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Ask the mechanic: how can i tell when my car battery is on the out?

The battery is one of the most important components of your car – after all, you won’t be able to drive anywhere without it! More than this, however, having an unhealthy car battery can negatively impact on other elements of your car, which is why it's important to look for warning signs before it completely packs it in. The average car battery has a lifespan of 2-3 years, and most mechanics recommend that you replace it somewhere in between then. If you’re unsure of whether your battery needs replacing, here we look at a few signs that might it’s on the brink.

Turn the key, nothing happens

Your battery is the life of your car, so if you turn the key and nothing happens – no lights, no cranker – then you can be pretty sure it’s time for a new one.

Your engine cranks, but the car won’t start

A car that won’t start is a good indicator you might be having battery problems, although this can often be mistakenly chalked up to an alternator or bad starter problem. To deduce what is causing the problem, use jumper leads to get your car started and let it run for at least 30 minutes. If the problem was the battery, you be able to start your car up again easily after letting it sit for a minute. Don’t mistake this for a permanent fix, however! Use the extra battery life to drive to your mechanic and talk about replacing it.

Works fine one minute, nothing the next

If your car is being inconsistent, then it’s probably what’s called an ‘intermittent’ problem, with your battery terminals being loose, broken or eroded. If you suspect this is the problem, you can have a look at your battery cables for signs of wear and tear, and if necessary, replace them.

Not sure? Trust an expert

If you’re unsure about how to spot signs of an ‘intermittent’ problem, or need some help in replacing your car battery or cables, you can visit Reliance Auto Centre, your local mechanic and car repairer in Sydney.

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