Car battery Gore – There is no simple answer, but based on decades of industry experience, we know that three key factors affect the life of a car battery: time, heat and vibration.
Car batteries have a finite lifespan
Batteries gradually deteriorate until they can no longer provide enough power to start an engine. This wear time could take three to five years and a vehicle’s usage pattern is one factor contributing to the rate at which a battery will age. Batteries in cars driven mostly on short trips may not fully recharge and batteries in vehicles parked for extended periods naturally self-discharge.
Where you live affects your car battery
Heat facilitates the chemical reaction car batteries use to generate electricity, but it also increases the rate of battery degradation. In cooler climates, a battery may last five years or longer, but in hot locales, a car battery will typically last approximately three years.
Batteries reside in a harsh under-the-hood environment. To combat this heat, automakers may mount the battery in an isolated area, install a heat shield over the battery, or relocate the battery outside the engine compartment, often under the back seat or trunk floor.
Malfunctioning charging system reduces car battery life
While less common than the aforementioned factors, a malfunctioning charging system will also reduce battery life. Persistent under- or over-charging accelerates battery aging. Allowing any car battery to go completely dead will take a big chunk out of its lifespan, even if you can recharge and put the dead battery back in service.
Weak battery warning signs
You may have a battery problem if the starter motor cranks the engine slowly or the Battery/Charging warning lamp illuminates on the dashboard. In older models, dim incandescent headlights, particularly when the car is idling, indicates a weak battery.
Not every failing battery reveals itself through obvious symptoms so take precautions to avoid a dead battery situation. Inspect the car battery at every oil change. Make sure the cable connections are clean and tight and the hold down hardware is secure. Once a battery reaches its third year, have it tested annually. A car battery test identifies the deterioration level so you know when it is time to install a replacement battery. A professional service tech will assist you, conduct a diagnostic test of your car’s battery and starting and charging systems, and if needed, install a new battery on the spot.
Car batteries are not one-size-fits-all
You must consider the battery type, physical size, terminal configuration, and cold cranking amps (CCA) or amp-hour (Ah) rating to ensure you get a car battery that properly fits and functions for your make and model vehicle. Installing an incorrect battery can adversely affect the car’s electrical system and cause major damage if the terminal locations create a short circuit with nearby components. If you are not sure which car battery to buy, consult your owner’s manual or drive in – we’ll help you with all your questions!