Auto mechanic under the hood of a car working on the battery.
We all have important things to do, so a car, truck or SUV that fires up when we need it is critical to our daily lives. We often take for granted that the vehicle will always be there when we need it. Car batteries are the only component that makes your car run, so it’s vitally important to make sure yours is working properly.

Battery Basics

Your car depends on its battery to start. Once started, your alternator can help it, but when you put the key in the ignition, only your battery can get it moving.

Batteries generally last five to six years, so if yours is aging, it might be time to start considering a new one. Aside from age, batteries can suffer from prolonged use when we leave interior lights on overnight. If you’re in doubt about the condition of your battery, many service centers can test it for you, but you’ll want to pay attention to the warning signs first.

What to watch for

Like many automotive components, it can be tricky to determine exactly when the problem is the battery. Fortunately, there are some fairly clear warning signs, the simplest of which is that your vehicle is having trouble starting. If the lights on the instrument panel and center console won’t come on and the car simply starts and shuts off, a low or discharged battery is probably the cause.

Another sign is that your car is having problems with its electrical components. If your power windows are having trouble going up or down or not working at all, there’s a chance that your battery doesn’t have enough power to turn them on.

While we may need a jump from time to time, if you find yourself relying on friends’ or neighbors’ jumps, your battery is probably running low. Taking it to a service center for testing or replacement would be a smart choice.

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