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How Often to Replace a Car Battery

Car Battery


Your car battery is one of the most important parts of your Honda, and as such it’s important that you pay close attention to it. As time goes on, depending on a few factors, your battery will wear out and eventually need to be replaced so you can keep driving safely on the Oakland roads. Most experts have agreed that you’ll want to replace your car battery once every 4 to 5 years. However, your individual replacement time may be different depending on your driving habits or the conditions that you drive in. The service team at San Francisco Honda has put together a guide outlining the most important elements of car battery care, including how to know if your car battery needs to be replaced and how much replacements typically cost.



How to Know If Your Car Battery Needs to Be Replaced Soon

Keep an eye out for the following signs that indicate your battery is wearing out and will need to be replaced soon:

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

Causes of Car Battery Failure

  • Heat: Be aware that your car battery may deteriorate faster if you live in a hot climate, since hot weather causes the liquids inside the battery to evaporate.
  • Time: Even if you take great care of your battery, eventually it will wear down and need to be replaced. Proper care can extend its life greatly, however.
  • Vibrations: Vibrations can be caused by anything from rough terrain to driving over debris to loose battery hold-down clamps. Any of these factors can cause your car battery to wear out prematurely.
  • Needing a jump: Frequently jump-starting your car, from leaving your lights on overnight or leaving your engine idling for too long, can have a major effect on your battery life.

Although experts agree that 4-5 years is the average lifespan of a car battery, your owner’s manual will give you a more specific timeframe.

Guide on How to Test a Car Battery

If you want to test your car battery to see if it’s running properly, you can either have it checked during a twice-yearly maintenance visit at our Daly City-area service center, or you can DIY a test. There are a couple ways to do this:

The Headlight Test:

  1. Turn on the engine, keep the car 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. At this point, you’ll want to take your car in to have the battery inspected and potentially replaced by a professional.

Using a Digital Multimeter:

  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. A reading of 12.5 volts or higher at 80℉ means your battery is fully charged. 12.3 volts means it’s at about 75% charged. A reading of 11.8 volts or lower means you have 25% or less charge and should get the battery replaced as soon as possible.

How Much is a Replacement Car Battery?

Now that we’ve discussed the warning signs of a dying car battery and how to test it, it’s time to talk about cost. There are a few different benchmark numbers for the cost of a replacement car battery, depending on the kind of battery and the type of car you drive.

A standard replacement will cost between $75 and $120, while a premium battery will cost somewhere in the $200 range. If you drive a hybrid, expect to pay quite a bit more for a replacement battery – anywhere between $1,000 and $6,000 is not uncommon. However, you’re also saving a lot of money on gas, which offsets the battery cost a bit.

Update Your Vehicle’s Service Needs in San Francisco

Replacing your car battery at proper intervals is essential to keeping your vehicle in top condition on the Colma roads. If you have any questions or want more information, don’t hesitate to contact our office anytime. You can also bring your car by our service center near Daly City if you’d like it to be inspected in person. Don’t forget to check out our service specials if you’re looking to save on your next appointment!


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