Some battery life questions - what's a typical life? When do you replace?


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Old 04-02-18, 01:49 PM
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Some battery life questions - what's a typical life? When do you replace?

On my 2010 honda civic, I just replaced a battery I bought in March 2014. It would start fine over this past winter, but in the last couple weeks, I left my trunk open while I did some work,and the car wouldn't start. I trickle charged it. then this week, left headlights on for only 10 minutes after I turned of the car and it woudln't start,

It was a costco 100 month battery and I got about 50% back on it. because it died 'early'.

The batteries they sell now have a 42 month warranty.

Should I really have been able to expect to get 100 months from that old battery? Or that's just marketing / they build in some refund on the price they were selling it for? And some people won't bother getting the warranty refund / the car will get scrapped / sold (and might not be to a costco member)?

And coincidentally, my lawn tractor has a battery I put in in 2014. That was barely starting yesterday at the start and at the end of the day wasn't taking a trickle charge (I checked water levels and they were OK).

Again, 4 years? That's typical for a battery?

I remember YEARS ago some solution that was sold in stores to 'revve' old car batteries. I see this now:

https://www.amazon.com/Charge-CH-77Q.../dp/B01GUUNMGM

but 25% of reviews giving it 1 star, so I guess it's not the great product it could be,
 
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Old 04-02-18, 02:00 PM
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Everyone has different experiences with lead acid batteries. I use them by the case in security systems. I can tell you that since the bulk of them come from China.... they don't last as long.

Most automotive batteries are sealed so additives really can't be used in them.
 
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Old 04-02-18, 02:09 PM
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A lot depends on what the battery is used in. With older low tech cars I often get 10 yrs out of a battery. The battery in my 2010 jeep only lasted 6 yrs.

I find it disappointing that many of the batteries sold today have sealed tops and shorter warranty.

IMO battery additives are something a snake oil salesman would offer.
 
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Old 04-02-18, 08:31 PM
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at my work we say 4 years. newer cars demand so much and these newer batteries are made with thinner plates that break with strong shocks(pot holes). Also older cars had weaker compression so you tell a battery was on its way out weeks before it did.
 
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Old 04-04-18, 03:52 AM
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Batt life

If those additives worked you wouldn't see replacement batteries for sale.
 
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Old 04-13-18, 06:36 PM
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Again, 4 years? That's typical for a battery?
Nope, it is not. Of course it depends on many factors such as the heat the battery is subjected to (do you live in the deep south) or your charging system (voltage regulator) not up to spec or you let the battery run down (left headlights on).

I've had two factory batteries last me 16 and 15 years.
The factory installed Panasonic (Japan) in the 1990 Toyota Tercel lasted 16 full years.
The factory installed Panasonic (Japan) in the 1999 Honda CR-V lasted 15 full years.

And each of these had to start down to -30C in the winter.

Unless you have a VRLA battery (AGM or GEL and yes, those are lead acid batteries as well), standard FLA batteries can be maintained by adding distilled water as necessary. The caps may not be visible because they are under a plastic foil. I remove the foil and service my battery every year or two.

Its a good idea to have a digital battery voltage readout in the car. It tells you what is going on. I have them in my cars ad motorcycles.
 
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Old 04-14-18, 09:47 AM
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When do you replace?

Every 3 years. I do not want to be inconvenienced with a dead battery whether on the road or at home. To me replacing every 3 years is cheap insurance.
 
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Old 04-14-18, 09:54 AM
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I've had two factory batteries last me 16 and 15 years.
I would not call that normal! I've had a few batteries that lasted 10-12 yrs and considered myself lucky that they lasted that long. I guess 5-8 yrs is closer to normal .... but with all the electronic stuff on the new cars it isn't uncommon for the battery to need replacing sooner.
 
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Old 04-14-18, 10:15 AM
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usually replace mine every 4-5 years also as maintenance so I can choose when to do it if they happen to run down from lights or other current draw or charging problem they may not last that long, smaller batteries like a lawn tractor that may go several months without being charged typically will not last as long either just a small surface discharge from dust on the top of the battery is enough to drain it to the point it wont recover.
 
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Old 05-01-18, 09:49 PM
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I've had batteries last less than the two-year warranty but luckily I saved the receipt and went back to AUtozone, they did the battery charge test and determined it was the battery and replaced it at no charge.
Then again, the battery on the X's Porsche lasted over 7 years.
I always go for the cheapest one with the longest warranty and save the receipt.
If it's a car I'm unable to put highway miles on at least once every two weeks, I'll install a battery disconnect switch.
 
