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How do you know when it's time to replace your car's battery?

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  • How do you know when it's time to replace your car's battery?

    I just installed a new car MP3 / CD Player and I don't drive very far or very often, sometimes the car can be unused for a week. Normally it will start right away, but after taking out my old Car Music System and replacing it with a new one the battery seems to die quickly.

    My old Sony system used to do the same thing but only if you left the facelift in - and then after 2 days the battery in the car would be flat, then changed to JVC and almost always took out the facelift and was never a problem, but last week I got a fancy car stereo that takes CD's, USB Sticks sand SD Cards and after 2 days the car battery was flat.

    So I figured the only way to tell if it's the stereo or battery is to try a new battery and see what happens. (without using a meter to test the current being drawn when the car is idle)

    I did however remove the car battery and hook it up to an electronic charger with 4 LED lights that show the 4 stages of charging. Left it on for 15 hours so far and it's still on stage 2 - it works backwards and starts on stage 4, then 3 until you get to 1 and then you know it's fully charged, but it's still on 2 after 15 hours and you can hear a lot of bubbling sounds from the battery.

    The battery is 6 years old so I figure it's time to replace it anyway but I was wondering what might be the problem with the battery. I have turned off the charging now as it didn't quite sound right and wanted to make sure there wasn't an explosion or anything like that.

    I've replaced it with a new Bosch Silver Battery which was only £30 and will probably hang on to that. I'll have to go a few days without using the car to see if it's the MP3 player draining the new battery as well.


    But any insights / advice / similar experiences into the world of car batteries?

  • #2
    Go to your local tyre/exhaust place and get a free battery check!

    I take mine every 3 months
    Your just jealous that the voices dont talk to you !

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Phoenix_
      Go to your local tyre/exhaust place and get a free battery check!

      I take mine every 3 months
      How many times do they tell you that you need a new battery?
      Another quality post brought to you by Mr Mist, god of Moo.

      Comment


      • #4
        My tried and tested method of finding out when I need a new battery is when the car doesn't start. Try it, it works!

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Dobbin
          My tried and tested method of finding out when I need a new battery is when the car doesn't start. Try it, it works!
          If I used that method I'd have needed about 20 new batteries over the last 6 years

          Comment


          • #6
            How do you test a battery then? I've got a motorbike one, the motorbike is a bit funny because it doesn't run properly and sometimes can't run the starter motor (you hear it half turn once then dead or a bzzzzzzz like it doesnt have enough power to turn). Lights work ok though.

            Hope it gets sorted out, by the soudns of things (bubbling!!) I'd look into getting a new battery.
            Be happy, accept those you care for, and live your life in a manner true to yourself, those you care for, and the values you hold dear to your heart.
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            • #7
              Originally posted by Mist
              How many times do they tell you that you need a new battery?
              Well about 2 years or so, but they can tell you if you need to fill up the water in it. Stuff like that, also if its putting out the correct voltage.

              Hey its always good to test...plus my mate works there
              Your just jealous that the voices dont talk to you !

              Comment


              • #8
                Well a battery typically lasts, what, about 5 years? Is it around that time? Last year I put in a new stereo and the battery kept dying and it was just on that mark so I just got a new one, no problem since.
                Of all the mistakes you've made, the best are yet to come.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by my_name
                  Well a battery typically lasts, what, about 5 years? Is it around that time? Last year I put in a new stereo and the battery kept dying and it was just on that mark so I just got a new one, no problem since.

                  Yeah maybe it was just coincidence I needed a new battery and also installed the new MP3 player and the day before I was sitting there listening to it for a while with the car not running.

                  Some car batteries have a little circle window and a float that indicates if the battery is good or not, if it's good the float rises to the top and you see a green circle, if it's bad it sinks and you see nothing. But neither of my batteries (old or new) had that feature.

                  I tried turning on the charger to the old battery again and you can hear the acid, etc bubbling very quickly now, which I'm sure isn't a good sign.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Replace it when you need to push start or jump start the bastard.

                    Running my rig in a mighty high gear,
                    I don't care where I go, so long as it ain't here,
                    If something gets in my way, you know I'm gonna ram her,
                    Nobody fools around with this gear jammer.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Teh_Gerbil
                      Replace it when you need to push start or jump start the bastard.

                      Push starting a car with a CAT can damage the CAT.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by DiamondGeezer
                        Push starting a car with a CAT can damage the CAT.
                        Poor cats. We once drove halfway down the road, only to find out cat was in the back seat.











                        Running my rig in a mighty high gear,
                        I don't care where I go, so long as it ain't here,
                        If something gets in my way, you know I'm gonna ram her,
                        Nobody fools around with this gear jammer.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by TheShyBoyInTheCorner
                          How do you test a battery then? I've got a motorbike one, the motorbike is a bit funny because it doesn't run properly and sometimes can't run the starter motor (you hear it half turn once then dead or a bzzzzzzz like it doesnt have enough power to turn). Lights work ok though.

                          Hope it gets sorted out, by the soudns of things (bubbling!!) I'd look into getting a new battery.
                          One of two ways. Measure it with a voltmeter - anything over 12.3v without load should be okay. Higher is better. Much below and the battery is getting too weak to start the car - it might need topping up, or a thorough recharge(overnight jobbie). Alternative is to use a drop test - basically a short circuit with a big resistor in it.

                          Bubbling is normal(and good) when recharging.

                          Personally, I'd be checking the wiring for the head unit. Are you sure it is being turned off via the ignition? If not, then it'll be drawing current all the time - normally there are two power inputs for the unit - a switched source from the ignition, and a direct-to-battery connection for the memory. The direct connection should be fused, obviously...

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by DiamondGeezer
                            Push starting a car with a CAT can damage the CAT.
                            Only if it has to be done many times. Anything resulting in unburnt fuel being dumped into the cat will poison/overheat it.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by DiamondGeezer
                              Push starting a car with a CAT can damage the CAT.
                              You can push start a car wit ha cat?

                              I always have to get a few mates to help...

                              Comment

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