Smart Motorist » How Long Do Car Batteries Last? (5 Tips to Last Longer)

How Long Do Car Batteries Last? (5 Tips to Last Longer)

A car battery comes as one of the most important thing in a vehicle. This automobile cell starts the engine and powers some parts of the vehicle system. However, many drivers do not know how long car batteries last.

So how long do car batteries last? Well, these items (original or new) have varying lifetimes. Moreover, these periods depends on different factors that you will discover in this post. We’ll also show you the best ways to extend the power of your car battery.

What’s The Average Lifetime And Charge Of My Battery?

Today, companies design batteries that can work at full charge until the end of its life. Although it helps you to reach a long destination before the battery shuts down, this feature might stop you from noticing any signs that your battery has become worn out.

It isn’t effortless to determine the lifetime of this product. However, some reasons can extend or shorten the lifespan which include excess cold or heat, longer driving times, the health of the drive belt and alternator.

Although you might rarely use your car, you will have to replace its power unit. Now the question comes- how long do car batteries last on an average?

Usually, these items have a lifespan of three to five years. If you use it, pass this time frame, the battery might shut down without showing any warning signs. As a result, experts suggest getting a new unit after five years or carry out a test (after three years or more) to know its condition.

What Are the Factors that can Affect Car Battery Life?

Since you have an idea of the lifespan of this part of your vehicle, let’s see the different factors that can affect its lifespan.

1. Number of Use Cycles

The cyclic life of a car battery depends on the model of the unit. For example, gel batteries offer use cycles of up to 5000, mainly under regular use. But some models of lead-acid batteries feature lower cycles of 700.

Overall, the higher the number of use cycles on a cell, the longer its lifespan. You can use this idea to determine how long does electric car batteries last too.

2. Power Drawn From the Battery

Power Drawn From the Battery

Also known as effects of depth of discharge, the amount of energy drawn from the battery determines its lifespan. Let’s say you turn on the AC in the vehicle, and it uses less power. But if you add the DVD, stereo and other electronic devices, the battery will lose more energy because of the excess load. So as a general rule, the less power you draw from the unit, the higher its lifespan.

As mentioned earlier, lead batteries feature between 300 to 700 use cycles. But if you drain the battery, you will have fewer use cycles. To extend the use cycle, try to use about 10% of the battery power.

3. Temperature outside the Vehicle

How long do car batteries last in cold and hot environments? Typically, temperatures have a high impact on the item’s life cycle however it works best at ranges of 18.3 ° to 32.2° C. This means if you use a vehicle in environments with extreme temperatures, the batteries will fail quickly.

Despite how long car batteries last, cold areas can also drop the quality of the cell. You can avoid this problem by using the item under ideal conditions.

“How long do car batteries last in Florida?” comes as common question mainly due to the intense heat. As expected, a battery offers about two or three years of service in this location. But in colder states, you will have double this lifespan.

4. Recharge Times

When you recharge a battery, it does not regain energy at the same rate. For example, if a unit needs 10 hours to become reach full charge, it can take 6 hours to hit the 90% mark while 4 hours will cover the extra 10%. To control the recharge voltage and rate, the unit works with a charge controller.

When using a maintenance-free battery, avoid overcharging it. For gel models, stop charging when it reaches 13.8 to 14.1 volts. If you use an AGM cell, aim for 14.4 to 14.6 volts.

5. The Frequency of Trips Taken in Your Car

The Frequency of Trips Taken in Your Car

Apart from the reasons above, the type of trips you make determines the lifespan of the car battery. Let’s say you do regular short trips, the unit will quickly fail as this habit drains a lot of power. Moreover, by turning on and off the ignition (within short intervals), the vehicle cannot recharge the battery adequately.

When you combine these factors, the lifespan of the unit drops at a massive rate. For instance, if you undercharge a battery with a lifecycle of 5 years, it could end up with 3 years.

How Long Do Car Batteries Last for Parked or Stationary Vehicles?

After parking a vehicle for an extended period, people worry if it will start. Luckily, car batteries can endure at least two months or more of idleness.  However, the exact duration depends on the condition of the battery and the work it does.

If you have a car or battery in optimum condition, the vehicle will come after spending 2 -3 months in the garage. But vehicles by BMW tend to run down after four weeks without driving.

If you plan not to use the vehicle for an extended period, ask a trusted person to power the car and drive around the block for a few minutes. If there’s no space for driving, throttling the engine to 2000 RPMs for a few minutes will also help.

Have you returned from a trip and found a dead car battery? Solve this problem by keeping jumper cables nearby. If you have a spare battery in your garage, keep it healthy by charging it every three weeks.

Tips for Making Your Car Battery Last Longer

Tips For Making Your Car Battery Last Longer

You can keep your battery healthy with some simple tips. So how long do car batteries usually last with constant care. Well, they will endure years of use and give your money’s worth by using the following tips.

  • Take your battery to a mechanic for annual tests and cleaning. If you want to get a new one, invest in a model that has the same power as the one that came with the vehicle.
  • If you use bad roads or dirt trails, perform checks on the battery cables. Then find any loose connections, tighten them to enhance the battery lifespan. Since rough roads have bumps, they can move the battery around and weaken the connection.
  • When charging a battery, do not use until it’s full. Avoid using any electronic devices in the vehicle, especially in a parked car. If you ignore this step, the battery becomes weak while the alternator works harder, thereby damaging both items.
  • Check your battery with a battery tester to avoid unexpected failure. You can perform this test at the same time that you change your engine oil.
  • If you stay in a location with low temperatures, your car battery might not last as expected. But if you park in a heated garage and drive less in such areas, you can increase the life cycle of the unit.

Wrap Up

In summary, How long do car batteries last depends on a wide range of factors such as – recharge times, use cycles, trips, temperatures and electronics.

Many car owners also wonder how long car batteries last especially if it’s the original battery. Usually, batteries last for 3 to 5 years, but as mentioned earlier, the above factors can shorten or extend the duration. For cells in parked vehicles, the battery tends to run down after three months.

You can extend the car battery by performing regular checks, tightening loose cables and allowing the item to charge completely. If you stay in a cold area, park the vehicle in a heated garage.