Car battery replacement interval advice

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SteadyOne
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Car battery replacement interval advice

Post by SteadyOne »

Having been stuck at random places at random times with the dead battery I decided to replace it regular intervals so to avoid those situations what would be your advice ? Every three years?
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sailaway
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Re: Car battery replacement interval advice

Post by sailaway »

How frequently have you been getting stuck? What do others with the same car say? Is there a better battery that you can pay that will last longer?

DH's Jeep ate through batteries about every 3 years. Turns out there was a better battery we could have been investing in. Don't know if that actually helped because we sold the Jeep the following year.

My Honda Insight goes about 6 years between batteries (shoot...coming up on that again).
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HueyLD
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Re: Car battery replacement interval advice

Post by HueyLD »

It depends on where you live.

For example, you may need battery replacement every other year if you live in a hot and dry place like Phoenix.

In a mild climate, the battery could last 3 - 5 years. What has been your experience in your specific location?
sport
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Re: Car battery replacement interval advice

Post by sport »

There are two variables to consider:
1. What climate do you live in? High temperatures shorten battery life.
2. How many miles per year do you put on the vehicle. High mileage shortens battery life.

A battery with higher ratings will generally last longer than one with lower ratings (CCA and Reserve Capacity).

In a former life, I designed and developed auto batteries.
mpnret
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Re: Car battery replacement interval advice

Post by mpnret »

Just hit 7 years on my Sears Die Hard AGM battery. Outside car. Cold winters. I plan on replacing it before this winter with an Interstate battery from Costco.
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wander
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Re: Car battery replacement interval advice

Post by wander »

No plan to replace car battery unnessarily. I have a jump start in each of our cars. I also have battery tester to verify.
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Svensk Anga
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Re: Car battery replacement interval advice

Post by Svensk Anga »

The OEM battery in my Miata went 10 or 11 years. But it was mounted in the trunk (presumably for better weight distribution) and so was not subjected to engine compartment heat. Other cars seem to be 3 or 4 years, so there is plenty of variation.
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Re: Car battery replacement interval advice

Post by indexfundfan »

sport wrote: Sun Aug 08, 2021 12:22 pm There are two variables to consider:
1. What climate do you live in? High temperatures shorten battery life.
2. How many miles per year do you put on the vehicle. High mileage shortens battery life.

A battery with higher ratings will generally last longer than one with lower ratings (CCA and Reserve Capacity).

In a former life, I designed and developed auto batteries.
I'm thinking of getting a battery tester that reports the internal resistance as well as the CCA to test my car batteries regularly. I would then replace a battery only if it is reported to be "bad" by the tester. Do you think this is a viable strategy?
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sport
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Re: Car battery replacement interval advice

Post by sport »

The cost of a new battery is so small compared to the cost and inconvenience of getting stranded, it is not worth trying to get the most use out of one, IMO. If a battery costs $100 and you use it for 4 years, that is only $25 per year. That is only the cost of a tank of gas.
This is especially important if you drive in areas that might not be safe, or if your spouse (or you) are not ready to deal with a no-start situation.
tibbitts
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Re: Car battery replacement interval advice

Post by tibbitts »

My last two batteries in different vehicles lasted more than five years in moderate to difficult circumstances, but it's not a big deal to just replace every few years either, maybe somewhat based on past experience in your area and with your type of driving. Like a lot of things we discuss on the forum it's not a financially significant decision to almost any Boglehead; it's more a matter of a hobby to try to get the best value.
adamthesmythe
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Re: Car battery replacement interval advice

Post by adamthesmythe »

In my experience batteries last a lot longer than 3 years; jumper cables provide a possible way to start the car; and there are ways to test the battery.

