CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Battery Life

I live in Vermont and drive a 2003, Toyota, Rav 4, with 88,000 miles on it. The car still has it’s original battery and I was wondering when if ever should I be getting a new battery for it. Please don’t tell me to get a new battery when the car will not start.

Few batteries make 7 years, so if you want to avoid being stranded, get a new one.

You got your money’s worth out of this one. After five years or so, you’re on borrowed time. I’d replace it now, or at least before next winter.

I have an '03 Honda with the original battery. I might replace it, but if it won’t start the car some day then it will be time. I’ll just jump it with my booster battery pack and get a new one at Walmart.

If you never want to experience the “battery dead won’t start” scenerio - then replace the battery now before it conks out on you.

If you are concerned then change it out. It has lived well past the average life.

You need a new battery. Functioning batteries that are beyond the 6 year range are rare.

Thanks.

I will differ in this way. IF you live in an area that does not got too hot, and IF you maintain your battery properly and IF the battery is of good quality and IF there are no electrical problems, you should be good for 10 years. I generally get to that ten year mark and can tell when it starts to show it’s age and replace it.

Note: heat is a killer of batteries, so where do most manufacture’s put the battery? In the hot engine compartment of course. I had one car with the battery under the back seat. The battery lasted forever. However I do know of some people who put an hefty individual over that battery and gave them a hot seat.

Thanks for you help, I do live in an area where it’s cooler than warmer. I was not looking to push the battery to it’s limit just interested in not having my wife get stuck on the road. Your input and all the others have helped me a great deal. Thanks again.

The battery in my truck is now 13 years old or more. It is still a strong cranker. Before you toss your old battery, check the specific gravity, take it to a parts store such as pep boys, and put it on the battery tester to see how well it is holding a charge, and test the output voltage with a multi meter. It if passes all these tests, it is still a good battery and should last a long time. If it is a wet battery if not you cant test the specific gravity. Always use distilled water when you fill it and keep it clean on the outside to avoid corrosion elsewhere. If you are worried about a bat failure, carry a spare gel type in the trunk. They are easy to service and simple to change.

I think the biggest killer of batteries is the heat. The cold will show you how bad the battery is, but it doesn’t really kill the battery. Here in the North East…I’ve kept MANY batteries past 7 years…even a few up to 10 years. Battery in my 05 4runner is original…and during the real cold days (-8) this winter…the battery turned the engine over good and strong.

Thanks for all the tips.