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Key Signs You Need to Replace Your Car Battery

Car maintenance, for most of the UK’s motorists, is complex and even opaque.

According to a 2018 survey published in The Sun, more than four-fifths of UK drivers have no clue when their oil needs to be changed.

With more new and younger drivers joining UK roads, this number is only set to increase. And this lack of knowledge is not relegated merely to oil changes; batteries, too, are a point of contention for many drivers young and old. Indeed, batteries are the subject of today’s piece, as we illustrate some of the key signs you can look out for as a motorist that your car battery may be on its way out.

Trouble Starting

If you are finding it difficult to get your car to turn over, this can be a tell-tale sign that car battery replacement is necessary. This may seem like an obvious sign to include, but the physics behind it is not well understood by many drivers – and many make the assumption that a successful start means their battery will be fine, when the opposite is true.

This is because your car needs to draw a huge amount of current in order to start, to the tune of 240 amps or higher. As your battery’s charge decreases, it is less and less able to provide this initial boost of current. While your car is running, its alternator works to trickle-recharge the battery, meaning that you may get two or three difficult starts out of a dying battery before it completely gives up.


Another strong sign that your car’s battery may be due for replacement is age. While not an active symptom, using age as a benchmark for replacement can be a much safer option than watching out for signs and signifiers; by replacing regularly towards the end of the average battery’s life, you significantly reduce the risk of your battery failing at a critical or dangerous moment.

The maximum lifespan of any given car battery is around five years, through three years is often given as a safe time at which to consider effecting a replacement.

Dashboard Warning

For many people, the first time they encounter the notion that their car battery may need changing is when they are faced with a dashboard warning relating to their battery’s charge. Dashboard warnings are the bane of any motorist’s life, usually indicating the need to send their car in for an expensive service – and often chosen to be ignored until a more convenient time.

The Ministry of Transport has made efforts to crack down on the latter, with changes to the MOT making the illumination of specific warning lights during inspection an immediate MOT fail. As such, it is in your best interest to get your battery replaced at your earliest convenience.

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