So no, I don't replace on a schedule. I suppose if I were planning a drive into the Alaskan wilderness I would rethink however.
livesoft
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Re: Car battery replacement interval advice

Post by livesoft »

Be careful! First, it will be just replacing a battery, but next thing you know you will be replacing the ENTIRE car every year before anything bad happens to it.
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Teague
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Re: Car battery replacement interval advice

Post by Teague »

Batteries seem to have gotten somewhat more robust over the years, and I see fewer low quality offerings these days. In my hot area (fifty 100F+ days so far this year) I seem to have no problem getting 4 years out of a car battery unless I've abused it. If I notice significant corrosion around the terminals before that I will investigate by removing it and charging fully and checking voltage the next day. In such cases it usually will fail to maintain 12.6+ volts overnight and I will replace it at that point. If it is borderline I will do a redneck load test, i.e. remove the fuel pump fuse and crank the starter for several seconds, and re-assess the voltage.

My thinking is that the corrosion largely results from buildup of deposited electrolyte aerosol secondary to overcharging as the alternator attempts to maintain the charge of a failing battery. Catching this early can make things easier on the charging system as well as ensure reliable starting, I figure. I'd certainly be open to battery or charging system experts correcting me if this is magical thinking.
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dbr
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Re: Car battery replacement interval advice

Post by dbr »

SteadyOne wrote: Sun Aug 08, 2021 12:17 pm Having been stuck at random places at random times with the dead battery I decided to replace it regular intervals so to avoid those situations what would be your advice ? Every three years?
How soon after replacing the battery has trouble started? I have sort of logged in at every three years being good timing for cars I have owned where we live. My current vehicle is now at the start of its fourth battery at six years age (average life = two years) and it is not understood what the problem is. I live in cold winters and moderate summers and put very little mileage on the car -- factors to consider. My wife's car under the same situation and even shorter driving trips can be relied on for four or more years over the 17 years she has had it. Most recent battery is a larger CCA and reserve AGM type battery so we will see. I have also done some investigation of charging programing "myths" I have to talk to the dealer about. I now have a device plugged into the cigarette lighter so I can keep track of the running charge level on the battery. It is easy to see when one is headed for trouble when overnight readings head down below 12V rather than 12.4 or more. All of our failures are during worst winter conditions.
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RickBoglehead
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Re: Car battery replacement interval advice

Post by RickBoglehead »

SteadyOne wrote: Sun Aug 08, 2021 12:17 pm Having been stuck at random places at random times with the dead battery I decided to replace it regular intervals so to avoid those situations what would be your advice ? Every three years?
First, if you live in a very hot climate, battery life can be adversely affected.

Second, many places, including auto parts stores and car dealers, will perform a battery test for free. Some will do a battery load test for free, which tests the entire electrical system.

For my nearly 8 year old F-150, I've had the battery tested the last 2 years in November before winter sets in. It passed no problem. I also keep it on a Battery Tender which helps.

If you have a newer vehicle, it may be covered for 5 years of free roadside assistance if you get stranded.

I would not replace a battery based on years unless I was elderly and lived in Florida or Arizona or Texas, then I'd probably do it every 4 - 5 years if I couldn't be bothered to get it tested.
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Nver2Late
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Re: Car battery replacement interval advice

Post by Nver2Late »

We live in a cold climate and travel remote often, so we keep an all-in-one air compressor/jump starter with us. Just another option.

On my truck, I got 15 years on my OEM battery, but I admit the last few I had to jumpstart when the temps go below zero. I tend to be patient and nurse things along, not ideal but that is what I do.
criticalmass
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Re: Car battery replacement interval advice

Post by criticalmass »

SteadyOne wrote: Sun Aug 08, 2021 12:17 pm Having been stuck at random places at random times with the dead battery I decided to replace it regular intervals so to avoid those situations what would be your advice ? Every three years?
See also: the similar auto battery window thread, started a week or two ago.

viewtopic.php?f=11&t=354625

Lots of other similar threads on the topic as well.
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TexasPE
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Re: Car battery replacement interval advice

Post by TexasPE »

I generally listen as the car cranks. I've usually been able to hear a 'slow' crank, which means to me the battery is reaching end-of-life or at least needs an overnight charge. If the slow crank isn't corrected by the overnight charge, I replace the battery. (Full disclosure - I live in SE Texas - a light freeze is the coldest winters we usually see).

