If you’re looking to get somewhere in a hurry, the last thing you want to experience is a dead battery. Millions of Americans are hit with lifeless automotive batteries every single year, and it’s never anything less than maddening. But what causes batteries to go bad, exactly—and how can you preserve your battery life for as long as possible?
No battery is meant to last forever, of course. In fact, the average lifespan of a battery is about four years. Usually, when a battery dies, it’s because you’ve left the lights on, or perhaps have a bad alternator.
You’ll know your battery is either dead or quickly dying because, well, your car won’t start. Slow cranking is another giveaway. Also be aware of dimming lights, which can suggest that something is wrong with your battery.
There are various things you can do to protect yourself from being stranded; one of them is simply to make sure you’re getting your car inspected and serviced regularly. A battery test can help you identify crucial problems before they get too out-of-hand, and as such battery tests should be part of your regular automotive maintenance.
It’s also helpful to know how to jumpstart a battery; even one with no signs of life can still have plenty of use left in it, so long as you know what to do. That’s one of the things revealed in this Meineke infographic—which will hopefully prove helpful to you as you seek to maximize your battery life.