Not many things are more frustrating than hopping in your car to go somewhere only to find that you have a dead battery. Without a good battery, you will be unable to crank your car and go anywhere. Not only does the battery power your starter to crank the car, but it also runs all your electrical components like your lights, radio, and power windows. So, how long does a car battery last and how can you tell when it is time to go ahead and get a new battery? We will explain everything you need to know here, so just keep reading!
How Long Do Car Batteries Last?
Although many people ask, “How long should a car battery last,” there is no single answer to that question. On average, you can expect a typical battery life of 3 to 5 years. This can vary, however, with the type of battery, manufacturer, climate conditions, and your driving habits.
Many batteries will have a lifespan rating on them from the manufacturer. For instance, they might be marketed as a 3-year or 5-year battery. Under ideal conditions, the battery should last at least that long. In some cases, you might even get an extra couple of years from that battery.
Factors That Affect The Overall Lifespan Of Car Batteries
There are many factors that can affect the lifespan of your battery. The climate and temperature in your region as well as the way you drive your car can greatly affect how often you will be purchasing a new battery. Here are some of the biggest factors that affect your battery’s lifespan.
- Driving Habits
The way you drive can have an impact on how often you will be faced with a battery replacement. If you leave your car sitting for extended periods of time, this causes the battery to drain in between trips and weakens its ability to hold a charge. In addition, if you take a lot of short trips, then your battery never has time to fully charge.
You can’t control this one, but the climate in your area affects your battery. Heat is your enemy when it comes to a battery, so if you live in a hot climate, then your battery will likely go bad sooner. Batteries in cooler climates tend to last longer because they are not under the same amount of stress during driving.
- Battery Hold-Down Hardware
Your battery should be properly held down in your vehicle with the right hardware. Otherwise, it will bounce and shake as you drive down the road. These vibrations are not good for the internal workings of your battery, and it will lead to a damaged battery quickly.
- Excessive Use
We all know that one person who has all sorts of cords and devices plugged into their cigarette lighter. If this is you, then stop it! While it is OK to use a small amount of power for external devices, excessive use will put a huge strain on your battery and cause it to go bad much sooner than normal. It can even put a strain on your whole charging system as well!
- Malfunctioning Charging System
If your alternator is not properly charging your battery, then that battery is not going to last very long. Overcharging and undercharging are both problems, so make sure that your charging system is supplying the proper amperage to your battery. If there are problems with charging, you might notice a battery light or check engine light illuminated on your dashboard.
How To Extend The Lifespan Of Your Car Battery
Now that you know what can cause a battery to die early, what can you do to help prevent it? Here are some things that you can do to make sure your battery lasts as long as possible.
- Disconnect Your Devices
We all need to charge our phone in the car now and then, but you don’t need to drive around with a phone charger, lights, and a small refrigerator being powered in your car all the time. Unplug all unnecessary devices, and try not to power any devices when the car is not running or is just idling.
- Limit Short Rides
Try to limit the number of quick, short trips that you take. This prevents your battery from fully charging, so try and take a longer trip at least once every few days. This helps ensure that your battery gets charged all the way and doesn’t stay in a somewhat discharged state.
- Turn Off All Lights When You Exit
Do not leave lights on after you shut off your car. In fact, do not leave any accessories running after you exit the vehicle. This will drain your battery and can cause damage even on a new car.
- Keep Corrosion At Bay
Corrosion on your battery terminals is nothing but trouble. Not only can it prevent your car from starting due to a poor electrical connection, it can also eat away at your battery and cause damage. You can use a little baking soda, a small brush, and water to clean the corrosion. Keep those terminals clean!
- Keep Your Battery Tightly Fastened
Make sure that your battery hold-down hardware is working properly so that your battery is not bouncing and shifting around as you drive. All newer cars should be equipped with this hardware, and if yours is broken, it might even be covered under warranty.
Signs That It’s Time To Replace Your Car Battery
If you notice battery problems, then it might be time for some battery service. Here are some of the warning signs that your battery might be on the way out.
- “Check Engine” Light Is On
This can be an indicator of many different problems, but it could mean that you have a bad battery. Your car can tell when the battery voltage gets low, so it will illuminate the CEL to alert you. If you see this light, head on down to the dealership to get things checked out.
- Difficulty Starting Engine
This is typically a telltale sign of a weak battery. If your engine is slow to crank, then your battery voltage is probably low. It might mean that your vehicle’s battery can no longer hold a charge and needs replacing. A vehicle service center can perform a test to show how many volts the battery can hold and make a recommendation on replacement.
- Rotten Egg Smell
If you notice a bad smell coming from your engine bay, your battery could be the culprit. Some chemical reactions taking place in your battery might produce this bad smell, but when the smell makes it outside the battery, this is not a good sign.
- Dim Lights
When your lights start to look dim and are no longer as bright as they once were, then your battery is probably not providing the proper power to them. Get your battery checked right away to avoid being stranded and needing a jump-start.
- Corroded Terminal Connectors
This means that the electrolytes and battery acid are leaking and causing corrosion on the metal terminals. Make sure to clean this build-up immediately, and watch to make sure it doesn’t come back. If it continues, you’ll likely need a new battery.
- Your Car Has Been Sitting In Your Driveway For Too Long
When your car sits for long periods, the battery drains and the life of your battery is shortened. Recharging can bring your battery back to life, but when you repeat this cycle over and over, your battery will no longer hold that charge properly.
The Bottom Line
Proper car care includes maintaining your battery as well, so make sure that you keep an eye on the warning signs listed in this article. While most batteries will last 3 to 5 years, things like extreme temperatures during hot weather will shorten your car battery lifespan. Your battery is a critical piece of your car’s electrical system, so you want to make sure that it stays working properly!
How often does a car battery need to be replaced?
The average car battery will need to be replaced every 3 to 5 years. This can fluctuate based on the battery manufacturer, the climate in your area, and the frequency with which you drive your vehicle.
How long do car batteries last on average?
On average, they will last 3 to 5 years. Under perfect conditions, you might find that your battery lasts much longer than this. However, extreme conditions can cause a cheaper battery to need replacement within a couple of years.
Can a car battery last 10 years?
Yes, it is possible for a car battery to last 10 years. However, it is not likely. Most car batteries will not last longer than about 5 years, although you might see a 10 year battery life under very good conditions.
How much does a car battery cost?
The average car battery costs anywhere from $60 to $130. The exact price depends on your specific vehicle and what type of battery you need. It is not uncommon for a car battery to cost $225 or more! Instead of spending all that money, you could get an instant cash offer to sell your car to Auto Wranglers. We buy cars all across the country, and we’ll buy yours too!
How do car batteries work?
Car batteries work much the same way that any other battery works. The battery holds a charge and holds voltage across the positive and negative terminals. When connected to your vehicle, the battery provides power to your car’s starter and other electrical components. The alternator on your car keeps the battery charged as you drive.
Is replacing a car battery hard?
No, replacing a battery is not difficult in most cases. Simply remove the cables from the negative terminal and then from the positive terminal. Loosen the battery hold-down hardware and lift the battery from the car. Replace with the new battery, and you’re all done! Note that on some vehicles, you need a scan tool to let the car’s computer know that you have replaced the battery.