Of course, with COVID my cars weren't driven much, and then mostly short trips - not allowing the alternator to fully charge the battery. Once every couple weeks I would put a trickle charger on the battery overnight.

I also have jumper cables (and AAA as a last resort :D ).
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Californiastate
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Re: Car battery replacement interval advice

Post by Californiastate »

We change ours out around the 3 year mark. We replace with factory or a quality brand. I don't need to milk the last electron to feel complete.
Gundy
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Re: Car battery replacement interval advice

Post by Gundy »

Every three years. This is absolute.

The cost is minimal. Zero hassle. A dead battery is 100% avoidable and totally unacceptable.
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NESF
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Re: Car battery replacement interval advice

Post by NESF »

sport wrote: Sun Aug 08, 2021 1:00 pm The cost of a new battery is so small compared to the cost and inconvenience of getting stranded, it is not worth trying to get the most use out of one, IMO. If a battery costs $100 and you use it for 4 years, that is only $25 per year. That is only the cost of a tank of gas.
This is especially important if you drive in areas that might not be safe, or if your spouse (or you) are not ready to deal with a no-start situation.
+1

If it was just me, sure, I'd mess around with tests and jumper cables. That's not the case - I have five others to consider. Just buy a good quality battery and replace every 4/5 yrs. w/o thinking. You're squabbling over $25+/-.
KlangFool
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Re: Car battery replacement interval advice

Post by KlangFool »

OP,

I replaced my car battery every 3 years. And, I do not buy the cheapest car battery. I buy car battery one level above the cheapest.

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Re: Car battery replacement interval advice

Post by Broken Man 1999 »

wander wrote: Sun Aug 08, 2021 12:38 pm No plan to replace car battery unnessarily. I have a jump start in each of our cars. I also have battery tester to verify.
This!

Also have AAA.

We live near metro area, so AAA service call times are not lengthy. Virtually all our driving is city, DW is not running rural roads, so she is always close by.

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epictetus
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Re: Car battery replacement interval advice

Post by epictetus »

just fyi in case your car is a Toyota:

they have 7 year batteries available (full replacement the first 5 years and pro-rated the last 2). we went 7 years on the battery before replacing it.

the cost of the battery was about the same as anywhere else (was around $125- 130 for the battery)

just fyi
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SteadyOne
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Re: Car battery replacement interval advice

Post by SteadyOne »

sport wrote: Sun Aug 08, 2021 1:00 pm The cost of a new battery is so small compared to the cost and inconvenience of getting stranded, it is not worth trying to get the most use out of one, IMO. If a battery costs $100 and you use it for 4 years, that is only $25 per year. That is only the cost of a tank of gas.
This is especially important if you drive in areas that might not be safe, or if your spouse (or you) are not ready to deal with a no-start situation.
This is exactly why I am asking. Looks like three years is a good bet. Mark the calendar and then wait for a good sales discount.
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tibbitts
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Re: Car battery replacement interval advice

Post by tibbitts »

NESF wrote: Sun Aug 08, 2021 3:07 pm You're squabbling over $25+/-.
Not squabbling over $25 might eliminate about half the threads on the forum.
MathWizard
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Re: Car battery replacement interval advice

Post by MathWizard »

I keep a jump pack in the car as well as jumper cables.

If I were to change the battery in advance I would go with5 years.
For older cars, if I can't tell when the battery was bought I just replace it before the first winter.

I often find myself replacing the tires on a used car before the first winter with all weather tires, for safety reasons.
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jabberwockOG
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Re: Car battery replacement interval advice

Post by jabberwockOG »

40 years of driving, lots of that time with 3 cars in our household. Never had a battery go bad in 3 years or less. A Panasonic battery made in Japan lasted 7 years in the Lexus. I tend to wait until there is some sign of battery implement demise like slow crank.

If I wasn't handy or lived in a place where is was extra inconvenient or even dangerous to have a dead battery when out I'd always have the battery tested at 35 months (one month before free replacement expires). And if the battery tested good at 3 years I'd replace it 12 months later (at 4 year anniversary date).

