How Often to Replace a Car Battery

Male mechanic changing car battery

The majority of experts agree that you should replace your battery every 4-5 years, although there are extenuating circumstances that can alter that timeline. Learn more about what can impact the lifespan of a car battery, and signs you’re going to be in need of a new battery, with the experienced service technicians at Mercedes-Benz of Louisville.

How to Know If Your Car Battery Needs to Be Replaced

There are a few signs you can keep an eye out for that point to your battery reaching the end of its life, such as:

  • Dimming headlights
  • Unusual power fluctuations
  • More frequent need for engine revving or jump starts
  • Takes longer to start the engine when you turn the key/push the button

Common Causes for Car Battery Deterioration

  • Heat: If you live in a hot climate, temperatures can cause the evaporation of liquids inside a car battery, which means your battery life will be inevitably shorter.
  • Time: A car battery can only go through so many charge cycles, so the death of your car battery is unavoidable, but proper care can prevent the battery from dying on you early.
  • Vibrations: If drive over rough roads frequently, vibrations can cause your battery’s hold-down clamps to loosen, or your internal battery parts to break down faster.
  • Needing a Jump: If your battery is repeatedly drained and requires jumping this can shorten battery life significantly.

For the best idea of how long your car battery should last with proper care, consult your owner’s manual or maintenance schedule.

How to Test a Car Battery at Home

While we can test your battery during your next service appointment, you can also test it at home if you suspect something is off.

Digital Multimeter Test:

  1. Set the voltmeter to 20 DC volts.
  2. Under the hood, touch the negative terminal (black) with the negative meter probe (also black).
  3. Touch the positive terminal (red) with the positive meter probe (also red)
  4. Have a friend turn on the headlights and check the voltmeter reading.
  5. At 80 °F, a reading of 12.5 volts or higher means your battery is fully charged. 12.3 volts means it’s at about 75% charged. 11.8 volts or lower means you have a 25% or less charge.

Headlight Test: 

  1. Start your vehicle, keep it in park, and make sure the headlights are on.
  2. Rev the engine and see if the headlight brightness changes.
  3. If the headlights get brighter, that means the current is not strong enough to keep the lights at normal brightness while the car is idling.
  4. Take your car to our Louisville service center for further assessment.

How Much is a Replacement Car Battery?

Car batteries range between $75 and $120 for most vehicles. If you have a premium battery, costs could exceed $200. Hybrid car batteries have a much bigger job, which means they’re much more expensive, and can cost anywhere between $1,000 and $6,000. While this may seem extreme, their pricier batteries are offset by lower fuel consumption.

Maintain Your Mercedes-Benz Vehicle at Mercedes-Benz of Louisville

If you need your battery checked, feel free to stop by for Express Service, no appointment needed. If you want to replace your battery yourself, you can visit our parts center or order a replacement online. We can also answer your service-related questions like how often to rotate tires to help your extend your tire life!, or how to check brake fluid.

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Mercedes-Benz of Louisville 38.2511684, -85.6415362.