Male mechanic changing car battery

How Often to Replace a Car Battery

Most experts recommend replacing your battery every four to five years, although the time varies on several factors. To explore the ins and outs of car batteries, Laurel-area drivers can make the short trip to our Billings service center.

How to Know If Your Car Battery Needs to Be Replaced

There are some common warning signs to watch out for, which includes:

  • Dimming headlights
  • Frequent need to rev the engine
  • Frequent need for jump starts
  • Taking longer to start the engine when you turn the key/push the button
  • Power fluctuations

There are also several things that can cause a battery to deteriorate faster than usual, so yours might need to be replaced sooner if subjected to:

  • Heat
  • Vibrations from covering rough roads
  • Jump starts

For the best idea of how long your car battery should last, simply check your owner’s manual or maintenance schedule.

How to Test a Car Battery

You can have your car battery properly tested at a local Big Timber area service center, but you can also carry out some tests yourself to check if the battery needs to be replaced.

The headlight test:

  • Turn on the engine, keep the vehicle in park, and turn on the headlights.
  • Rev the engine and check if the brightness of the headlights changes.
  • If headlights get brighter, the current is not strong enough to stay at a normal brightness while idling, so take your car to a service center for further assessment.

The Digital Multimeter test:

  1. Set your digital voltmeter to 20 DC volts.
  2. Touch the negative terminal (black) with the negative meter probe (also black). You’ll find it under the hood.
  3. Touch the positive terminal (red) with the positive meter probe (also red)
  4. Have someone else turn on the headlights and check the voltmeter reading.
  5. At 80°F, 12.5 volts or higher, your battery is fully charged. 12.3 volts means around 75% charged.11.8 volts or lower means 25% or less charge.

How Much is a Replacement Car Battery?

You’ll typically be looking at between $75 and $120, but a premium battery could cost up to $200. Hybrid batteries have much more responsibility, so they can cost anywhere between $1,000 and $6,000. That cost is offset by a hybrid vehicle’s lower fuel consumption.

Find Affordable Car Maintenance Around Livingston

You can check out service tips and service specials available from a service center such as what is a tire rotation, or you can go ahead and schedule a service appointment online. For any further help, simply contact us today.

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