One of the worst ways to start your day is to climb into your vehicle and discover you have a dead battery. These situations can make you late for school or work and your wallet a little bit lighter after buying a new battery.
However, before spending your hard-earned money on a new battery, consider resurrecting your old one.
So can vehicle batteries be brought back to life? Let’s take a look.
Bringing Vehicle Batteries Back to Life
In some situations, you can bring vehicle batteries back to life. A simple jumpstart, or allowing the battery to sit on a charger for several hours, can bring some vehicle batteries back to life.
Depending on the battery’s age, size, and conditions, this process can take considerable time. In addition, you want to make sure you connect the battery to the power source correctly, or you could cause severe damage or increase the chances of a fire.
Unfortunately, all vehicle batteries reach the end of their useful life eventually. Once they do, there’s no bringing them back from the dead. Your best bet is to replace the old battery with a new one.
However, make sure you properly dispose of the old battery by recycling it. Most shops that sell vehicle batteries will have a recycling program for old batteries.
How Do You Make a Battery Come Back to Life?
In most cases, a dead battery isn’t the end of the world for most drivers. As long as the battery is relatively new and in good condition, a set of jumper cables can act as a defibrillator for your battery. Let the vehicle run for approximately 30 minutes, and you and your car battery will be back in business.
Many drivers don’t realize that lead-acid batteries contain completely submerged plates in a liquid (an electrolyte that’s typically distilled water). If the electrolyte level gets too low, it can cause damage to the battery and reduce its life expectancy. While adding electrolytes won’t be enough to reverse any damage, it can buy you time to start saving to replace the battery.
Another home remedy to bring your vehicle battery back to life is to add Epsom salt or Aspirin tablets to the electrolyte. While we typically don’t recommend adding substances to the electrolyte, these items can create a chemical reaction that will help you start your battery in an emergency. While they may not be a long-term fix, they can get the job done if you’re in a pinch.
Pro Tip: Battery not in its best condition? Use our guide on How To Easily Remove Vehicle Battery Corrosion.
What Do You Do If the Battery Is Completely Dead?
There are typically a few options if your vehicle battery is completely dead. However, not all of these options will always be available, depending on the situation.
The first step many take is trying to jump-start their vehicle. This will require a set of jumper cables and another vehicle. It can be extremely effective when done right. Just make sure to connect the cables to the appropriate battery terminals to avoid damaging either vehicle.
The next option is to call your emergency roadside assistance provider. If you have this coverage, they’ll likely send someone to you and offer assistance. They may be able to offer to jump your car battery, even if you don’t have a set of jumper cables. However, any further services will likely depend on your coverage or provider.
If your battery is completely dead, you’ll need to replace it. Disconnect the dead battery from the positive and negative terminals and take it with you. This can help ensure you get a compatible battery and avoid wasting money.
How Many Years Do Car Batteries Last?
A typical vehicle battery will last three or four years. However, some batteries can last five or six years, and others may only last two or three years. Where you live can significantly affect how long you can expect from your battery.
Extreme temperatures, especially frigid temperatures, aren’t good for batteries and can drastically reduce the life of a battery.
How Can You Tell if Your Battery Needs Replacing?
There are several to tell if it’s time to replace the battery in your vehicle. First, if there are any obvious signs of damage to your battery, it’s time to replace it. This could include cracks, a swollen casing, or fluids leaking from the battery.
These are indications that a battery is beyond repair and must be replaced as soon as possible.
If you have to jumpstart your battery repeatedly, this is another sign that it’s time to replace it. You can’t depend on a battery that can’t hold a charge in your vehicle. You’ll want to replace the battery as soon as possible to avoid finding yourself stranded.
Lastly, many auto parts stores have special equipment to test and assess the health of a battery. Instead of assuming the battery is the issue, they’ll be able to provide specific details regarding the health and status of the battery. You may have phantom power in your vehicle, causing the battery to drain repeatedly.
How Much Should a Car Battery Cost?
The cost of a car battery depends on the vehicle type and battery it requires. A standard car battery costs $50 to $150, while a premium battery comes with a premium price tag between $90 and $250. However, sometimes the only thing separating one battery from another is the warranty that comes with the battery.
Some retailers, like Walmart, will offer several pricing options for batteries that look nearly identical. They look identical because they’re identical. However, the only difference between the batteries is the warranty that comes with them.
You can often find batteries at these retailers with warranties ranging from one year to five years. If you’re willing to pay a little more, you can have some warranty coverage on your vehicle’s battery.
Is There a Difference Between Cheap and Expensive Car Batteries?
Like most things, more expensive items typically use better-quality parts and last longer. Car batteries are no exception to this, and while cheap batteries may get the job done, they usually don’t last nearly as long. As a result, the manufacturers often do not include much in the way of warranties for their batteries. If and when the cheap battery fails, you’ll need to recycle it and purchase an entirely new battery.
It only takes being let down by a cheap battery once before you’ll realize the importance of having a quality battery. If you live in a climate that experiences extreme temperatures, especially during winter, cheap batteries often aren’t worth the risk. You don’t want to find yourself stranded in a parking lot because you chose a cheap battery.
Pro Tip: We took a closer look to uncover Does Target Sell Vehicle Batteries?
Does It Matter What Brand of Car Battery You Get?
Premium car batteries use rubber between the plates inside the battery, while cheaper brands will use PVC, a cheaper and less affection option. The rubber separators last longer and extend the overall life of the battery.
If you want to avoid finding yourself in a sticky situation or stranded somewhere, choose a quality brand that uses rubber separators between the plates. Make sure you get a battery that can withstand the temperatures where you live and last for years to come.
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