How often does one need to change car batteries?
A car battery’s effective life is a function of the quality of the battery and how hard it is used.
It’s very difficult to guess the quality of a battery by the store or by the cost. Just because a battery costs more doesn’t mean it is necessarily better quality. Most automotive parts stores have their own private label batteries – some are good and some are not.
Batteries are classified by size, reserve capacity, and cold-cranking amps. You must choose the size battery that fits your vehicle. Reserve capacity refers to the amount of charge the battery will hold if your electrical system fails. A higher reserve capacity indicates a better quality battery that will probably last longer. Cold-cranking amps is important to drivers who live in cold climates. Low temperature is very hard on batteries.
Under normal conditions you should expect to get 5 years of service out of a good quality battery. In cold climates, that might be 4 years or less. Your battery should have a label which will indicate when it was installed. If you notice your starter slowing down, it’s probably time to change the battery before you have a problem.
There are only a few companies that make batteries, and each makes many brands. I have had the best success with batteries made by Johnson Controls, which includes the brands MotorCraft, Sears Diehard, Interstate, and probably the best bargain which is Costco’s generic Kirkland batteries. I avoid CarQuest batteries.
Usually the recommended replacement is every 3-4 years. After that the reliability the battery is another thing that comes into consideration. So check the warranty period before purchasing the battery and it might leave you in a very awful situation . Since there is little warning when it finally goes out.
It really depends more on the battery than the size of the car. Most batteries will definitely let you know if you need to change them but if yours is two years old you might clean it up and look at the original label it should indicate how long you might expect it to last by warranty information or term like “three year battery.” If it is giving you any trouble starting or has had to be jumped or recharged more than once recently I would change it.