The typical battery found in vehicles manufactured after 1952 is a plastic cube containing sulfuric acid and lead, with two outgoing terminals on the top or the side. That is what you will find in most cars on the road today, unless you drive a hybrid or electric car. So now that you know what your battery is, do you know how to take care of it?
The batteries normally have a maximum lifespan of two to three years, although manufacturers say they are good for five years or more. If someone sells you a “long life” battery, make sure to keep your receipt and a copy of the warranty. Especially if your battery will be called upon often or in difficult conditions like in winter. In that case, it probably will not last as long.
And in any case, you should replace your battery every two or three years, before you have problems.
Your battery needs special help to do its job, that is to say to start your car: it needs the help of your alternator, starter, solenoid, terminals (which must be clean and free of corrosion), and its own cable (which must be intact). So be sure that all these components are also in good shape.
An old battery, even if it does not show obvious signs of being old, can affect your vehicle negatively. And not just the battery itself but other systems that rely on the battery to function properly. If these systems are powered by a weak battery, there is a risk that they could be damaged over time.
So how do you know if your battery needs to be replaced? You can generally tell by looking at the battery (signs of corrosion or leaking around the terminals) although you will also obviously notice that you have trouble starting your vehicle in the morning.
Ultimately, the key thing to remember here is that you should not neglect your battery.
Thank you to Bruce Ford for their help with this article.