Car battery cautions: Don't ignore the warning signs!

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If you notice your headlights look dim or that your car is slow to start, get your car battery checked...

If you notice your headlights look dim or that your car is slow to start, get your car battery checked right away or you may find yourself stranded.

Most car batteries have an advertised life expectancy of 60 or 84 months. (Both the purchase date and the life expectancy of your battery should be displayed on the top of your battery.) After that, you may notice a decrease in the performance of your car.

Here are some of the signs that your car battery might need replacing:

  • Dim headlights or interior lights
  • Change in headlight intensity when you rev your engine or accelerate when driving
  • Deterioration in your radio's sound quality
  • Car slow to start
  • Corrosion on battery terminals

It's best to be proactive about your car battery maintenance, so even if you don't observe any of the telltale signs of car battery deterioration, if your battery is near the advertised end of its life go ahead and replace it.

Aside from age, there are other factors that will lead to the deterioration of your battery. Repeated short trips and use of multiple accessories while driving will also drain your battery's charge. Undercharging and overcharging due to a poorly functioning alternator or voltage regulator will also degrade your battery and make it unable to charge properly or hold a steady charge.

Of course, the problem may not be your battery. Poor electrical connections or a failing alternator or voltage regulator can also be the culprits. Regardless, if you're experiencing any of these symptoms or haven't had your battery tested in a while, it's best to play it safe and get your battery inspected by an Atlanta-area car care professional.

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