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How Long Do Car Batteries Last For?


How long do car batteries last?

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.

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 northern climates, a battery may last five years or longer, but in hot southern locales, a car battery will typically last approximately three years.

Batteries reside in a harsh under-the-hood environment where temperatures can easily exceed 200 degrees Fahrenheit in hot weather. 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.

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.

What Is Cold Cranking AMPS Rating?

The cold cranking amps rating, for example 650 CCA, is an industry standard measure of how much electrical power a battery can provide at zero degrees Fahrenheit. Never confuse this rating with "cranking amps" a rating based on an easier test that produces inflated numbers. Some import automakers state battery power requirements using an amp-hour rating, for example 78 Ah. This rating is based on the number of minutes a battery can provide a specified level of electrical current, typically 20 amperes. To avoid electrical system problems and a visit to the repair shop, never install a battery with a CCA or Ah rating that is lower than what the vehicle manufacturer recommends. A higher-rated battery will work if it fits properly, but is usually unnecessary and may have a shorter service life in hot climates.

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