When to Replace My Battery?


That’s a good question for Lincoln drivers. All batteries wear out and need to be replaced – but some are replaced before their time.

For example, if your battery is dying and you need a jump-start, it could very well be that you have a bad battery. But you should have your battery tested first to see if it’s actually bad. The problem could be parasitic drain or a bad alternator that’s not properly charging your battery.

One of the tests that we perform at Custom Automotive Care is alternator output. A surprisingly high percentage of “bad” batteries brought in are actually just fine: the problem is a failed alternator or control fault that is not turning the alternator on. On most modern vehicles the alternator is energized by the PCM (powertrain control module) or the BCM (body control module). These computers can change how much and when the alternator charges. A worn serpentine belt and/or belt tensioner can cause the belt to slip, as well. If the belt is slipping, it’s not spinning the alternator properly so it can’t fully charge the battery.

Hopefully, Lincoln drivers can see that a dead battery can be the result of a chain of events: a worn serpentine belt, a worn belt tensioner, a bad alternator, bad battery, or computer malfunction. If you don’t follow a complete diagnostic test procedure you can just end up replacing batteries that are still good.

That brings us back full circle to when batteries do fail. There’s a chemical cycle that takes place inside your battery: the battery is discharged when you start the vehicle and is recharged by the alternator when you drive. Short trips around the Lincoln area with frequent stops and starts may mean that your battery is never fully recharged. When a battery isn’t fully charged parts of the battery harden and are no longer available to “store” electricity. Over time, your battery just can’t hold enough charge for the needs of your vehicle. This can cause your alternator to wear out prematurely. In modern vehicles that have as many as 45 computers or modules, they can malfunction if the battery voltage gets low.

Batteries last longer in colder climates and wear out faster in warmer climates. In Nebraska we experience both extremes so it is important to have your battery tested at every oil change service. We do that for free at Custom Automotive Care on every courtesy inspection. Our experienced technicians recommend replacing your battery every 5 years or 60,000 miles.

Servicing battery cable ends and connections is also an important part of battery maintenance. The connections need to be clean and free of corrosion. A sealant is then applied to the terminals where the battery cables connection to the battery. The sealant keeps moisture out of the electrical connection to prevent corrosion. Battery cable connections should be serviced every 2 years or 30,000 miles.

Custom Automotive Care
4660 Cornhusker Highway
Lincoln, NE 68504


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