A reliability study in 2017 revealed a whopping 44% increase in car owners having battery problems. This isn’t due to factory defects or degrading quality; it’s because of the usage by car owners.
Cars with advanced technology are more convenient for users; they have better infotainment systems, proximity key systems, and more. As convenient as they are, however, they are the key culprits for battery failures.
They play a major role in the lifespan of a car battery, but these aren’t all there is to it.
Want to know how long does a car battery last? Read on to find out its average lifespan and what factors affect your battery’s life.
How Long Does a Car Battery Last?
The lifespan of a car battery depends on several factors, such as where you live, how often you drive, and so on. But if we’re talking about the average, we’re looking at 3 years.
This may or may not apply to you; you may even find that your car battery lasts for about 2 years or so. In an ideal condition, you can squeeze more years from your car battery.
Different factors affect the car battery’s ability to hold its charge. You can recharge it as long as it’s still working, but once it’s dead, you no longer can recharge it. At that point, a car battery replacement is the only solution.
A car battery relies on several chemical reactions to work. For this reason, it’s quite sensitive to environmental factors.
Even if you have the perfect environment and you do all the right steps to make it last, it still won’t stay alive forever. It will experience gradual deterioration; you can slow it down but you can’t stop it.
What Affects the Car Battery Lifespan
To give you a more in-depth idea about how long your car battery will last, let’s look at the factors affecting its lifespan. While each factor can affect your car battery individually, they become even more worrisome when put together. It all starts with the temperature:
1. Extreme Temperature
Extreme heat or cold shortens your car battery’s lifespan, but the heat has a more drastic effect. Although people usually associate winter with battery failures, summer is a bigger threat.
According to AAA, they handled as much as 1.8 million battery-related service calls in summer 2018. Car owners in colder climates can have their batteries last for as much as 6 years.
This is because heat causes important liquids in the battery to evaporate. It also hastens the rate at which the battery deteriorates. If it doesn’t break down on you during summer, it will fail soon after.
By the time winter rolls around, the heat has already weakened the battery. Hence the battery-related issues associated with cold weather.
The cold engine also has thickened oil at this point. As such, the starter would require more electrical current. With the battery’s weakened state, it will likely fail to start.
This is why car owners use different techniques to combat hot weather battery issues. You may install a heat shield or mount it in an isolated area during summer.
Still, extreme cold can take its toll on the battery, so don’t get too complacent, either. It makes it difficult for the battery to hold its charge. Keeping the car out of the cold weather should make the battery warmer, making it easier to start and charge.
2. Driving Frequency and Length
How often do you drive? Do you drive every day or do you leave your car parked for long periods?
The latter will kill your battery faster. How so?
You might think that not using it lengthens its lifespan. On the contrary, driving it daily keeps it fully charged.
Being in a constant state of undercharged can cause crystalline deposits to form. As a result, they prevent the proper charging of the battery in a process called sulphation. This is the number one cause of early battery failures.
This is why you should avoid taking your car out for short trips as much as possible. Drive your car out regularly and in extended periods.
If this isn’t possible (i.e. your commute to and from work only takes a few minutes), consider getting a portable car battery charger. This will ensure you can jumpstart your car battery without the help of another car.
Excessive vibration can short circuit and degrade the internal parts of the battery. It can be due to a loose mounting bracket or some missing parts. To ensure all parts are where they should be, have it checked at regular intervals.
Bumpy roads can also cause excessive vibration. Still, it shouldn’t have that big of an effect if you experience it one time or twice.
If you drive in bumpy roads in your daily routine, however, you’ll need to minimize the vibration. Hold-down hardware can secure your battery so that it doesn’t move as much.
4. Electrical Usage
Your radio, headlights, interior lights, phone chargers, and such use power from your car’s battery to operate. This is why you shouldn’t use them when the engine is off.
While you drive, the battery gets charged and loses charge at the same time. That’s why driving it for long hours can charge it in full.
When the engine is off, leaving your lights on can drain the battery. When this happens, it takes a huge chunk out of the battery’s lifespan. To avoid this, make it a habit to make sure everything is off before you exit the car.
Using these devices while the engine is idle also puts more wear and tear on the battery. Avoid using the air conditioner or radio if the engine isn’t on.
Keep Your Car Battery at Its Optimal State
How long does a car battery last? This guide hopefully provided the answers.
You can’t control the environmental factors, but you can take care of your car battery well. You can use heat shields if you live in a hot area, hold-down hardware to lessen the vibration, and so on. Have it checked by a professional every couple of years, as well.
If you need more tips regarding cars, feel free to read more of our guides!