CarTalk.com Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Battery Question

Hi,

A question on a 2007 Acura MDX with Acura branded battery. No idea if original.

The other night I started talking on the cell phone prior to starting it. I had the key in on position though. The vehicle is overloaded with electronics including navigation, bluetooth, two heating systems, head lights on automatically and wife left passenger seat heater on. Interior lights were all on (probably 9).

So after 15 mins I see a Air Bag warning for Low Power and everything starts flickering. So of course it does not start and requires a jump. It restarts fine and only issue was radio needed code to work again. It happened once this summer too with wife while she waited for someone for 20 mins. It started but reset all sorts of things.

I had the battery tested this past summer and was fine by competent mechanic. Is doing what I did unreasonable or battery flaking out?

I think you are probably at the beginning of the end of the battery. I would replace preventively and move on. A good battery with a good warranty is a one time replacement item unless you keep your car an extraordinarily long time. I recently replace one battery that was 9 years old, so I got good use for the time and cost.

Maybe both. I would not sit in the car for 15 minutes and let that many accessories run. When the battery was tested, did he clean the terminals? You might open the hood and check the condition of the terminals. You may see a white corrosion product. I have a Honda Accord and my first battery lasted about 4 years. You might need a new one. But the mechanic should have found a problem this summer. You could have it tested again to see if there is a problem now.

Sounds like a pretty weak battery. 15 minutes shouldn’t drain any battery, unless it’s the dead of winter and the battery wasn’t charged that much to begin with.

If you drive only short trips, it is possible that your battery never gets fully charged.

I’ve got a 4 year old Acura battery too and was thinking either get a new car or a new battery. Most of the items you mention like auto lights are not great current loads. The seat warmers however, are. It takes a lot of juice to heat those up and strained a battery in the twilight of its life.

I’d give the battery a full charge then have it load tested. I’ve had many batteries last in excess of 5 years and just a couple months ago replaced the original battery in my mom’s '99 Mercury Grand Marquis. The original battery lasted 12 years.

Wow, 12 years is pretty good! I thought I was doing good getting almost 8 out of a battery. (Mfg. by Deka) I live in an area where the temps range from about -5 to 95 seasonally.

I would say i average over 10 years on car batteries in normal use. Those vehicles driven somewhat regularly for reasonable distances to keep it charged. My '03 Camry is driven 1x per week maybe 10 miles and even it is on its original battery. I’ve got a marine trolling motor battery that has been used 3x a week for several years, sat idle all last year but kept charged and is still going strong. It gets charged immediately after use. Personally i would never swap out a battery after only 5 years unless it was abused and showing signs of it.

Thanks!

I forgot to mention the vast majority of driving with this vehicle 10-15 mins.

I have a trickle charger that hopefully will get it back to snuff fully.

Gee…my 7yo battery is just NOW showing signs of needing replacing.

Really depends on where you live. Heat is a killer for batteries. Yet the cold will show you how bad a battery is. Batteries in Florida last 4-5 years…while here in the NE it’s not unusual for batteries to last 10+ years. I’ve owned a couple that went at least 12 years.

Several factors can affect the life of a maintenance free battery, and when they start getting weak, there is nothing that can be done about it. Deep cycling, as is sometimes tried with other battery technologies, only makes matters worse with a maintenance free car battery.

I generally purchase the heaviest (numerically and literally) battery that will fit in my battery box. I am carrying around a few extra pounds, but the lighter you work a maintenance free battery, the longer it lasts. In my mild climate, I normally get 7 years out of the OEM battery and 10 years out of replacements.

The load on your battery at that moment could have been around 30 or 40 amps…That will drain a car battery pretty quickly…

“I forgot to mention the vast majority of driving with this vehicle 10-15 mins.”

There’s your problem right there. That’s not enough driving to keep the battery fully charged.
A chronically under charged lead-acid battery will have a short, unhappy life.
This battery is probably sulfated and not long for this world.

My advice is to get a new battery and from now on charge it with that trickle charger over night every month or two.
You can skip a charge if you go on a road trip of a few hours.

My Brother-in law had an acura, and I work at a Honda store. I can tell you first hand, the factory Honda Batterys are not great, on the lot we replace them all of the time. To be honest most are too small for the loads they are being asked to take, look under the hood of a new Accord and the battery is 1/2 the size of the battery tray. Take that plus all of the electronics you had on and yes you have a dead battery real fast…