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Old 05-02-18, 06:16 AM
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Have a 2013 Lexus purchased new. Was only driven in winter when roads were dry in New England which isn't often. After 2 weeks of non use, the battery wouldn't start the car. Had the dealer check the electrical system. They said it was fine including the battery. However, they said there is a rating called ignition off amps (IOA) the car requires to power the anti-theft, keyless entry, etc. when the ignition is off. Without charging the battery , its voltage will eventually drop below a value required by the starter motor. The FOB can be used to enter a code that reduces the IOA. So I have options to what I thought was a bad battery, but not excited about it,
 
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Old 05-02-18, 06:44 AM
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Granted mine was a 2003 but that Lexus was the worst car ever. Parts broke frequently, parts were not readily available, parts were expensive, and repairs were not straightforward. Add to that it couldn't get out of it's own way. I traded it for an 83 base 944, the suckiest model Porsche ever made, and even that 944 blew away the Lexus in every facet, reliability, driving, DIYing, etc. Wouldn't repeat.
 
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Old 05-04-18, 02:19 PM
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Replace every four years is not a bad practice. Get a Costco or NAPA battery, the quality is as good as any standard FLA batteries out there usually at the best price.

The length of a warranty is not indicative of the potential battery life, just a marketing aspect. Generally most lower price batteries now are a calcium lead alloy, and the lifespan is less than that of a pure lead battery which used to be the norm not that long ago. Some higher price batteries, typically the AGM's (advanced glass mat eg. Odyessey or Northstar) are pure lead, but the price reflects that.

Most people don't realize a regular lead acid (flooded lead acid being FLA being the most typical auto battery type) do need the water level inside topped up. If the cell water levels go below the top of the plate inside, the battery life will notably shorten. Should be part of a routine maintenance check, and top up with distilled water as required. That's how you will get the maximum life from that type of battery. You do need to be careful opening up some of the ports, they are not all easy to pry off, and there is sulphuric acid in there so wear your goggles!

If you want the "best" battery, this is probably it...ODYSSEY Batteries - Find a Battery

Assuming nothing goes wrong with your alternator and charging system, this battery will probably last about 6 to 8 years under normal operating conditions. I have one in one of my old sports cars as it does not leak any acid or have corrosive off gassing, so it serves that purpose. And this is the type used for the modern cars with stop start technology. So overkill for the Civic, but sometimes you get what you pay for. Hence my Costco recommendation for most people replaced proactively at 4 years will keep people out of trouble at more appealing cost.

All that said, batteries fail for all kinds of reasons, even with an expensive brand. Sometimes its just statistical bad luck, or good luck in the case of the 10 year plus experiences.
 
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Old 05-04-18, 03:42 PM
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I buy the cheapest Walmart battery with the correct height and posts for my vehicles (turns out I can use the same one in my car or Mazda truck). I don't use size charts or ratings or anything...just what will work. Last one in my car lasted 7 yrs with normal city driving and topping off....even in our desert heat. Hmmm, 7 yrs, maybe 1/2 gallon or less of dist water, couple of hours total of maintenance on terminals and such...and the battery cost $50? Yep...works for me. Even when it started to fail, it gave me plenty of warning...bit slower to crank, if it sat for too long, needed a charge or jump, voltage dropped to about 11.5VDC IIRC. Plenty of warning.

Note
"“Results not typical. Individual results will vary”.
 
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Old 05-05-18, 04:07 AM
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I doubt you'll find a new $50 battery today

I always look at the cold cranking amps when deciding which battery to buy.
 
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Old 05-05-18, 12:23 PM
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Just bought the one for the truck (or car? I forget) in March. They still have them on the website and in stock at the store. Value Power or some such name. I know, hard to believe...but that's my experience. Neighbor had to buy one for his Escort and it was something like $140 from Autozone? Of course it was his own fault. Tried to twist the clamp off and broke the connection from post to plate internally. (He's not real mechanically inclined, has two dead vehicles in his back yard that would only take about $400 each to have running) I told him next time just come and get me fer petes sake.

As to the CCA...that's the weird thing. Even though this battery is waaay smaller than the recommended one (which they don't stock in the cheap brand) the CCA are only something like 60-80 less. Since we don't really get cold winters, it's not an issue.
 
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Old 05-05-18, 01:16 PM
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I think the last battery I bought was about $120. It's been several yrs since I've seen a battery for sale under $100.
 
 

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