Car Battery Life

Understanding and Prolonging Your Car Battery Life

There are a wide range of car batteries to suit all vehicle types, and it’s a necessity to have the right battery for your car.

In the past, it was often just a simple case of replacing your old car battery with a new one. In this day and age, however, with the introduction of computers and circuits in cars, car batteries often need to be professionally installed.

A car battery provides electric energy which powers the starter motor, ignition system, lights and entertainment system of the car’s engine.

Car batteries are lead-acid batteries which comprise plates of lead and lead dioxide. This is then immersed into an electrolyte solution – producing a chemical reaction which produced electricity.

Such lead-acid batteries are able to supply high surge currents and maintain a high power to weight ratio. This, together with their relatively low cost, makes them ideal for use in motor vehicles.

picture of car battery


Standard Car Battery Life

In theory, a standard car battery has an average lifespan of around four years.

External factors, however, can contribute to what is considered the standard for a car battery life cycle. Such factors include the battery going through full charge cycles, being attached to a dependable charging system, not being subject to extreme temperatures, and not needing to provide power for a number of accessories.

Adhering to the above factors isn’t always the case, however, so standard car battery life can be difficult to determine.

As well as the above-mentioned factors, issues such as vibration from rough travel, a battery not secured correctly, and extreme weather conditions, including heat and cold, can affect car battery life.

Driving style can also affect battery performance, with elements such as taking mainly short trips meaning the battery is never fully charged.

Many batteries do come with a warranty guaranteeing battery life for the period of the defined warranty.

Prolonging Car Battery Life

Vehicles of today drain the battery even when the vehicle is not running. In an average car, the battery is being drained to a stage that in only three to four weeks it will not start!

If you know the vehicle is not going to be used for a period, or is used infrequently, it may be wise to purchase a maintenance charger to prolong your car battery life and ensure the vehicle starts when needed.

You can save yourself time and money by taking steps to care for your car battery and prolong its life.

There are several ways in which you can prolong your car battery’s life, and prevent a flat battery!

The following tips will assist with this:-

  • Don’t leave your vehicle without being driven for any prolonged period – drive your vehicle regularly. This maintains the level of charge required in your battery.
  • Don’t drain your battery by leaving vehicle accessories on regularly – this may shorten battery life.
  • Service your engine regularly to avoid overloading the battery and reducing its life.
  • With many of today’s modern cars, jump starting a flat battery can damage the electronics, so it’s recommended not to jump start a car to revive a flat battery.
  • Have the battery case and terminals checked and cleaned during services to prevent dirt and damp which may damage your battery.
  • Ensure there are no loose connections – check the battery is secure.
  • When servicing, check the charging rate of the battery checked. Over-charging as well as under-charging will affect the battery life.

For more helpful information on prolonging the life of your car battery view the following article… 8 Simple Tips & Tricks to Extend The Life of Your Car Battery.

When to Replace a Car Battery

A flat or dead battery is the most recognizable sign that a car battery needs replacing – the battery will be unable to start the vehicle.

A failing battery will start losing its capacity and hold less charge. The engine may turn over slower when starting the car, even when fully charged. Additionally, the interior lights may flicker at this point.

You can test your car battery with electronic testers which are usually made available at automotive shops. The tester will show the condition of the battery which indicates if it needs to be replaced.

Car dealerships and repair shops may also be able to test your car battery.

These testers can test the state of the battery as well as the starting and charging system. The test will usually show if your battery needs replacing or charging.

It is a good idea to have your car battery tested whenever your vehicle is serviced.

The age of your car battery is another sign that it may need replacing. You may start noticing problems if the battery is more than three years old. If your driving habits include short trips and frequent periods of inactivity, this may also determine the battery’s condition. A car battery will last longer if the vehicle is driven regularly and kept fully charged.

Looking at your car battery, signs of stains or corrosion may mean there is a leak. Looking underneath the case may reveal build-up around the terminals. This can be carefully cleaned using baking soda and water, and taking necessary safety precautions such as safety glasses and gloves.

A battery which is leading or has mechanical damage will need to be replaced.

If the battery has a foul smell, this may also be a sign of the battery overheating.

If you notice a red battery warning light on your car’s interior dash, this also indicates a battery problem. Your battery isn’t charging if this light comes on while driving. It’s possible the battery may be acceptable, but the charging system will need to be tested.

Replacing a car battery and determining your car battery life is a fairly simple procedure and can be done as part of your regular vehicle service, or as required.

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