How Long Do Car Batteries Last? Things To Know

how long do car batteries last

In order to help you understand what to anticipate and when it might be time to buy a new car battery, in this article we look at some of the frequently asked questions about the lifespan of car batteries.

It’s crucial to know how long car batteries last, whether you’ve just bought a new battery or are still using the original. A car battery’s lifespan ranges from three to five years on average. We know that time, heat, and vibration are the three main factors that affect a car battery’s life based on decades of industry experience.

Learn more about the battery you have today, including what to expect from it and warning signs that it’s time to replace it.

How Long Does a Car Battery Last?

This question doesn’t have an easy answer, but it’s generally recognized that most car batteries last between 3 and 5 years.

The number of electronic devices you bring along with you while driving, such as smartphones and sat navs, as well as the temperature extremes you experience, can all have an impact on how long a car battery lasts.

Each of these has the potential to put more stress on your battery and thwart the internal chemical process that creates a charge.

Further Reading: Why is My Car Battery Sparking When Connecting the Charger?

How Long Can a Car Battery Last Without the Engine On?

This varies from vehicle to vehicle and is dependent on things like temperature, battery type, battery age, and vehicle type.

how long do car batteries last

Additionally, it is impacted by the amount of power that continues to be drawn from your battery after your engine has been turned off (also referred to as the “parasitic drain”). When a car is parked and not in use, it typically drains 20–50 mA.

Consider the situation where your parasitic drain is about 50mA and you have a 70Ah starter battery installed in your car. Before the battery is completely flat (10.5V), you would have about 60 days to discharge the battery.

How Long Does An Electric Car Battery Last?

Because electric cars rely heavily on their batteries to get you from point A to point B, whereas fuel cars rely on gasoline or diesel, electric car batteries differ slightly from fuel car batteries.

An electric car battery is made of lithium-ion, the same type of battery used in smartphones and computers, so it can deteriorate over time. The battery’s lifespan can also be impacted by additional elements like extremely hot or cold temperatures, overcharging, or using the battery’s minimum capacity.

However, even after 200,000 miles, an electric vehicle battery will still be able to operate at least 70% of the time, indicating that it should last for an average of 10 years.

Why Do Car Batteries Die?

In order to start the car, car batteries are made to deliver a strong, swift, high-amperage current to the starter, and once the engine is running, the alternator is responsible for continuously maintaining this 12.6-volt charge in the battery.

how long do car batteries last

However, the following factors can make a battery either lose its ability to hold a charge or fail to deliver enough current to start a car.

Slow Discharging / Recharging

All batteries slowly lose voltage if they are left unattended, starting at 12.6 volts. A car starting battery is not intended to be discharged past its starting cycle and charged again numerous times, in contrast to its cousin, the deep-cycle battery.

This frequently occurs when a battery is left in a car that hasn’t been started for a while, or when the car has a parasitic drain or draw that steals voltage while the car is idle.

Structural Failure

A series of lead grids immersed in sulfuric acid serves as the electrolyte for batteries, which are made up of these grids. They also have a difficult life because they are jolted around by the motion and suspension of a car and are exposed to drastic temperature changes, either inside the engine or as a result of a change from a hot summer day to a freezing winter.

Rapid Discharging Overcharging, Or Alternator Failure

Similar to slow discharging, a rapid discharge or overcharge frequently occurs as a result of problems with the alternator, which supplies the battery with its charge. When a battery is overcharged, the electrolyte can boil over, and leak, and the battery will eventually fail.

In contrast, if the alternator stops charging or there is a disruption in the charging circuit between the alternator and battery, the entire electrical and ignition system of the car must now be powered by the battery, which results in a quick and significant drain.

Signs That Your Battery is Failing

Batteries frequently give you hints that a problem is developing, though they don’t always. Keep in mind that the clock is ticking quickly towards failure, so any battery older than three years should be immediately regarded with suspicion.

how long do car batteries last

Check for any of these items below:

  • Slow starting: The battery doesn’t have as much power to start the car as it should, as evidenced by the slow cranking. You should only notice a small difference in cranking speed over the course of an average car battery’s lifespan, but this difference is more noticeable as a battery fails.
  • Signs of leakage or corrosion: For corrosion or indications of acid in the battery tray below, look at the tops of the batteries. While terminal corrosion does not immediately render a battery useless, it eventually results in a failed terminal. How long a car battery should last is called into question. Leakage frequently indicates a structural problem or an excessive charge.
  • Sudden click or no-start: Jump-starting the car and continuing with your day is not the solution unless it is an emergency if your battery suddenly dies, which is indicated by turning the key and hearing a click or buzzing. The car will frequently click when you try to start it even though the headlights and dash lights are functioning properly. As soon as possible, have the charging system’s other components tested and the battery charged. If the problem persists even after the battery has been changed, there may be a parasitic draw on the battery, and this needs to be investigated.
  • A very bad smell: A rotten egg smell is sulfuric acid’s telltale symptom. If you detect this smell, your battery is probably very unstable and is either overcharged or has a structural flaw inside.

How to Extend the Life of Your Car Battery?

No matter the weather you’re driving in, taking good care of your car battery can help it last longer. Check out the seven tips below on extending the life of your car battery:

how long do car batteries last

Limit Short Rides

Your car’s battery can’t fully charge during short trips. By using it frequently and for long stretches of time, you can keep the battery in your car charged. A portable car battery charger might be a good investment if you don’t use your car frequently.
If you ever find yourself stranded, these portable chargers can jump-start your battery without the assistance of a vehicle.

Keep Your Battery Tightly Fastened

An unfastened battery might vibrate, which could lead to short circuits and internal damage. Maintain regular inspections of your battery terminal to make sure it is securely fastened to the mounting bracket, especially if you frequently drive on uneven roads.

Turn Off All the Lights When You Exit

Keeping your headlights and car door lights on unintentionally can drain your car’s battery quickly. Put a reminder on your car remote, stick a sticker on your dashboard, or park so you have to walk past your headlights to get where you’re going to avoid forgetting.

Control the Corrosion

Battery terminals corrode over time, but you can greatly increase the lifespan of your car battery by keeping them free of accumulation. With a toothbrush dipped in a solution of baking soda and water, scrub the terminals. Next, thoroughly dry the mixture with a clean cloth after rinsing it off with a spray bottle filled with cold water.

Test Your Battery Often

When trying to extend the life of your car battery, it is important to know its condition. Using a car battery tester, check the output voltage level of your battery to determine how well you’re maintaining it and whether you need to replace it.

Don’t Use Electronics While Idling

Reduce the strain on your battery by turning off appliances like the radio and air conditioner when the engine is not running. A battery can also become depleted after prolonged inactivity.

Care for Your Whole Car

A lot of parts in your car work together to make it. Another easy way to guarantee your battery can last as long as possible is to make sure you have regular tune-ups and that your car is stored properly.
The battery is just one part of a well-functioning car, so keep all of its components properly maintained to increase both the lifespan of your car and the battery.

Conclusion: How Long Do Car Batteries Last?

A conventional car battery typically has a lifespan of three to five years, regardless of the warranty. Even though many batteries have a much longer lifespan, that is the point at which a measurable performance decline can be found.

Whatever replacement battery you decide on, it’s crucial to monitor your car’s condition and be aware of when the battery needs to be tested or changed.

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