How long do car batteries last?
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Any rechargeable battery – simply a battery, has its own service life, unfortunately, nothing is eternal! However, ordinary acid batteries can have a rather large difference in service life (sometimes twice) – but what is this connected with? Why some batteries can work almost 10 years, while others barely last up to 3 years. It turns out there is a difference, and moreover, this specifically affects the life of our battery …

At the beginning of the article, I want to note that today we will disassemble ordinary acid batteries, yet gel and AGM batteries are a little different.

Many different factors affect battery life. Especially the external ones, let’s list them point by point:

  • Temperature regime
  • Battery version
  • Serviceability of the car charging system
  • Leakage current
  • City driving
  • Battery holder

These are the main points that can extend the life of your battery, and much more! However, to begin with, I want to tell you about the quality of the batteries produced at this time.

How long do car batteries last

Quality and service life of batteries

At the very beginning, I would like to say about the quality of modern batteries, now I will not go into the jungle with brands. Just want to point out:

Now there are really decent batteries that last 5-7 years, and possibly more. It is quite simple to distinguish them, firstly, it is a well-known brand, and secondly, it is a guarantee of 2 – 4 years. As a rule, they are made using unattended technology so that the hands of inquisitive owners do not “get in” there.
There are also not very good batteries, their service life is limited at best – three years! But they give only 6 – 12 months of warranty service for their products.

The difference between a bad and a good manufacturer lies in the technologies for the production of batteries, I read somewhere that serious companies do not spare lead for the plates, and also use calcium and even silver to reduce electrolysis processes – so they obviously run long enough! But those who save, then the batteries will work very little, because there is a small amount of lead in the plates and after 2 – 3 years it begins to crumble.

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Well, now I will try to quickly go over the main points that I indicated above.

Temperature regime

It should be noted that many motorists think that the service life is affected by the winter period, that is, the battery “freezes”, loses its charge and fails. This is partly true – the main problem is a cold battery, even after starting it does not take a normal charge until its temperature rises to a positive mark. Therefore, short trips can really have a detrimental effect on the battery, but as a rule, we all warm up the car and act (as I think correctly), and therefore the charge builds up normally.

But the summer mode, with its extremely high temperatures and under the hood everything can be + 60, + 70 degrees Celsius. Compromises the sulphation of the battery, in summer you do not need a lot of energy to start the engine, but in winter you need at least 30% more! And since the capacity sank in summer, it is possible that you will not start the engine!

Personally, I recommend desulfating the battery at least once every 2 to 3 years, so you will extend the service life by at least a couple of years.

Battery version

Actually, if you are taking a serviced option, then be prepared to look after it! Add distilled water, check the density of the electrolyte, etc.! If you forget the moment, then the battery may not pass for a year! In this regard, the service life of a maintenance-free battery is much longer, but it is still worth buying.

Serviceability of the car charging system

Here I would like to highlight two main aspects:

  • Generator – it directly affects the operation of the battery. If it works in its normal mode, then the term is nominal. But if it starts to fail, not giving or not giving a charge, then the battery starts to discharge more. This is fraught with deep discharges and sulfation of the plates, a couple of three deep discharges and throw out your battery.
  • The regulator relay is a small but very important microcircuit that protects the battery from overcharging. After all, the generator does not know the measure! In order for the overcharge not to pass and this small element is needed, it also extends the life of the battery.
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If all systems are working properly, you can count on the nominal battery life, that is, say at least 5-7 years! But if something does not work properly, it will critically reduce the service life.

Leakage current

Third-party equipment, such as radio tape recorders or alarms, if they are not connected correctly, can plant your battery, seemingly not a large leakage current, but a couple or three days, and even a week and that’s all – deep discharge! Therefore, if you notice that after a night stop, the starter does not spin so briskly, you should measure the leakage current. Then we fix it without fail, otherwise in a few months you will buy a new battery.

City driving

It’s also worth noting that batteries live less in cities! But why? YES everything is simple – there are a lot of short trips in the city, you started the car, the battery gave energy to start, and you drove only a few kilometers and after 10 minutes you got into a long parking lot! Thus, it turned out – a small “undercharge”! Then they started up again and stopped again. Such undercharges drain the battery, and the voltage can drop to critical. For example, in winter you cannot start the car – discharge your battery to zero, and this is a deep discharge and sulfation.

Therefore, in order to extend the service life, it is worth at least once every couple of weeks to drive a car for more than 30 – 40 minutes! Although if you stand in traffic jams for a long time with the engine running, then this is quite enough – after all, the generator rotates even at idle and gives a charge.

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Battery holder

How long do car batteries last

Many may consider this not an important point and will be wrong! Because the mount, in my opinion, is one of the most important points – the battery can fly out of its place during sharp turns and other maneuvers. And if it is not secured, then the terminal can close on the body (say, positive to “ground”). Either the terminal may break at all, or break the attachment point in the plastic case, which also does not bring anything good! Such a battery will no longer last long.

Remember, the battery must be well secured (sit in its socket), preferably with special brackets or other clips.

Life Extension Tips

  • Do not use a discharged or “attached” battery
  • In winter, try to recharge your battery; after warming up the engine, let it work for 5 – 10 minutes with the electrical devices turned off, for example, after a trip.
  • If you have a mechanic, make it easier to start the engine by pressing the clutch pedal.
  • Do not turn the starter for a long time! For it is simply unrealistic to expend a lot of energy. Maximum 4 – 5 seconds for one start! If the car does not start 4 times, do not rape it further.
  • In winter time. Before starting, it is advisable to light the headlights, this will start a chemical reaction in the battery and allow it to warm up faster. The headlights should be turned on for 20 – 30 seconds, that’s enough.
  • Periodically inspect the battery case, clean the terminals and case from plaque.
  • Charge the battery periodically. Even if you use your car perfectly, it can run out of power. For example, the ideal voltage is 12.7 V, but often the battery on the car keeps about 12.2 – 12.4 V. It is useful to raise it to 12.7V, say once a month.

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By Vinceslav

Journalist, writer. I write articles and reviews on equipment such as cars, computers, games. Worked for 6 years in the auto and auto parts business. And all my life I have been engaged in computer technology.

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