Having said that there are vehicles that are tougher on batteries than others. Generally the more complex luxury vehicles tend to be harder on batteries. They also tend to have some amount of parasitic draw keeping all the proximity sensors and ECMs alive even when the vehicle is sitting.
Silverado
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Re: Car battery replacement interval advice

Post by Silverado »

TexasPE wrote: Sun Aug 08, 2021 2:46 pm I generally listen as the car cranks. I've usually been able to hear a 'slow' crank, which means to me the battery is reaching end-of-life or at least needs an overnight charge.
We are at 8.5 years on our Jeep battery (original). My wife leaves early every day and I listen to her start it from my post near the coffee machine. First time it seems doggy I’ll replace it that night.

And yes, I am surprised and impressed with the 8.5 years. Battery is in the cab, which surely helps.
Californiastate
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Re: Car battery replacement interval advice

Post by Californiastate »

MathWizard wrote: Sun Aug 08, 2021 5:37 pm I keep a jump pack in the car as well as jumper cables.

If I were to change the battery in advance I would go with5 years.
For older cars, if I can't tell when the battery was bought I just replace it before the first winter.

I often find myself replacing the tires on a used car before the first winter with all weather tires, for safety reasons.
How much is your jump pack and what is it's lifespan?
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RickBoglehead
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Re: Car battery replacement interval advice

Post by RickBoglehead »

tibbitts wrote: Sun Aug 08, 2021 5:30 pm
NESF wrote: Sun Aug 08, 2021 3:07 pm You're squabbling over $25+/-.
Not squabbling over $25 might eliminate about half the threads on the forum.
🤣

LMAO
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MathWizard
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Re: Car battery replacement interval advice

Post by MathWizard »

Californiastate wrote: Sun Aug 08, 2021 6:11 pm
MathWizard wrote: Sun Aug 08, 2021 5:37 pm I keep a jump pack in the car as well as jumper cables.

If I were to change the battery in advance I would go with5 years.
For older cars, if I can't tell when the battery was bought I just replace it before the first winter.

I often find myself replacing the tires on a used car before the first winter with all weather tires, for safety reasons.
How much is your jump pack and what is it's lifespan?
Usually just a few jumps, but I get your point.

Preemptive replacement of the battery might be better.
RedDog
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Re: Car battery replacement interval advice

Post by RedDog »

Don’t guess and replace expensive parts…be professional and test.

Battery life can vary greatly…for about $42 you can buy the Topdon 101 battery tester via Amazon…I check our cars every oil change.
JohnF
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Re: Car battery replacement interval advice

Post by JohnF »

Yet to have one fail, but for peace of mind I replace Optima batteries at ten years.
https://www.optimabatteries.com/?gclid= ... XsQAvD_BwE
barnaclebob
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Re: Car battery replacement interval advice

Post by barnaclebob »

SteadyOne wrote: Sun Aug 08, 2021 12:17 pm Having been stuck at random places at random times with the dead battery I decided to replace it regular intervals so to avoid those situations what would be your advice ? Every three years?
In the PNW every 5 years would be safe. Mine go bad at 7 years like clockwork.
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Re: Car battery replacement interval advice

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

I'm surprised nobody's suggested a jumper pack.

With all the cars in our household, the battery pack has been a great backup. A car starts showing signs the battery might be low....put the jumper pack in the trunk. Charge it up over the weekend (takes very little time). I've also built a lighter plug in to charge from the car itself, if that would bring more peace of mind.
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ncbill
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Re: Car battery replacement interval advice

Post by ncbill »

Yep, we just carry one of those newfangled lithium jump packs.

Here the climate is mild enough that batteries slowly die...one winter morning the battery is just a little too weak...so use the jump pack & drive straight to our local mechanic, but most auto parts stores would do as well.
illumination
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Re: Car battery replacement interval advice

Post by illumination »

In my climate (Southwest) it's almost like clockwork they go out in between the 2 and 3 year mark. It doesn't matter the brand. In fact, I've actually had worse luck with dealership brand car batteries.

