How Long Should A Car Battery Last?
An automotive battery has one thing in common with your cell phone or laptop battery. They’re all rechargeable, and any battery that is rechargeable can stand only so many charge/discharge cycles before they start to weaken and become less efficient.
With older batteries and older vehicles’ electrical systems, you’d at least get some warning when a battery was on its way out – either with slow cranking of the engine or short reserve power, i.e. the battery quickly runs down when the radio is on. This is no longer the case, as many times the battery will just fail with little advance notice…you come out to start the vehicle and nothing happens.
Most quality car batteries are warrantied for 60 months, but the sad truth is that many batteries do not last for that entire warranty phase. Often three years is about all you’ll get out of a car battery, for a couple of reasons:
--A poorly maintained battery can wear down quicker. Proper battery maintenance means regularly checking the alternator for charging ability, checking the serpentine belt for tension and wear, and removing any buildup of corrosion from the terminals and cable clamps. Corrosion shows up as a fluffy greenish-white deposit, and can actually prevent the battery from charging or delivering a charge.
--Newer vehicles, with complex secondary electrical systems of power accessories and processors, put a heavy demand on any battery. Processors and microcomputers will run even when the vehicle is parked, and their current draw does add up over time.
--Any battery that is completely discharged is weakened. Try to never let a car battery run completely down.
You should make battery maintenance and testing part of your regular preventive maintenance schedule. At Kirkwood Auto Center in Wilmington, DE, we can test your battery using a multimeter to assess its overall condition, and then perform a load test to simulate the demands of starting the engine or running other accessories. Tests like this can at least give you a heads-up on a weakened battery so you don’t get in the car, turn your key and hear the disheartening “click…click…click” that means you aren’t going anywhere. Need a battery? Kirkwood Auto Center has a great selection of premium-brand batteries for practically any vehicle. Make an appointment with us!