Is It Time To Replace Your Car Battery? 7 Warning Signs To Watch Out For


Jade Poole from I Write Words


Don’t get stuck in a car that won’t start, know what to look out for to replace your car battery before it actually dies.

Many of us have been in that dreaded situation…

You’re running late for a meeting or to fetch the kids from school, you get in your car, turn the key and nothing. You try again. And it’s the same result.

Your battery has died.


You then get out your phone, call a friend or a mechanic nearby for help.

The best idea is to avoid this situation entirely with this expert guide on knowing when it’s time to replace your car battery.

How long does the typical car battery last?

Most car batteries will come with a 2 or 3-year warranty. This is normally how long your battery will last for.

Make sure you get your car battery checked when you service your car. Have a look at our awesome guide on the 5 signs indicating your car needs a service.

Think about your climate

Did you know that extreme temperatures impact the life of your battery?

Extreme hot or cold weather can lead to a shortened battery life.

Hot Climates

If you live in a very hot climate (which is quite typical for a South African summer’s day - am I right?), then your battery runs the risk of dehydration.

Just like the human body needs water to function properly, so do batteries.

Hot weather can lead to the evaporation of water in your battery acid, this results in decreased performance and speeds up corrosion.

Corrosion is one of the most common causes of battery malfunctions.

Cold Climates

When the weather is cold, then your car battery has to work harder to create enough energy to run your car smoothly.

Cold weather can also lead to thicker engine oil - this will put additional strain on the battery.

If you live in a particularly cold or hot climate, then you might want to consider replacing your battery before its 2-year mark.

Pop into your local mechanic or battery centre and have them check your battery. A mechanic will be able to tell you whether or not your battery is on its way out.

How does a car battery work?

When you start your car, your battery is the engine component doing a lot of the work.

Starting your car’s ignition will send a signal to the battery. This will cause a chemical reaction inside the battery’s box.

This reaction will turn into electrical energy to get the starter motor running and the engine cranking.

If your battery is dead, then the lights might flicker but the car’s engine will not have enough power or energy to turn over.

7 common warning signs you need a new car battery

1. A slow start

Over time, the various components inside the battery box will start to wear down.

When this occurs, then your car’s battery will take longer to generate a charge for the starter motor - meaning you have to wait a few extra seconds for the engine to turn over.

If your engine is slow to start, then this is a clear indication of poor battery health.

2. Electrical problems and dim lights

Your car battery will power all the electronics in the vehicle. If it is losing its charge, then it will struggle to keep these things at full power.

3. Check engine light

If your battery is on its last leg, then you may have noticed an illuminated ‘check engine light’ on your dashboard. Don’t ignore this, get it checked.

4. Something smells bad (like rotten eggs bad)

If there is damage to the battery or an issue such as an internal short then this can cause then a gas leakage from the battery. This leakage gives off a rotten eggs kind of smell.

5. Marks of corrosion

When you pop open your bonnet, do you notice any ashy, white substance on the metal areas of the battery? This is an issue with corrosion which can lead to voltage problems.

6. A bloated or misshaped battery box

The case that your battery comes in should not be anything but rectangular. If you notice any swelling or cracks, then you need to get your battery checked.

7. Your battery is older than 3 years old

How long have you had your battery? When was the last time you got it checked?

Depending on your climate, electronic demands (the more things you plug into your car, the more power is required from your battery) and your driving habits will play a role in how long your battery lasts. Which is why you should get your battery checked if it is nearing the 2 or 3-year mark.

Make sure you are covered

You can’t predict when things go wrong, but you can be covered for when they do. Which is why you should make sure you are covered with comprehensive car insurance from Oneplan.

Our car insurance also includes R2500 towing costs for when your car breaks down.

Yours in uncomplicated car insurance,


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