The only think I hate about replacing early before it's an issue is I don't get the free replacement since they need to test to give you a warranty replacement. But considering a car battery is around $100 and a tank of gas right now is around $50, it's a pretty cheap indulgence to avoid getting stranded and just eat it.

I get mine at either Costco or Walmart. Since most of my travel is close by, just not a big deal when they go out. I can also usually tell when they are on the way out, car just a slightly slower sound when starting.
Oreamnos
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Re: Car battery replacement interval advice

Post by Oreamnos »

barnaclebob wrote: Sun Aug 08, 2021 8:56 pm
In the PNW every 5 years would be safe. Mine go bad at 7 years like clockwork.

LOL. Also in the PNW, and I've also always been 7 years. Just had my truck battery die a couple of weeks ago at almost 8. May have to adjust my standard expectation...
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wander
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Re: Car battery replacement interval advice

Post by wander »

Jack FFR1846 wrote: Sun Aug 08, 2021 9:23 pm I'm surprised nobody's suggested a jumper pack.

With all the cars in our household, the battery pack has been a great backup. A car starts showing signs the battery might be low....put the jumper pack in the trunk. Charge it up over the weekend (takes very little time). I've also built a lighter plug in to charge from the car itself, if that would bring more peace of mind.
What are differences between jump pack and jumper pack? I saw a few people mentioned about jump pack before you and wonder why you are surprised.
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Re: Car battery replacement interval advice

Post by RedDog »

ncbill wrote: Tue Aug 10, 2021 1:47 pm Yep, we just carry one of those newfangled lithium jump packs.

Here the climate is mild enough that batteries slowly die...one winter morning the battery is just a little too weak...so use the jump pack & drive straight to our local mechanic, but most auto parts stores would do as well.
Capacitor type jump starters are even better for most applications. They use residual battery current from the “dead” battery to charge the capacitor versus having to remember to charge a lithium one.

They’re available from Amazon.
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Re: Car battery replacement interval advice

Post by ClevrChico »

Five years in the Midwest is a good interval. Adjust for high heat.
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Re: Car battery replacement interval advice

Post by hudson »

SteadyOne wrote: Sun Aug 08, 2021 12:17 pm Having been stuck at random places at random times with the dead battery I decided to replace it regular intervals so to avoid those situations what would be your advice ? Every three years?
I'm in a mild climate; batteries have lasted 7-8 years. I used to push the envelope on batteries...no more.
My current practices:
For my wife's vehicle, replace battery every 4 years.
For my vehicles, every 4 to 5 years.
I buy the largest CCA battery that will fit in my battery box. viewtopic.php?p=6153294#p6153294
I ignore warranties and go for the largest CCA battery.
I have an anti corrosion washer put on the positive post. viewtopic.php?p=5582239#p5582239
If the battery looks bad, I follow this advice: viewtopic.php?p=4314627#p4314627
Since the batteries can weigh 50 lbs., I'll let AutoZone, OReilly's, or Advance install the battery. When I get home, I'll double check the hold downs and clamps. I'll label the battery with the purchase date and put the projected replacement date in Google Calendar.
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Re: Car battery replacement interval advice

Post by NYC_Guy »

Yet another reason I love my Tesla. Cheers!
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FrugalInvestor
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Re: Car battery replacement interval advice

Post by FrugalInvestor »

SteadyOne wrote: Sun Aug 08, 2021 3:32 pm
sport wrote: Sun Aug 08, 2021 1:00 pm The cost of a new battery is so small compared to the cost and inconvenience of getting stranded, it is not worth trying to get the most use out of one, IMO. If a battery costs $100 and you use it for 4 years, that is only $25 per year. That is only the cost of a tank of gas.
This is especially important if you drive in areas that might not be safe, or if your spouse (or you) are not ready to deal with a no-start situation.
This is exactly why I am asking. Looks like three years is a good bet. Mark the calendar and then wait for a good sales discount.
3-years is my rule-of-thumb but I just got mine replaced two months shy of that because it tested low on my latest service. It may have lasted but not worth the risk.
Have a plan, stay the course and simplify. Then ignore the noise!
Californiastate
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Re: Car battery replacement interval advice

