When your car won't start, what do you do? Many people instantly assume they have a dead battery. So they might jump the battery to start the car. If the car starts, you might still assume it is a dead battery, and it might be. But there is also a chance it's not your battery. How can you find out if you have a bad battery? The best way is through car battery testing. Here are several things to understand about car batteries and testing services.

How long batteries last 

Car batteries can last one year or many years. Many car batteries have labels that state how long they "should" last. For example, a battery might state 48, 60, or 84. This label stands for months. However, a battery might not last as long as it states. A battery's length depends on the battery itself and other factors, such as your driving habits. If your battery is at least two or three years old when your car won't start, there is a good chance the battery is bad.

Reasons you might think your battery is bad

When a car won't start, you'll probably assume it's the battery. You might also know you have a bad battery if your clock settings erase out of the blue. These are some of the most common signs of a bad battery. So if you have these problems, you can have an auto repair shop test the battery. They'll connect a device to the battery, and the tool reveals if the battery has enough charge.

Replace the battery if it's bad

If battery testing reveals that the battery is worn-out, you'll need a new one. The shop can remove your battery for you and replace it with a new one. After that, your car should start without hesitation.

Check the alternator if the battery is good

There are times when battery testing reveals that the battery is fine. If this is the case, the shop might check the alternator. The alternator powers the battery and can mimic the signs of a bad battery. If you have a bad alternator, you must replace it. However, you might not have to replace the battery.

Contact an auto repair shop to learn more

Are you having battery problems? If so, visit an auto shop to have them test it. Battery testing reveals if a battery is fine or needs replacement.