3 Reasons To Test Your Battery Before Replacing It

Does turning your car's key produce nothing more than a few sad clicks? Or do you notice your vehicle taking longer and longer to start on cold mornings? These issues can mean that your battery is on its way out, but you shouldn't rush to the nearest auto parts store to buy a replacement just yet. Instead, testing your battery first is often a much better plan.

Of course, you probably want your car running again so you can hurry up and get on with your life, so why not just buy now and ask questions later? While this approach might get you on the road again, it can also leave you with more expensive bills in the future. Here are three reasons you should choose battery testing before throwing money at a new one.

1. You Might Have Charging System Issues

When is a dead battery not really a dead battery? You will know it's dead when it runs out of juice due to another problem with your car's charging system. Your car's battery typically serves two functions. While running, your alternator keeps the battery charged and uses it as a capacitor to smooth power delivery to your accessories. While starting, the battery provides the jolt to get the starter motor turning.

However, problems with your charging system (such as a faulty alternator) can keep your battery from fully charging while your car is on. In these cases, your battery might still have some life left, even if it doesn't have enough charge to start your engine. Testing your battery will help you confirm if there's a problem elsewhere in your charging system.

2. You'll Avoid Replacing Good Batteries

Not every hard starting or long cranking issue is related to the charging system. Problems with your fuel system, spark plugs, or numerous other components can cause your engine to struggle on cold mornings or after sitting for an extended period. These failures can sometimes produce similar symptoms to a dead battery, leaving you to believe that you need an expensive replacement.

If you test your battery and find that it's in good shape, you'll know to begin looking at other parts of your car to find the source of trouble. While this might result in an expensive repair, you'll at least save yourself the cost of a needless battery replacement on top of fixing the actual problem.

3. You Won't Waste Any Extra Time

If you're planning to replace your battery, you'll need to remove it from your vehicle anyway. The extra step of taking it for a test (something you can often do at the same location where you're buying a new battery) won't require much additional time or effort. With so little to lose, testing your battery to confirm the problem and give yourself some peace of mind just makes sense.