Post by Californiastate »

NYC_Guy wrote: Tue Aug 10, 2021 5:00 pm Yet another reason I love my Tesla. Cheers!
A conventional battery costs about $150. Do you plan on replacing yours after the 8 year 150k warranty is up?
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Re: Car battery replacement interval advice

Post by johnubc »

Buy a Jump Box - and carry it around in the vehicle. When the battery starts having issues - replace it.
sport
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Re: Car battery replacement interval advice

Post by sport »

For those who install/remove auto batteries or use jumper cables, chargers, boosters, etc. please remember to ALWAYS use eye protection when working around an auto battery. The "empty" space within the battery is actually filled with an explosive mixture of hydrogen and oxygen. If you make any sparks close to the battery, and one of those sparks catches a stream of that gas, the battery can literally explode in your face. It doesn't happen often and thus leads to a false sense of security. Many (most?) auto batteries today contain devices to prevent this event, but considering the possible consequences, it is not wise to rely on them. The major explosion eye hazard surprisingly is not the acid. It is actually shrapnel pieces of the battery cover. Acid is bad, sharp projectiles are much worse.

When I worked for an auto battery company, some of my projects involved the design and implementation of explosion prevention features. We exploded a lot of batteries in the development process. I hold two patents related to such devices. So, I know whereof I speak. A word to the wise...
iamlucky13
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Re: Car battery replacement interval advice

Post by iamlucky13 »

SteadyOne wrote: Sun Aug 08, 2021 12:17 pm Having been stuck at random places at random times with the dead battery I decided to replace it regular intervals so to avoid those situations what would be your advice ? Every three years?
As others mentioned, where you live plays a role in how long batteries can be expected to last, so there isn't universally applicable advice. I live in a mild climate and my 19 year old car is on its second battery. Meanwhile, others are reporting less than 3 years.

If you have been experiencing failures on roughly 4 year intervals, and want decent assurance against stranding, then replacing every 3 years seems reasonable.

Another option is to have the battery load tested (many places that sell batteries will do it for free) when you reach your planned interval, and wait another 6-12 months if it passes.

Personally, I'm the type to wait until I notice the cranking getting weak. I keep a set of jumper cables on-hand just in case. The only time I recall using them for myself was because I left the lights on, not because the battery was bad. I've used them numerous times to help out others.
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Re: Car battery replacement interval advice

Post by iamlucky13 »

Californiastate wrote: Sun Aug 08, 2021 6:11 pm
MathWizard wrote: Sun Aug 08, 2021 5:37 pm I keep a jump pack in the car as well as jumper cables.

If I were to change the battery in advance I would go with5 years.
For older cars, if I can't tell when the battery was bought I just replace it before the first winter.

I often find myself replacing the tires on a used car before the first winter with all weather tires, for safety reasons.
How much is your jump pack and what is it's lifespan?
My wife has a Booster Pac ES2500, which is an older style lead acid jumper pack, which means relatively big and heavy.

It is at least 12 years old, and has been abused (sat in a hot trunk for multiple years without being charged before we were married). Despite age and abuse, it was still able to start an Outback with a weak battery, but will no longer start a dead battery. It has worked well enough, and because of the relatively large capacity, which is useful during power outages, I will probably spend the $60 or so to replace the little AGM battery inside.

The little lithium ion jump starters vary in performance. Some of them actually can match a medium-sized lead acid jump starter like mine when new. Here's a decent comparison, where several models actually beat a slightly smaller lead acid starter (Summary: Audew, Sanrock, DBPower, and Top Vision brands all performed well even with completely dead batteries):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VsuwfAmXU0M

Given what is known about how lithium ion batteries age when stored at high temperatures, I would hope useful lives in the same ballpark as standard lead acid batteries, and less than AGM batteries, but frankly, I wouldn't be surprised if they get weaker faster than lead acid batteries. I haven't seen any longevity tests in this application.
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