The average car battery will need replacing after 5 to 7 years of use though how well the battery is maintained and the original quality of the battery will determine the overall lifespan. As car batteries age, they will become less reliable resulting in an increased possibility of vehicle breakdown – the number one reason of vehicle breakdown call-out services.
How Many Years do Car Batteries Last?
There’s no set rule for how many years a car battery will last, but here’s a couple of examples to give you an idea on what to expect based on your situation. It might be worth taking into account that whilst the number one cause of call-outs for vehicle breakdown services is battery related, only 7 percent of car batteries fail due to factory defects.
Batteries with Short Lifespan
These are the main reasons that car batteries have a short lifespan.
A constant state of low charge
Car batteries last longer when they’re kept consistently fully charged. When a vehicle is parked and not used for extended periods, car batteries tend to deteriorate quicker because they lose charge. This is in part dependent on the car as many modern vehicles rely on the battery to keep alarms and computer systems active when the engine is turned off. Some cars consume more power than others when switched off. A car battery that consistently remains at a low state of charge will struggle to fully charge (acid stratification).
As with cars that aren’t used very often, this also applies to a driver that only uses their vehicle for a daily short trip only, as this doesn’t allow the battery to properly charge.
Climate is also significant as the colder it is, the longer it takes a battery to charge. A car battery charges due to chemical reactions and cold temperatures slow this down. Add to this, in winter the increased use of lights and windscreen wipers all takes it toll on the battery. At freezing temperatures, the charge capacity of a car battery is also reduced by around 20 percent meaning that the battery holds less charge than in a warmer climate.
Hot climates also don’t make life for the car battery any easier. The optimal temperature for a car battery is around 26°C and in hot climates of 35°C or more, the electrolyte inside the battery can get hot and begin to evaporate, significantly reducing the battery lifespan if not properly maintained.
Then there’s the quality of the battery that’s been installed. A cheap battery may comprise of lower quality components that may affect the ability to start the vehicle after it’s been standing for some time (Reserve Capacity). Cold Cranking Amps (CCA) is also another important fact as this determines the battery’s ability to start the engine in cold temperatures.
Based on the criteria above or similar, a car battery may last for only 3 years before it requires replacement.
Batteries with Long Lifespan
Pretty much the opposite of the above should see through a long battery lifespan; a good quality battery in a car that is driven daily for enough mileage to maintain a full charge and in a optimal climate may last for 10 or more years. More so if the vehicle is kept in a garage and away from the cold when not in use.
How Many Years do Car Batteries Realistically Last?
The examples above are the extremes of how many or how few years a car battery will last. The majority of drivers, their driving habits and the climate in which their vehicle is used fall somewhere between those examples meaning that a car battery lasts on average about 5 to 7 years.
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