5 On Your Side

Don't let a dead car battery leave you stranded

Posted October 5, 2020 3:01 p.m. EDT
Updated October 5, 2020 6:23 p.m. EDT

— Most of us have experienced that dreadful silence at least once in our lives: a dead car battery.

Experts say batteries typically last three to five years. According to AAA, it’s closer to three years in the southeast.

There are ways to anticipate when your car will need a new battery and avoid being stranded.

Some signs your battery is failing: dim headlights, a clicking noise when you start it and if it’s slow to start.

Consumer Reports tests batteries in many ways, like putting them in a freezer to see how well they perform at zero degrees.

That’s to make sure you can start your car on a cold morning.

They test to see how long a battery lasts if you leave your headlights on and simulate thousands of starts.

When testing was done, three earned Best Buy labels: two EverStart models sold at Walmart. Both cost less than $100.

Consumer Reports also recommends an AC Delco for around $125, sold online and at auto parts stores.

Before you head to a store, check the battery that’s in your car, your owner’s manual or search online to make sure you know which size you need for your car’s make and model.

And since batteries can lose strength when they’re stored, look for a new battery that’s less than three months old.

All batteries have a stamped date code, and many have stickers indicating when they were manufactured.

If you replace yours yourself, don’t let the old one sit around.

Find an approved recycling center to dispose of it.

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