All modern cars use a 12-volt battery, regardless of what powers the vehicle. The battery provides some electrical resources to our cars. Their primary one is to help crank a petrol or diesel engine. They also get used to power ancillary items like the stereo system, air conditioning, and windscreen wipers.

While the engine is running, it’s the job of the alternator to charge the battery back to a state where it was before the engine gets started.

The trouble is; some people think the alternator’s job is to recharge the battery until it reaches capacity.

Car Battery

As with most parts, batteries only have a limited lifespan.

Mechanics tell us we should have our batteries changed when they are around five years old. That’s because they might start to lose the ability to store a decent charge.

Does your car seem to have electrical gremlins? If so, did you know that your battery might be at fault? Of course, that isn’t always the case. That’s why today’s handy guide will show you how to determine if you need a new battery or not. Here is what you need to know:

Can your battery take a full charge?

One of the best ways to rule out if your battery is dying or not is to give it a full charge. To facilitate that task, you’ll need to get a battery charger such as the Optimate 3. Ideally, you should remove the battery from the car and attempt a trickle charge from it indoors.

Depending on the size of your battery and its state of charge, this shouldn’t take longer than 24 hours. Intelligent chargers will tell you whether your battery can accept a full charge or not. If it can’t, it’s time to go battery shopping!

Have you checked the battery connections?

Plenty of car batteries get misdiagnosed as faulty because people fail to check the connections to them are good.

Start by removing the negative lead, and then the positive one from your car’s battery. You should then clean up any oil and grime deposits around the posts (i.e. the parts where the connectors get clamped). Next, use a wire brush on the posts and your clamps, following by a quick clean with an air duster.

Reconnect the leads in reverse order (i.e. positive first and then negative). If your car no longer exhibits any electrical problems, you’ve found the cause of your problems!

Does your battery look faulty?

Sometimes batteries can show signs of faults. The obvious ones are where battery acid leaks out of the casing. You’ll see some white corrosion deposits on the exterior. Another clue is if the battery has swollen up.

If you spot either of those signs, get your battery replaced immediately. Although rare, it’s not uncommon for batteries in such conditions to explode!

Are you using the right battery?

Have you recently bought your car? If so, the previous owner might have stuck on the wrong size battery for your car. If that’s the case, an underpowered battery will have trouble starting an engine.

Check with your car’s manufacturer to find out what size is needed for your pride and joy. If you’ve got the wrong one, get it replaced with the correct one and all should be well.