A Car Battery’s Lifespan – What to Expect

October 2nd, 2018 by

We’ve all been there, you wake up one morning, head out to your car, put the key in the ignition and all you get in return is a dull “rur rur rur” noise – your car battery’s dead. Our instant reaction is to wish we’d known sooner, we rack our brains and try to think back – were there any obvious signs we missed? We know how stressful it can be when it happens on the fly, but we’ve got you covered with all the car battery know-how you’re going to need to avoid this misfortune in the future.

Warning Signs

The most common warning sign that a car battery’s days are numbered is when the engine cranks sluggishly and takes a longer time than usual to start running. Normally this happens some time before the car battery finally gives out and should be audibly noticeable for people to realize that something is amiss. Additionally, the battery may leak and create corrosion around the posts where the negative and positive cable connections are located. Other warning signs include: a random check engine light appearing if the battery power is weak, a battery that appears visibly swollen thanks to extreme heat, or just plain old age – while a car battery can very well last more than three years, there are many factors that influence its longevity.

Factors That Drain Your Battery’s Life

It often feels absurd that a car battery will just die overnight, but the most common culprit tends to be a forgotten light that’s left on or a power adapter that’s left plugged in overnight, zapping your battery’s charge. Sometimes the problem is more severe like when faulty electrical components or a wiring malfunction cna drain the battery. Consumers may not know this but seemingly harmless short trips damage a car battery in the long run. A short runtime (about 20 minutes on average) does not give the battery enough time to recharge, thus, this type of continuous deficiency shortens the lifespan of it. Another slow killer of car batteries? Extreme temperatures! Scorching temperatures (Hi, South Florida!) cause the liquid inside batteries to evaporate, and low liquid levels will in turn damage the internal structure of the battery.

How to Help Your Battery’s Lifespan

Consumers should habitually double check that no lights are left on once they exit a car to prevent accidental draining. Additionally, unplugging all adapters before exiting should be a habit as well – those pesky little gadgets deplete the battery’s overall capacity over time. Extended periods of idling should be avoided, and running functions like the radio and the air conditioner should not be used when the vehicle is idling for long periods of time (think sitting in a parked car with the engine on) as they create unnecessary strain on the battery as well.

A car is comprised of many parts working together, and the best tip to avoid these type of misfortunes is to take care of the car as a whole – that includes extending the life of your battery or proactively changing it once you start noticing those warning signs.

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Posted in Tips