How long should a car battery last?
This is a controversial issue that many mechanics, engineers, and battery experts have debated from time to time, proposing different schools of thought using different factors.
It is more difficult to ascertain since regular, maintenance-free lead-acid car batteries don’t give signs of failing anytime soon as opposed to some time ago when the slow cranking and little reserve power will alert one to the potential of having a breakdown in a car battery.
It is important to note that the wear-and-tear theory also works on the car battery, it will eventually age, having this in mind will help one to prepare well ahead.
While the lead-acid car battery hasn’t changed much in the last 100 years, it’s still a difficult part of the car to check during routine maintenance.
Simple battery testers cannot, at this time, jumble through the chemical intricacy of what goes on in a battery.
In its place, they offer a kind of snapshot of the battery at the time it’s being tested — excluding the framework of the battery’s chemical composition before or after the test.
Factors like driving in extremely cold weather and the intense use of electrical gadgets while driving, taking short trips (which will not allow the battery to get fully charged), and also packing it in the garage for a long time will deplete its life span to a certain degree.
The resultant effect is acid stratification; Inside the battery, the electrolytic solution goes from homogenous — or the same all the way through — to a rough vertical split.
The upper half of the solution is light acid, while the bottom is a heavy acid. The light acid coating will begin to corrode the plates, and the heavy acid solution will start to recompense for the car’s electrical needs by working tougher than it’s planned to work.
The result is shorter battery life, even though the battery shows up as working on routine tests.
Most experts will argue that the lifespan of a battery depends on the quality of such battery but it normally ranges from 3-5 years.
Some also recommend a change of battery after four years regardless of its present condition, well, it is advisable to test the battery to see what condition it is in before going ahead to either change it or not.
The best way to test a battery is with the electronic testers obtainable at most automotive shops and even a few auto parts stores.
A technician will hook the tester to the battery in the car, and it will take a snapshot of your battery’s condition and point out whether it needs to be replaced or not.
This check should be a part of routine vehicle maintenance and done every time you have an oil change.
While it is important to know the lifespan of a car battery, it is also important to know the possible signs that usually precede a failed battery; such signs as unusual power fluctuations, the longer time, and frequent need in revving and jumpstarting, dimming headlights, and strain in cold weather.
However, they are most prominent in older battery designs while new designs just fail without prior warning.
One of the good ways to know how long the car battery is supposed to last is through the car battery warranty details.
Every car battery has a warranty and also a stamp that specifies precisely when it was manufactured.
Many experts argue that the warranty years determine greatly the length of time for a car battery. Some have warranties ranging from 1 to 3 years which depends on their quality and price.
The use of these batteries also play a role in their lasting capacity, when a battery is not secured in its holder or tightly clamped, it makes it prone to failing, also, most batteries have a limit of cycles of charge/discharge, therefore, constant use of it on bad roads also worsens its conditions, it is also advisable to turn off the headlights when one is not driving.
Constant checking of the battery just like one check for the car oil or radiator water will go a long way in improving the car battery life span.
It is advisable to purchase batteries of good quality as they typically last more than the cheap ones which will require a lot of maintenance and frequent placements, thereby costing you more resources than is necessary.
Buy your car battery from a well-known and distinguished brand and enjoy your car battery for up to six years.