5 Signs It's Time To Replace Your Car Battery

A routine yearly battery check can keep your engine running.

AAA Member uses the AAA mobile app to request battery testing
Protect yourself from unexpected problems by routinely checking your car battery.

Don’t take your car battery for granted. At least once a year, pop the hood to make sure your battery is correctly installed and doing its job.

Here’s how to recognize an ailing battery, along with a few easy tasks that will help maintain your battery. If you’re not the DIY type (and even if you are), AAA service technicians can provide battery testing and replacement, a free service for AAA Members*.

Warning Signs

  • A rotten egg smell indicates an old or overcharged battery. Your battery is probably nearing the end of its functional life.
  • Is your engine slow to turn over? Accessories failing, or performing at reduced capacity? That’s another sign of an aging battery.
  • Check your lights. Dim or flickering lights can mean a dwindling battery and/or charging system.
  • Do you know when your battery was last replaced? If not, it’s probably been too long. The average battery life in modern vehicles is typically 3-5 years, depending on where you live.
  • A bulging or cracking battery case? It’s time to call AAA for a battery test.

Quick Fixes

Changing temperatures and vibration can loosen claps. Locate your battery and twist the clamps to see if they are loose. If they are, tighten the clamps and attempt to start your vehicle.

Dirty or corroded terminals can cause excessive resistance, and ultimately a slow or no start. Clean your terminals using a brush, gloves, and safety glasses. Don’t let that snow-like dust contact your skin or clothes; it’s corrosive and can burn your skin and ruin your favorite pants.

Test and Replace

Contact AAA to have a AAA Battery Service Technician come out and test your battery, starting, and charging system. If your battery fails, our technicians have stock on their service trucks to replace your battery quickly—and they’ll recycle the old one for you.

* Certain restrictions apply. Valid AAA Membership card required. AAA batteries may not be available for all vehicle makes and models. Mobile battery replacement is not available in all areas. Member pays for battery. Some battery installations may require additional fees. For full Membership terms & conditions, view AAA Terms & Conditions. For AAA battery warranties, view limited warranty details.

This article was first published in February 2020 and last updated in October 2022.