Car battery problems are some of the most common around. They are an essential part to almost every system in your car. As more and more car parts go electric batteries will be more and more important. In this section I will tell you all you need to know about car batteries and give you some tips on how to replace a battery.
Car batteries used in today's automobiles do NOT last forever. It is true that they last much longer than they used to and if the charging system works how it should they can last many years. In fact I have seen them last 5-10 years.
Most car battery problems happen because of old age, charging system failures and/or abuse (Lots of accessories on most of the time and adding aftermarket accessories like stereos, amps, etc).
You can expect your car battery to last 2-5 years on average depending on what the quality of the battery is. Read more about battery life here>>>
While many people think that changing a car battery is easy, it is probably more complex than they realize. Cars built before the mid 1990's were fairly simple to change the batteries in. It was a matter of just taking the old one out and putting the new one in. But with newer cars this is much more difficult.
The reason that it is so much more difficult is because newer cars rely so much on computers. The computers on cars are very sensitive, and many have what is called "keep alive memory". This is information about the car that the computer remembers even when the car is off (using battery power). This information includes things like the engine management parameters (There are many things about the way you drive that some computers remember, as well as simple things like fuel mixture...it is all remembered), driver presets, radio codes and presets, etc.
If you need to change a car battery the first thing to do is read your owners manual to see if your radio has a code and to see what cautions and warnings there are.
After you read the owners manual you should buy a "computer memory saver". You basically hook a small battery to your cables before you remove them and then you put the new one in, hook up the cables, then remove the memory saver. They also sell them that plug into your cigarette lighter and also the OBD port on your car. It is very important that you use this device if you are planning on replacing your car battery.
Car battery problems are not always easy to find. If you have a voltmeter (available at auto parts stores for under $20) then you can see what the voltage is but what many people do not realize is that a battery can seem to have plenty of voltage, but when it is under load (such as when you are trying to start your car) it can lose this voltage. It is VERY important if you suspect your battery to be bad to have it "load tested". This is a test that puts a load on the battery (similar to the load that is put on it when you are starting your car) and is way more reliable than any other testing method.
If you have car battery problems you should be able to change yours just fine if you follow my advice and your owners manual, but if you aren't too sure then just take it to your mechanic. A good one won't charge much to replace it and you will have the peace of mind knowing that it was done right.
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