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Tips for a Longer Lasting Car Battery

Car batteries die unexpectedly, making a dead battery a memorable, if not dangerous, event. If you are fortunate, the low battery indicator in your car will flick on before your car’s battery dies, giving you time to drive to a repair shop and have the problem taken care of. While you cannot totally prevent battery failures, there are steps you can take to help avoid the sudden inconvenience of a dead battery and prolong your car’s battery life.

auto technician installing a new car battery into vehicle

Investing in a good battery is good insurance. Your car dealership can recommend the best battery for your car and driving habits. Consumer Reports is also an excellent resource. They test, evaluate, and compare the latest car batteries and are not beholden to a particular manufacturer so their assessments are objective.

How Long Should My Battery Last?

Ideally, a car battery will last about six years, but the average life span of a battery in the U.S. is between two and five years. Climate, vehicle type, driving practices, and vehicle maintenance all affect the health of the battery.

Climate Effects

  • Warm, humid weather inflicts more damage on the battery because of water loss and sulfation, a buildup of lead sulfate crystals. This is the primary cause of battery failure in lead-acid batteries.
  • During cold weather,starting an engine can require twice as much current as needed in warmer conditions. At 0 degrees, a car battery loses about 50 percent of its strength.

How Can I Lengthen My Car's Battery Life?

  • Avoid leaving the lights on or using your plug-in accessories when your engine is not running.
  • Have the battery checked during each routine maintenance service.
  • Check electrical connections to keep the battery clean and dry. To remove corrosion, use a solution of baking soda and water and an old toothbrush.
  • Frequent, short car trips are harder on car batteries than long trips. It takes roughly eight hours of continuous driving for the alternator to fully charge the battery.
  • If short car trips are the norm, go easy on electric auxiliary controls such as entertainment systems and climate controls.
  • Protect your car from extreme cold by parking in a garage or park your car so the engine is not facing the wind.

Expand the life of your car’s battery by considering these tips and keeping up with regular car maintenance at Custom Complete Automotive. We’ll help keep your vehicle in tip top shape. For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact us today!

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About the Author
Eric Riddles

Eric Riddles is an ASE Certified Master Automobile Technician who has been working as an auto mechanic since 1998 and originally joined the team at Custom Complete Automotive in 2005. Eric has numerous certifications in various aspects of car repair and spent 10 years training the next generation of auto technicians at a local high school Auto Shop classroom.

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