Expected automotive battery lifespan

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Old 09-16-16, 04:14 AM
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Expected automotive battery lifespan

2012 Chevrolet Traverse with 6859 miles. As you can see, this is mostly a short trip vehicle.

How can I know when it is time to replace the battery without waiting for the battery to die on me while on a trip? Is there a reliable indicator?
 
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Old 09-16-16, 04:21 AM
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You can take it to a place like Autozone or Advance Auto and they will be able to check if it will take a charge. If you have an ammeter in you car you should be reading close to 14 v as the car is running at a normal idle, slightly less if many accessorizes are running.
 
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Old 09-16-16, 04:39 AM
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The battery in my 2010 jeep didn't give any indication it was going bad. Got in it one morning and it only lit up the gauge for a second or so. That was several months shy of 7 yrs and 60k.
I'm not sure how you can determine how much life a battery has left although putting a load tester on it will let you know if the battery is still strong.
 
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Old 09-16-16, 04:46 AM
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Yes, a load test will tell you if one or all the cells are good and able to take a charge. If one cell shows that it won't take a charge the battery may still crank the car a few times but will quickly go dead. Years back you could tell when a car battery was going bad by the degradation of the starting performance. But today's cars it's all or nothing. No warning signs. But 5 to 7 years seems to be an average.
 
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Old 09-16-16, 04:58 AM
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Biggest problem with batteries getting at end of life is that the decline is so slow that you hardly notice it is cranking a little bit slower as time goes by. As soon as you put the new battery in you go, "wow, it's cranking a LOT better/faster now". Similar to those of us who were glasses and don't notice the decline in vision until we get new ones and go "Wow, I can see a lot better now".

A 4 year old vehicle with that low mileage on it is certainly, as noted, only being used for short trips. That leads to another problem, not having the battery 100% recharged between uses. I agree with Norm, take it to Auto Zone or Advanced and explain your concern. They can either test it with a portable/handheld or they can take the battery out and run a more comprehensive test with their computerized bench test set. At four years, you may not be needing replacement just yet, but it's probably not far off. Down here the heat gets to them; where you are perhaps summer heat AND winter cold?
 
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Old 09-16-16, 05:09 AM
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Expected Lifespan

Thanks, guys. I became concerned when I read that someone was saying 3 years is an expected lifespan of batteries in today's vehicles with so many electronic gadgets. That seemed short to me.

What are your guesses as to the expected life of an original GM battery?
 
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Old 09-16-16, 05:18 AM
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As a wrench turner for many years I have seen battery's last up to 12 years (very rare) but usually around 4 years is normal. I don't trust the hand held testers, I always have mine tested on the bench. If a hand held tells you it is bad it is bad but many times it will tell you good but when a load is applied it shows bad.
 
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Old 09-16-16, 05:18 AM
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The only batteries I've seen that only lasted 3 yrs were either defective or abused. On older vehicles I generally get 8-10 yrs. I just had to replace the battery in my 76 ford 4x4 - it was 11 yrs old. But newer vehicles won't go that long I agree with Norm that 5-7 yrs tends to be the norm. A lot too depends on whether or not you check the electrolyte and add water when needed.
 
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Old 09-16-16, 05:22 AM
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There are occasions that might be true but I think it's the exception to the rule. Today's batteries are much better in terms of efficiency and are much lighter.

I've noticed that when it comes to cars, all related industries seem to progress accordingly. Not sure who is leading who, but if you look at things like oil, as engines become more efficient, lighter and made to closer tolerances the petroleum industry has met the challenge. Or is it that the car manufactures can make closer tolerances because the oil is better formulated?

Batteries also. With the increase of electronics (and the technology progression) the battery manufactures are building more efficient batteries that can handle the loads (although the actual load per item is less than before) or the increase of items depending on the battery for operation.

Tires are another item. They get better. But is the tire getting better because the cars demand it or are the cars taking advantage of the tier technology?
 

Last edited by Norm201; 09-16-16 at 05:26 AM. Reason: fixed spelling and punctuation
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Old 09-16-16, 05:25 AM
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A lot too depends on whether or not you check the electrolyte and add water when needed.
Most tend to be sealed and can't or should not be forced open to add electrolyte.
 
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Old 09-16-16, 05:30 AM
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I know there are still some sealed batteries out there but I've not seen one in awhile.
 
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Old 09-17-16, 08:28 AM
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I am 72 yrs old and most of my batteries over the years failed in their 7th year.

I change them at the end of their 6th year on a warm summer day (at my convenience) - rather than a cold winter day (in a parking lot somewhere) when I can least afford it.
 
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