A vehicle battery can help get you where you need to go, or it can leave you stranded on the side of the road, making it important to know when to change your battery. Fortunately, there are specific warning signs to look for, before a battery fails. These include dimming headlights, clicking sounds during ignition and battery age.
If your headlights are dimming, it can mean a number of different things, including that your battery is failing. The dimming can be while the vehicle is in motion, or there can be irregularities in brightness, when you try to turn your lights on. If you notice dimming, it’s time to take your vehicle in for service. Technicians can test your battery to find the root cause of your problems. It maybe your battery, or you may have a problem with another part, such as your alternator.
Trouble starting your vehicle, combined with strange clicking noises, is indicative of a failing battery. Your vehicle may or may not start, if this condition exists. The clicking sound will be loud and unusual, so it’s hard to mistake whether this warning sign is present. Do not be overly alarmed, though. Your vehicle is due for service, and your battery is the likely culprit. Your vehicle may not stay on the road long if this warning sign is present, so consider having your vehicle towed or having your battery replaced where your vehicle is stationed.
Batteries should be changed every two to three years, depending on the climate you live in, your vehicle and how often you use your car or truck. There is no definite time period that indicates your battery needs replacement, but age is a sign it’s time to get service. If you’re unsure, you can have car technicians check your battery when you’re getting your oil changed or having other service performed. A battery check is typically part of the basic service package at most automotive shops, so you won’t have to pay extra for it.
Although it’s hard to know exactly when to change your battery, there are indications it's time. Look for these early warning signs that your battery is on its last legs, to avoid any major disruptions in your life.