Handy tips on how to charge and maintain car battery properly.

5. Proper battery maintenance is the key to prolong its lifespan

Most of us are aware that aggressive driving will quickly wear down the brakes and tires. The same can happen to the battery if you drive without considering it. It will lead to a shortened battery lifespan. Taking good care of the battery and making sure it is maintained properly will give you more life out of the usual.

Jump starting a car battery

Taking good care of the battery and making sure it is maintained properly will give you more life out of the usual

If you want to prolong the lifespan of your car battery, we prepared some useful tips below:

  • Have your car serviced frequently to avoid inefficient car components and engine from straining your car battery;
  • Avoid leaving the air-conditioning system and car lights on when the engine is switched off because it will drain the battery;
  • Use the car more frequently or at least once a week to avoid draining the battery;
  • If you drive on a bumpy road or you go off-road, inspect the battery because the impact might have loosened its connections;
  • Ensure that the battery casing and terminals are clean and free of dust, grit, and dirt;
  • Have your battery inspected by a professional mechanic as soon as it shows signs of failing;
  • Do not hesitate to replace the car battery if it starts to be less efficient.
Hanna Sanchez

Hanna Sanchez


Hanna is one of the most competitive swimmers in the country during her day. It was not long before she discovered her passion for the automotive industry as well. Nowadays, she balances her passion through writing as well as coaching.

View more