No one likes to rush out to their car, put the key in the ignition, and try to start a car that will not turn over. Usually, the problem has to do with the battery. While a jump start may get the car moving, many wonder “how long does a car battery last?” There is no one answer. The life of a battery depends on several factors. Many variables have to do with the vehicle or battery manufacturer. However, more times than not, it is the owner’s maintenance rituals, or lack thereof, which cause the charge to drain from the cells.
Because batteries are so reliable, many consumers do not think that anything other than age will cause them not to work. A vehicle owner may be diligent about getting the oil changed or the tires rotated on schedule. Rarely do car owners think about testing, cleaning, protecting and other live-saving measures necessary to get the manufacturer’s recommended usage from a perfectly good product.
How long does a car battery last that has been taken care of? The standard for the average car is about three years. Depending on the vehicle or battery manufacturer, this lifespan may vary. However, it is usually not very different from the rest of the products on the market. Just like appliance batteries, quality manufacturing matters.
With proper attention, 36 months is the time an owner should think about replacement. The old one may still be working well, but a sudden change in weather or a small light accidentally left on for a short duration can kill an old battery instantly. A jump start many get the car to a garage, but the little bit of juice that remains will be a source of frustration when there is not enough left to get the car going by ignition switch only.
A car which lives in a harsh climate but is kept protected by a garage lasts longer whether it is the engine or the belts. Batteries, like mufflers, are very susceptible to oxidation. Humid climates tend to shorten a battery’s life if not kept clean and dry.
Rust does not have to be present on the red and black conductors located on the top of the battery in most cars. At the first sight of light green dust particles, clean the knobs or take it to the service provider. The battery should be cleaned during regular mileage maintenance or even during an oil change, but this is many times overlooked. Therefore, owners should check under the hood to inspect the battery every four months or so.
Cars must be driven often to maintain a proper charge. A brand new battery can go dead after only being installed for a year. Many snowbirds who take their cars in for maintenance before leaving them parked for six months, come back to find the car will not start. Stating they just had their battery replaced, the first question is “well, how long does a car battery last?” The mechanic replies, “left alone to die, with no driving to rev up the charge, not long.” Therefore, if one knows their car will sit for long periods of time, he should have someone take it for a 30 minute spin once a week or invest in a battery charger.
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