Sometimes it’s tough to know when you actually need to replace your car’s battery, and you definitely don’t want to wait until it’s too late since your battery is required to actually get your car to start. The last thing you want it to be stuck waiting for a jump in order to get yourself to work.

Typically a car battery will last on average about 5 years when the car is driven on a daily basis. A car that sits around for a longer period of time will shorten the battery life because when it’s not in use, this causes it to deteriorate more quickly. To avoid this, if you have a car that is sitting for an extended period of time, you should start it up once in a while to prolong the battery life. One thing you may not have known is that every time you start up your car, your battery is gradually deteriorating. Also, the more sophisticated or newer your car is, the more the vehicle may be draining your battery because of the extra juice needed to run everything.

As a battery ages, it eventually loses the ability to hold a charge. This is the type of situation you want to avoid as letting the battery get to this point could cause you to become stranded or prevent your car from starting on a very cold day. Ideally, you should replace your battery before it gets to the point it can no longer hold it’s charge.

There are a few warning signs you can take notice of before it gets to this level. First, you may notice that the headlights aren’t as bright when your car is idle, or that the lights on your dashboard are a bit more faint, or start to flicker. You also may notice the engine beginning to turn over a little slower than it usually does. Sometimes the power windows may also move more slowly once the engine is off. One big thing you can do to see if it is time to replace is to actually check the battery itself. If you see a lot of corrosion around the terminals and cables, this is a clear sign the battery is on it’s way out.

Since the typical battery only lasts about 5 years on average, you may start thinking about a new one around the 3-year mark, or at least keep it in the back of your mind should you start seeing warning signs that it’s on it’s way out. A year or two later, the battery may be totally unreliable. It’s important to make sure you are driving around in a reliable car that won’t pose a safety hazard, so this is one big thing you can keep an eye on.