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Battery

Would you replace a battery (GM Pro) just because it is 5.5 years old?

Not if you live in a part of the country that has temperatures more or less normal. But they say if you live in a place like Phoenix where it is terrible hot. The heat really knocks the life out of a battery. Honda Bill

Yes. After a battery reaches three years old it’s rated performance starts to deminish. But if you want to be sure if the battery requires replacement, most autoparts stores will check your battery with a conductance battery tester for free. If the battery tester indicates the battery requires replacement, believe it.

Tester

I would not change it out immediately but I think I might make it a priority when winter approaches. I replace my batteries around the 6 year mark or when they begin to show signs of age.

I don’t change them until they die, but I might throw jumper cables in the trunk.

A case in point, my 2004 PT Cruiser was 7 1/2 years old with the original battery when It was totaled by someone turning left and looking right and driving right into the side of it. If I had proactively replaced the battery it would have been a complete waste.

No way!! I don’t change them until they go bad either. I just changed the original battery out of my mom’s 2000 Grand Marquis last fall, it was still starting the car and holding a charge (short term), but it had got to the point that if the car sat for a couple weeks without being started the battery would be dead when needed. I buy top of the line batteries and they usually last 6-9 years. The battery in one of my cars is now 6 or 7 years I old don’t remember for sure which (need to look at the sticker with the manufacture date), it’s still doing fine. I had to replace the batteries in a couple of my cars in 2010 and 2011, both batteries have a 3 year free replacement warranty and 8 year pro rated warranty. I do carry jumper cables in the trunk all the time just in case of an emergency.

If your battery isn’t a sealed type just keep the water checked and filled regularly and it may last a few more years. Some batteries have an indicator on them that’s green as long as the battery is in good condition, when they start getting weak the indicator will turn red.

In my own car, no. In my wife’s car, yes. But that’s because I know what the sound of a weak/dying battery trying to start a car is.

Just because it’s starting the car doesn’t mean it’s still a good battery. It may have no reserve power, If you were to leave the trunk ajar for an hour or have a sudden heatwave it may fail with little or no warning. Is it worth putting off an $85 expenditure for 6-12 months?

I generally replace the batteries in my cars when they reach 5-6 years of age even if they haven’t failed yet. My cars are usually on the open road and due to wide open spaces I have no desire to get stranded at night in the middle of nowhere because of an iffy battery.

This is a personal choice based on what gives you peace of mind. If you would feel better about replacing it due to age, go for it. I usually replace my batteries when I can tell they are getting weak or they die, whichever occurs first. Only once have I replaced a battery because its age made me uncomfortable. That battery was 11 years old and lived in my daily driver, but would still start the car on a -15 degree day.

Once my battery is 3 years old, I start doing annual load tests.
By the 6 year point, even with a “good” load test result, I still replace the battery.

Why do I do that?
Because my experience has been that maintenance-free batteries can go from “good” to dead in an astonishingly short period of time, so rather than risk being stranded in an inconvenient place, at an inconvenient time, I just go ahead and “splurge” on spending the $75 or so that it costs for a new battery.

And, then there is the reality that you can wind up killing your expensive alternator by forcing it to try to keep a weak battery charged. You may differ, but–IMHO–it is false economy to try to wring the last bit of life out of a car battery.

In a high-end car with lots of computers and memories, you can save yourself some headaches if you pro-actively replace the battery at 5-6 years. In base model with a stick shift, I would wait until it sounds a bit sluggish starting the car. May as well get your money’s worth.

As someone noted, it also matters whether it is your wife’s car or your car. My approach to maintenance on my wife/daughter’s cars is different than it is for my daily driver.

I changed mine when the starter slowed down a little. It’s been normal now for three years. Your new battery can be a good way to express yourself. I bought one of those AGM batteries as a selling point in case I wanted to sell the truck in a few years.

I figure that emotions play a big part in the sale of a used truck. If a buyer knows about batteries, he might concentrate on the battery while figuring that he can hide the upholstery with a seat cover.

In conclusion; creating some insane theory can motivate you to buy anything. I’m so proud of that battery that I admire it every time I open the hood which happens at every oil change that I do myself. Really good batteries only cost about $75. Mine cost a lot more but I’m high tech at something now. Just keeping current.

Here’s what a bad battery can do.

The son-in-law drove his vehicle with a bad battery. Over time this caused the alternator to fail from trying to recharge the dead battery. With no charging system and with the bad battery the electric radiator cooling fan never came on at stops and the engine would overheat. After a couple of episodes of the engine overheating the head gasket failed and the turbo overheated.

So now he has a vehicle with a dead battery, a burned up alternator, a blown head gasket, and a burned up turbo. Off to the junkyard!

Tester

No, but I own a “jumper box” and several types of chargers. I have an '03 Honda Civic with the original battery and it still fires up every time.

A new battery isn’t a huge expense. If you feel more comfortable replacing the battery every 5 or 6 years then it is a good idea for you to do so. Waiting on AAA and/or missing an appointment or family event as a result of a dead battery is plenty of reason to replace the battery.

Just because I would run a battery until it dies, doesn’t make that the right thing for others to do.

The voltage drain in my Lincolns and the Lincoln my youngest son owned is pretty considerable for an hour or so after the engine was shut down and before they settled down for some sleep. This is due to sheer electronic complexity and the draw is in the 700-750 milliamps range for that first hour or so before dropping to 150 or so.

Allowing one of those cars to sit for some weeks without use can often mean the battery charger has to come out even with a good battery in place, much less a questionable one.

Here in the north east I usually get 7+ years on a battery. Heat is what really kills a battery. Only hot here 4 months out of the year so batteries last longer.

One of the failure modes of aging batteries is that two of the plates can short out. This occurs from the normal debris that falls off the plates to the bottom over the life of the battery, and that fallen debris pile rises enough to short out two cells.

When that happens, your alternator is now charging an 11 volt battery (13.2 - 2.2 = 11v). Alternators don’t last long at all in that case.

With no charging system and with the bad battery the electric radiator cooling fan never came on at stops and the engine would overheat.

It’s amazing that he was able to drive the car with no charging system and a bad battery.

I am amazed too, with a 1987 Aires with a 2 year old battery I heard the alternator pop and my lights got dim and the car was misfiring by the time I got the 1 1/4 miles home.

5.5 years? No…But I would have it load tested…As long as it passes a load test, you are good to go…Quality lead-acid starting batteries that are never deep-discharged or subjected to a lot of pounding and vibration have the potential of lasting 7-9 years…“economy” type batteries are done in 4 or 5 years…