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How to tell if your car battery is dying?

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The car battery is an essential component in your car and it requires routine maintenance in order to work efficiently and correctly. If you monitor your car's battery and maintain it when needed, you will maximise your cars battery life. They usually have a lifespan of three to four years, and when your battery is close to that age you should start to expect problems.


Factors that can affect car battery life:
How you drive your car
The condition of your charging system
The condition of the roads you drive on
Temperature extremes
Regularly taking short trips
Long periods of not using the vehicle

Here is how to tell if your car battery is dying:
Clicking Sound - If you hear a clicking sound when you attempt to start your vehicle, then it is possible that your vehicle has a flat or weak battery. The clicking sound could be the starter motor, and it means that there is not enough power getting to it.
No Sound at all - If no sound is made when you turn the key and the electronics such as the radio and dashboard aren't working, that means that the battery is completely dead. If the battery is old then it will probably need replacing, but if the battery is fairly recent then it could mean that there is a problem with the alternator or battery cables. If your vehicle starts with jump leads, then it confirms that the problem was a flat battery. Visit our guide on how to start jump start a vehicle for more information.
Dimming Lights - If the lights on the interior and exterior of the car dim when you start the engine, this could be a sign that the battery is going dead or is not fully charged. 
The Engine Changes Pitch - Your battery may be losing its charge if your car seems to lose power or the engine changes pitch when you turn on the air conditioner or heater. These systems rely on power from the battery to operate and if the battery isn't fully charged then turning these on will affect the performance of the car. If this happens there is a good chance that you will need to change or charge your battery.

One main cause of battery problems that often gets overlooked is the cable connections. If the cables are loose or not correctly connected, then the full charge from the battery is not being transmitted to the engine. Make sure the cables are connected securely, and the wires are intact and in good shape. Check the terminals to see if there is any corrosion, which can stop the vehicle from starting. If the connections are all secure and clean, but the car still won't start, this may indicate a dead battery.

How would I dispose of my car battery?
Assuming that you are going to replace your car battery yourself or that you have already done it, you shouldn't throw the battery into your everyday bin. The battery acid is extremely harmful to the environment if it leaks and needs to be disposed of safely by recycling. You can take your old battery into most garages and ask if they can recycle it for you.

 
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Getting breakdown cover can save you a lot of hassle and money in the long run; giving you peace of mind that you have trained mechanics on stand-by should you ever need them. By purchasing breakdown cover you will avoid any potentially large charges if you ever needed a breakdown service to come out to you without being a member. Autonet have teamed up with AXA Assistance, winners of The Best Breakdown Cover Award at The Personal Finance Awards 2014/15, to offer breakdown cover as an optional extra when you take out a vancar or bike insurance policy with Autonet Insurance.