How Long Should a Car Battery Last?
Most drivers take their car batteries for granted – until, of course, their cars won’t start. It’s never a good time to have car trouble, but a dead battery is always a very unpleasant surprise. This is why most car experts advise owners to mentally make a note of how old their car batteries are and replace them every three years or so, just to be on the safe side. Some higher quality batteries are rated as longer lasting, and, of course, the conditions under which the battery is stored and used factor into its longevity, but three is a good number to remember when estimating how many years your car battery may last.
What causes a battery to wear down quicker? Here are the biggest contributors:
- Temperature. Extreme shifts in temperature are hard on a car battery. Many people experience car battery failure during the winter when the mercury in the bulb drops to freezing or below. Because the oil in the engine thickens in the cold, the engine finds it much more difficult to turn over. The car battery must make up for this by working harder, but since the chemical reactions that generate electricity happen more slowly at lower temperatures, the battery is between a rock and a hard place. It’s weaker just when it’s asked to work harder. This is why more car batteries are replaced in winter. Summer and its higher temperatures are not a picnic for batteries either, however, as corrosion is much more likely to occur then.
- Disuse. Cars that are stored for lengthy periods without being started up on a regular schedule will experience more battery failure.
- Energy loss. Leaving the lights or the radio on will cause the car battery to run down as well.
- Driving habits. Making longer, rather than shorter, trips will allow your alternator the time it needs to fully recharge your car’s battery.
A car battery that remains charged at or near 100% is one that will last longer. In order to make this happen, avoid the above situation and regularly monitor your car battery, charging it with a dedicated charger device when necessary.
We at Veenstra’s would love to help you keep your car in safe and otherwise tip-top condition whether this means maintenance or repair. If your car experiences a battery failure, please call us promptly, and we’ll assist you in sorting out the cause and fixing it.