Modern car batteries are built to last. Yet, regardless of how high a number you see on your warranty card, you can’t guarantee that your battery will last that long, especially without proper maintenance or if your vehicle has been involved in an accident.
Throughout this guide, you’ll learn all about how often should you replace your car battery. We’ll look into the telltale signs that alert you of changing the battery soon and our top picks for the variants that go well with regular vehicles.
What Is the Average Lifespan of a Car Battery?
It depends upon the type of car battery in question. Typically, most vehicles will have the following types of batteries.
- Flooded Lead-Acid Battery: This battery has all the cells connected in series. The electrolyte is typically sulfuric acid, shared by all the electrodes within the battery. The positive electrode consists of lead oxide, whereas the negative electrode is perforated lead. Such batteries often last for about three years.
- AGM Battery: AGM batteries are similar in function to flooded lead-acid batteries. However, they differ in having a more robust structure and isolated cells that make them more durable. AGM batteries can last more than ten years with proper maintenance.
- Li-ion Battery: Li-ion batteries use solid lithium phosphate as an electrolyte. That makes them highly modular and thermodynamically stable. As a result, Li-ion batteries can last for up to 25 years with adequate maintenance.
How Often Should You Replace Your Car Battery?
Most car batteries come with a warranty and usage cycle. You can observe the rating on both the packaging and the battery itself. Nevertheless, you should keep your car battery clean and check its voltage regularly. A few signs tell you whether the battery needs replacement and it’s time to hit the nearest service station.
- There are fumes emitting from the electrodes or the battery case during usage.
- The battery is losing charge more frequently than average.
- There is rust or sulfation on the battery top or the connecting cables.
- The battery is not charging to its full voltage, even when leaving the trickle charger on for hours.
See full this video: Knowing When Your Car Battery Needs to Be Replaced
How To Check Car Battery Life?
You can utilize several ways to check your car battery’s life. A few notable ones include the following.
Using a Battery Maintainer
A battery maintainer helps you preserve your car battery for long-term storage. You can also switch the same device to diagnostic mode and assess the battery’s condition. It’s a straightforward process that you can perform yourself.
First, connect both ends of the battery maintainer to the car battery, and turn it on. Switch it to diagnostic mode and confirm the voltage and current output from the battery. Leave the setup for a few minutes, after which the maintainer can let you know how much battery life can be consumed. If it’s less than 50%, it’s best to replace your car battery.
Using a Multimeter
A multimeter can instantly measure the voltage and current output across the battery’s terminal. Simply set the device to the appropriate range and connect it to a fully charged battery. Let the battery undergo some use and repeat the process.
If there is a massive voltage drop, you should get your battery checked at the nearest service station. It also helps to check the battery terminals for signs of rusting and sulfation that come about as the metal in the electrodes reacts with the electrolyte.
How Much Is a Replacement Car Battery?
It depends upon your variant for replacing your current car battery. A flooded lead-acid battery can cost less than $100, but it’s also the one with the least life span. Instead, you’re better off investing in an AGM battery, which can set you back up to $200. For the best life span, you can invest in a lithium-ion battery that shall cost above $350 for a standard 12V car battery.
The Top 3 Best Replacement Car Batteries
Given the various car battery manufacturers operating in the market, choosing the correct car battery for a particular application may be challenging. But you need not worry; here are our top picks for various categories.
Optima YellowTop Car Battery (Best Value)
When you’re looking for a decent car battery within budget, then Optima YellowTop AGM 12V battery can fit most bills. You can order it online or find it on the battery shelf of any Walmart or Target store. With a sturdy construction, it can last you up to ten years, provided you maintain it properly.
DieHard Gold Series Battery (Best for Pickups and SUVs)
If you own a large pickup or a full-sized SUV, then the DieHard Gold series is your ideal choice. They come with a CCA rating of 850 Amps and hold 150 minutes of reserve power. That can give you enough energy to start the engine in the most adverse conditions.
Antigravity Re-Start Car Battery (Longest Lifespan)
The Antigravity Re-Start series is for those who desire the maximum lifespan from their car battery. A 12V variant can last well over 15 years without any leakage or thermal issues. It’s a lithium-ion battery, which also makes it the lightest of the lot. It’s less than 20 pounds even when brand new and fully charged.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Did My Car Battery Only Last 2 Years?
If your car battery dies after two years, it might be due to improper maintenance or a manufacturing defect. It’s best to take it to the nearest service station for a thorough checkup.
How Do I Know if My Car Battery Is Weak?
Your car battery drains far faster when it’s weak. You can check the terminals occasionally using a multimeter or diagnosing the battery with a maintainer.
Should I Replace My Car Battery Before It Dies?
Yes. An excessively drained car battery can discharge quickly. Moreover, corrosion and sulfation can cause an electrical fire.
Can a Car Battery Last 10 Years?
Yes. Most AGM batteries and all Li-ion batteries can last for up to ten years with adequate maintenance.
Does It Matter What Brand of Battery You Put in Your Car?
Yes, as a few car battery manufacturers specialize in particular aspects. For instance, Optima grants you the best value, whereas Antigravity has the most extended lifespan.
Much like any other electrical device, your car battery has a limited life cycle. We hope this guide helps you understand how often should you replace your car battery. Remember, you can only extend the lifespan with proper maintenance. So, it’s best to pop the hood and check the voltage every now and then.