Vehicle Warranty Blog

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How Long do Car Batteries LastNo car part lasts forever, but you can avoid most damage by not driving the car. Batteries, however, have a finite lifespan that drains whether you drive daily or keep your car in your garage in pristine condition. In time, it will give out.

Life Expectancy of Car Batteries

On average, expect three to five years of use from your car battery, which is one of three main types:

Lead-Acid Batteries

There are three subtypes of lead-acid batteries:

  • Flooded: Contains lead plates suspended in sulfuric acid. Requires maintenance and is subject to spilling. Expect three to five years, with three being more typical.
  • Sealed: Uses sulfuric acid that’s thickened into a spill-proof gel. Expect three to five years.
  • Deep Cycle: With thicker lead plates, deep cycle batteries sustain power longer and withstand higher levels of discharge. Can last six years.

Absorbent Glass Mat (AGM) Batteries

These batteries are more resistant to vibration and weather extremes. They can handle deep discharges and recharge quickly. They are also frequently used in vehicles with start-stop technology and can last up to seven years.

Lithium-Ion Batteries

While lithium-ion car batteries are currently twice as expensive (or more) as traditional types, they can also last up to three times as long.

Assault on Batteries

So why do car batteries die?

Extreme Temps

Both hot and cold can affect your battery. Cold temperatures reduce battery capacity and recharge rates. Heat evaporates battery fluids and quickens corrosion, damaging the internals. High temperatures also lead to overcharging.

Corrosion

Corrosion, especially around the terminals, makes the battery work harder to send power.

Accidental Drains

Don’t leave the lights or power accessories on when the engine isn’t running. You’ll lose power quickly when the battery provides electricity rather than the alternator and will have to recharge. Every charge cycle brings the battery closer to the end.

Signs the Battery Is Failing

How can you tell whether it’s time to replace your battery? There are several signs to look out for.

Starting Is a Chore

If your engine is slow to start (or just won’t), your battery might be on its last legs.

The Battery Looks Damaged

Look for swelling or cracks; these indicate the battery is physically damaged.

There’s a Terrible Odor

Sulfuric acid and hydrogen sulfide gas smell like rotten eggs. Both can leak from damaged batteries.

Extending Your Battery’s Life Expectancy

With some simple maintenance, you can get the max lifespan out of your battery.

Don’t Let It Drain

Try not to run lights, radio, or other accessories when the engine is off.

Refill Your Battery

If you have a flooded lead-acid battery, you’ll need to refill it with water periodically.

Buy an Intelligent Trickle Charger

If you let your car sit, a trickle charger can keep the battery charged. Get an intelligent one that knows to shut off to avoid overcharging.

Clean Corroded Terminals

Get rid of any corrosion you see.

Make the Most of Your Battery’s Lifespan

Batteries are expensive; even the cheapest ones cost over $200. The good news is you can get batteries with warranties that offer replacements or discounts if the battery dies before the warranty ends. Still, it’s best to care for your battery so you don’t get left stranded.

 

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