What you need to know about your car battery

Modern car batteries are relatively maintenance-free but there are still some important need-to-know facts about them that can save you money, time and hassle.

Jeff Osborne, Head of Automotive for Gumtree SA, has the answers for all the FAQs concerning car batteries.


Q: How long does a car battery last?

A: The average car battery lasts between five and seven years. High-quality batteries are proven to last longer and could save you money in the long-term.


Q: How often should I refill the water in my battery?

A: You should check it at least once a month, unless your battery is maintenance-free. If your battery is sealed, it is maintenance-free and you do not need to refill it with water. Be sure to only use distilled water when refilling your battery water.


Q: What are the warning signs that my battery might have a problem?

A: The engine doesn’t start at all. Starting the motor is difficult or sounds sluggish. The battery light on the dashboard is on. The battery seems to lose power when cold. Your headlights dim when the car is idle.


Q: How can I extend my battery life?

A: Check your battery regularly to make sure the terminals are clean, tightly secured and free of corrosion. Corrosion and leaks can interfere with performance. And ensure the hold-down bar, which secures the battery in place, is fitted correctly as this minimises damage caused by vibration.


Q: What should I do if my battery dies?

A: If your battery is flat you can use jump leads to get the car going but that is only a quick fix. You should charge the battery properly with a portable battery charger. And visit your nearest battery centre to check that it is charging properly.

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