Problems with Your Car Battery? | Scott's Fort Collins Auto

Problems with Your Car Battery?

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A woman on a cell phone sitting in a white car that is stuck on the side of the road with a dead battery. The front hood is up on the car.

Just like other parts on your car, your car battery won’t last forever. It can lose its charge over time, especially throughout the cold seasons or periods of disuse. A car battery is rechargeable, so it can be used many times after it seems to have problems. However, there will come a point where your car battery should be replaced. Find out what your car battery does and how to prevent problems with it!


What Does Your Car Battery Do?

Have you ever gone to start your car and it simply makes a strange sound without starting? The strange sound indicates that the battery is dead or doesn’t have enough charge to start the car. The car battery is an essential car part that you need if you want your car to run. Many of the parts of a car require power to make them run, and that power has to come from some sort of voltage. That voltage is stored in your car’s battery, which will be found next to your car’s engine under the front hood.


The car battery is a large rectangular box that provides the electrical current your car needs to initially get the engine going. You need that car battery to give the initial starting power, but after that happens, your car’s alternator takes over. The alternator is a part of the engine that takes over the electrical system while your car is running. It controls the power flowing throughout your car and it helps charge the battery while in use. That charge will later help the battery to start your car the next time you use it.


Close-up view of a dashboard that has the battery icon lit up.

Frequently Asked Questions

There are many questions drivers have about their car batteries. Some of those include:

  • How do I know when to replace my battery? You should look for warning signs that it is starting to die. Your car will take longer to start and may make a “rur rur rur” sound. If you have a newer battery, you may need to let the battery charge more. Some batteries will give off a sulfur scent when they are old and others may look bloated, suggesting a replacement is needed. If none of these factors happen, check your battery’s fluid levels or have an auto shop check the levels for you.
  • Does idling the car hurt the battery? It may not hurt the battery, but it can deplete it quicker. When you play music or have accessories plugged into your car, they use up some of the car’s battery power. If you know you’re going to be sitting or waiting in your car for awhile, consider rolling down the windows and turning the car off instead of idling it.
  • What if I wait to get the battery replaced? When you know your battery is getting low, you can hurt other car parts by not having it replaced. Cranking your starter longer than normal can cause other parts to break down from trying to draw extra voltage from other car parts.


What If Your Car Battery Quits?

No matter what kind of car battery you have, you will eventually need a replacement. The average car battery lasts anywhere between 2 and 6 years. The longer you’ve had the battery, the less reliable it becomes. This is especially true if you are at the 5-year mark. You should never wait for your car battery to die on you to finally get a replacement. You should plan ahead and get it replaced when the average time period for it nears its end. However, if you live in colder climates, you may actually have your battery last longer than normal, or the maximum 6 years. This is because hot temperatures and excessive humidity are the factors that lead to battery water loss and sulfating.


Always plan ahead for car emergencies and keep a battery kit in your car for jumping it. Jumper cables are great to leave in the car year-round. However, you might want to invest in a one-person battery jumper (“portable battery booster”) just in case your car quits in an area where no one else is around. If not, call us to get help with a jump or tow.


A close-up view of a person putting jumper cables on their car battery to get it charged.

Facts You May Not Know

  • You might be shortening the life of your battery if you frequently make short trips that are 20 minutes or less. This is because the battery doesn’t have enough time to get sufficiently charged.
  • Weather conditions and how well you take care of your car can determine how long your battery will work correctly.
  • The everyday auto shop may not check your car battery during maintenance. Make sure you ask for this check.
  • You can know how old your battery is by looking at its tracking code, which usually starts with a letter or a number. If it starts with a letter such as A, that means it was made in January. B will be February, C will be March and so on down the line, and the letter will be followed by the year made. Some codes will only use numbers, while others will have a letter and number.


Professional Car Help

You never want to take a chance on your car dying, especially if you are traveling or have to rely on your car for work or school. When your battery dies, you won’t be able to go far. At Scott’s Fort Collins Auto & Repair, you can have your battery tested for free anytime. Just swing by and let us ensure your travel comfort and safety. We are available to help with faulty batteries, old batteries, questions about your car battery and more! Call Scott’s Fort Collins Auto today at (970) 682-4202 for all your car battery needs!

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