Wondering how long car batteries last?
You’re not alone.
That’s because batteries are an essential part of any car.
You don’t want to find yourself stranded on a long road trip, your car failing to start because yep…
…your batteries chose the perfect time to die.
The good news is, you don’t have to do an impossible guessing game with your batteries.
That’s because these batteries do have an average expiry time, which is influenced by a few factors such as temperature and the way you drive.
Interested to know more about your batteries?
This blog is for you.
In it, we’ll look at:
- The life expectancy of your batteries
- The factors that influence its longevity
- How to tell if your batteries are giving out
- Five tips on extending your battery’s life
Let’s dive in!
The Life Expectancy of Your Car’s Batteries (It’s Probably Not What You Thought)
Have a brand new car?
You probably think it’s invincible.
You feel that it’s strong enough to survive for decades without giving you a single headache.
I hate to break this to you, but it’s not.
Although your car’s engine and body may last for decades with proper care…
…other components, like your batteries, won’t.
So, how long do car batteries really last?
In short, four to five years.
Yup, it’s probably not what you thought.
Your batteries won’t live on as your car ages with grace.
In fact, you’ll probably have to replace them a couple of times before you drive your car into the ground.
But to be honest, four to five years is still taking a wild guess.
Your batteries can last longer, or shorter, depending on a handful of factors.
Here they are…
5 Factors that Affect Your Car Batteries’ Life
Yup, not all car batteries die out at the same time.
Yours can live for over five years, or under three, depending on a few seemingly random (but very important) factors.
Check out these five.
1. Where You Live
Ever worry that the climate in your hometown is affecting your car?
Heads up: it is.
The hotter your climate, the more you have to look out for your car.
And it’s not just the body’s paint, which can fade with excessive sunlight.
It’s also your batteries, which deteriorate much quicker when exposed to heat.
If you live in a hot climate, you can expect your batteries’ lifespan to be no more than three years.
2. Your Driving Habits
Ever hop into your car for a quick trip to 711 and back?
You know, the kind that takes no more than 15 minutes.
If you have…that’s totally fine.
But if you make that a habit, it’ll not be that great for your car’s batteries.
You see, when you turn on your car, the batteries release a ton of energy to start it up.
As the car continues to run, the batteries will recharge, making up for the energy released at startup.
However, if you turn your car off soon afterwards, the recharging will stop before the batteries are fully charged.
This habit will keep your batteries charged at consistently low levels, which will wear them out sooner than expected.
3. How Often You Use Your Car
If you’re one of those people who turn their cars into mini barns for cats in winter…
…your batteries probably won’t last long.
That’s because you need to turn on your car to recharge your batteries.
The longer you leave it standing in the garage, the lower its batteries levels (and life) will get.
4. Which Electronic Systems You Use
I know, it’s fun to blast down the highway with your car’s speakers at maximum levels, the airconditioner set to high, and the interior lights all on.
But here’s the thing.
The more electronic systems you use, the less your batteries get to live.
5. The Type of Batteries You Have
Not all car batteries are created equal.
Gel batteries have a cyclic life of 500 to 5,000 cycles.
On the other hand, AGM batteries have a cyclic life of 300 to 700 cycles.
The higher your batteries’ cyclic life, the longer they’ll last, and vice versa.
5 Signs Your Car’s Batteries Won’t Live Much Longer
Ok, so now you have a general idea of how long your car’s batteries will last.
You know it depends on your driving habits and where you live.
Still, that leaves things pretty vague.
If you’ve had your car for some time, how do you know when it’s time to change your batteries?
Here are five signs the right time is probably just around the corner.
1. You Can Feel Yourself Aging As You Try to Start Your Car
You’re burning up in your oven-like car, twisting your key in the ignition.
You twist again and again, but nothing happens.
You don’t give up.
Finally, your exhausted-sounding car sputters to life.
If you’re having this experience, drive to a car shop right now and have your batteries replaced.
This sign means those batteries don’t have much life left, and the next time you take your car out may be the time you get stranded in the desert.
2. A Deteriorating Driving Experience
Does it feel like everything is dying around you as you drive your car?
The music on your radio is a mere whisper.
You can’t see the receipts you’re rummaging for in your glove compartment because the lights are so dim.
Even your wipers are arthritic and slow, hardly keeping up with the rain washing down on your windshield.
These signs mean your car probably needs new batteries. Like, today.
3. A Rotten Egg Smell
If you open your hood and stagger backward because the smell of rotting eggs hits you in the face, that’s a bad sign.
It means that your batteries could be leaking, and you need to change them ASAP.
4. Your Batteries’ Shape
Car batteries are born rectangular.
If you open up your hood and see them in any other shape, that probably means something is wrong. Heat and cold can do a cruel number on your batteries, causing them to swell and crack.
Get them replaced before it’s too late.
5. Signs of Corrosion
Notice an alien white ashy substance near your car’s batteries?
That’s a sign of corrosion.
When your batteries’ connectors get corroded, the result can be voltage issues and trouble starting up your car.
Five Tips on Extending Your Car Batteries’ Life
If you followed the steps above and found out that your batteries needed changing, then good for you!
You’ve saved yourself a huge headache and a great deal of trouble, because you’ll no longer get to experience getting stuck in some random faraway place (trust me, car batteries choose the perfect time to die).
But now that you’ve got new batteries, how do you take care of them?
How do you ensure they last their maximum lifespan?
Here are six tips to help you.
1. Take the Longer Route to 711
Remember those quick less-than-15 minute trips to 711 I mentioned?
It’s time to stop doing them.
I’m not saying you need to cut out the Slurpees in your life.
I’m saying that if ever you go on a quick trip, take the longer route instead.
Or do a detour.
Anything to keep your car running for more than 15 minutes.
2. Never Leave Your Car’s Electronic Systems On
When you arrive home for the night, remember that your car needs to rest too.
You can’t leave it parked in the garage with the headlights or interior lights blazing away throughout the night.
Do this, and your batteries probably won’t last over two years.
3. Take Extra Steps If You Continuously Drive Over Bumpy Roads
If your car’s batteries get loose, they could vibrate and become internally damaged.
This means driving over rocky or bumpy roads could shorten their lifespan.
Have your batteries’ terminal checked regularly for signs of loosening.
4. Be OK with Sweating in the Car While Idling
If you live in an area with high temperatures, you probably sit in your idling car with the air conditioner blasting at full force.
The good news: it’s comfortable.
The bad news: it wears out your batteries’ life.
So if you’re OK with sweating in the car while you wait for your family to do the groceries, you’ll get to keep your batteries for a much longer time.
(Hint: maybe it’s a better idea to turn your car off and wait at the nearest McDonald’s.)
5. Think of Your Car as a Whole
Just like the human body, your car should be thought of as a single unit.
This means you should do your best to take care of all its parts.
Instead of just focusing on prolonging your batteries’ life, be aware of other parts of your engine and electrical system.
Go in for regular tune ups to ensure that everything is right as rain.
How Long Do Car Batteries Last? The Real Answer
Like a ton of car owners, you want your vehicle to perform as well as possible for as long as possible.
Since your batteries directly affect how well your car performs, you’ll want to know how long car batteries last.
Unfortunately, there’s no single answer to this question.
Your batteries’ life depends on your climate, your driving habits, and how well you take care of your car as a whole.
So although car batteries in general last three to five years, you can play a part in lengthening or shortening that life.
Got new batteries?
Follow the five tips above to keep them strong and heatlhy for many years to come.
Image credits: Stock photos from Pixabay