How Do You Know if Your Car Needs a New Battery?

Tips & Support
OPTIMA Batteries
Milwaukee, WI

You go to start your car and all you hear is a clicking noise or nothing at all. Does that mean it's time to replace your car battery? Perhaps. The best way to know for sure is to have your battery properly tested by a battery professional. Click here to find a battery professional near you, who can test your battery for you (and they'll probably test it for free).

While that may give you the most definitive answer, we'll also give you a longer explanation as to why you should have your battery tested. Many of the "bad" batteries returned to us under warranty are actually just deeply-discharged and work fine, when they are properly-recharged. When you take your battery to a competent battery professional, they will first measure the battery voltage and if the battery appears to be discharged, they will attempt to recharge it before testing it. The reason they do this is because testing a discharged battery may not yield accurate results. OPTIMA REDTOP batteries should measure at least about 12.6 volts (~6.3V for our 6-volt battery) or about 13.0 volts for our YELLOWTOP batteries.

If your battery does pass a load test, even though you thought it might be discharged, there could be something in your vehicle that is discharging your battery. This could be an aftermarket car alarm, dash cam or stereo system or perhaps a door was left open or lights were left on and the battery was discharged that way? It could also be that you just let your car sit for too long without using it, allowing the vehicle's electronic components to slowly discharge your battery. Many folks think the solution for resolving a discharged battery is always a simple jump-start, but that is false!

Jumper cables or jump boxes should be treated like the electrical equivalent of a one-gallon can of gas. They can get you out of a tight spot, but if you knew you only had one gallon of gas left in your car, you'd probably head straight for a gas station. Likewise, if you knew you only had enough energy in your battery with the help of a jumpstart, to barely start your car, you should probably start looking for a battery charger as soon as possible.

A battery that has been so deeply-discharged, that it needs a jumpstart, needs to be recharged with a battery charger for a couple of reasons. In most cases, a vehicle's alternator or charging system will not fully-recharge a deeply-discharged battery. If you don't try to fully-recharge your battery with a battery charger, you could be putting an excessive strain on your vehicle's charging system, which could lead to a premature and expensive failure of that system. You could also find yourself needing a jump-start on a regular basis, which may not always be a convenient solution and could also shorten the lifespan of your battery. If you are convinced you need a new battery, we'd like to sell you one and ship right to your doorstep free of charge. Start shopping now.