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Car battery life?

i have a 2002 ford t-bird purchased new august 2001–the car was built in june 2001

i can’t believe that i stll have the original battery–making it 10 years old in june 2011

a few winters the battery went dead and it took over 1/2 hr to jump start it

i now worry that i’m going to get caught while out on the road with a dead battery

what should i expect???

Batteries aren’t very expensive. Shop around for a good deal and replace it. Make sure the new one is fully charged. Not worth getting stranded because you’re too cheap to replace a 10 year old battery for $65.

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You should expect to buy a new battery. You’re on the 10th year of a battery that was expected to last 6 years.

Are you a gambler?

thanks for the reply-----good idea–i’ll get that new one now----
why do you think it lasted so long???

A couple things that could’ve helped: Not being exposed to extreme heat and keeping it nearly fully charged (not letting the battery get run down)

or just luck.

Your concern about your battery is justified, replace your battery.About why your battery “lasted so long” people conclude that as long as the battery was not a factor in either a no crank or a crank no start condition that the battery is good. The reasoning is,“well my car started so the battery is good”. In short, there is move involved in saying a battery is “good” than the battery merely allowing the engine to start. I know it seems illogical in that if my car started why can’t I say my battery is good? I understand the confusion, what I can say is, things don’t work exactly like that.

The warning about driving on a failing battery damaging your alternator can be viewed in the same context of all those warnings you read when you buy a perscription drug, they have to give the warning because it was in some. way to some degree a problem. People that want to sell you an alternator (or already sold you an alternator or sold you an alternator that went bad) will use the OH it was that darn weak battery that took that alternator out

Battery life depends on vibration, charge and temperature. Battery banks used by generating stations are kept charged, cool and immobile can last for 30 years or longer. A good average for a car battery driven a few miles every day is probably 5 to 7 years. Driving on a failing battery can destroy your alternator.

What Gary123 stated is worth repeating:

“Driving on a failing battery can destroy your alternator.”

In other words, it is false economy to try to eke out the last little bit of life remaining in a battery. Even an expensive battery will cost about 20-25% of what it will cost you to replace that alternator when you kill it by making it work overtime to keep that overaged battery charged.

So, not only should the OP worry about being stranded when this old battery dies, he should also be worried about being stranded if and when his alternator fails–along with the significantly higher costs involved once the alternator dies without warning.

I have an '04 T’bird and I’m surprised your battery has lasted this long. You could buy a jumper box, charge it and keep it in the trunk.

For a long time the battery for the T’bird was only available from Ford. It is a special battery because it sits in the trunk of the T’bird. Now other auto supply and parts stores have replacement batteries available. Either AutoZone, or Advanced Auto Parts should have a replacement battery for you.

thank you for the good advice
i’ll try auto zone
ya i am supprised the battery is still good- had oil changed in nov and the ford dlr said the battery was still good when they did the 13 pont inspection

You don’t need a new battery at this moment. But, but you need to be prepared in case the battery fails. Find a place to buy a replacement, as I said before the T’bird uses a unique battery and not everyone sells them.

Be ready to jump your car if the battery fails. A membership in AAA is one way or having a jump box or jumper cables at the ready is another. In the T’bird you might need to use the key to open the trunk. Look behind the driver’s seat for the key lock to unlock the trunk manually if necessary.

My guess is your T’bird is “lightly” used and spends lots of time in a nice comfy garage. You definately are getting good battery life, but until it shorts out you can keep using it.

We have a 2003 Toyota 4Runner we purchased new in July of 2003. Until last October, it still had the original battery. However, this is the car my wife drives, so I replaced the battery even though it seemed fine. I decided that for the price of a new battery, it was worth the peace of mind.

A competent technician can load-test the battery and see how much real capacity it has left. Probably not much, but enough to still start your car…

With lead-acid batteries, especially starting batteries, if they don’t just fail outright, then they slowly get weaker and weaker, losing capacity until they just can no longer crank the engine…A quick load test will reveal that …

I checked the battery with my voltmeter and it read 12.1 volts. The battery in our 2011 car read 12.6 volts. I figured that the battery was aging. (I’m aging too, but Mrs. Triedaq hasn’t load tested me yet for possible replacement).

Many people who believe in a 4-5 year battery life usually live in the South…where as it’s very common to see over 7 years on a car battery here in the North. Heat is one of killers of batteries. Since the south sees a lot more hot days then the north you’ll see far more batteries lasting only a few years.

I’m on my 6th year of the OEM battery…and it’s fine. Starts great…And starting IS a great way to tell how well the battery is. Starting a car takes more hundreds of amps…If there’s a good strong start…then the battery is fine…if not then you should think about replacing it. I’ve NEVER seen or heard of a battery that’s fine that doesn’t have a problem starting a car every morning.

I’d say it was the luck of the draw that got you this far on that battery.
It should have been replaced several years ago when problems first started.

Battery testing methods can vary also. Some I agree with, some I do not. My preference is that the battery be put on a charger for a minimum of half an hour, maybe more.
It’s then load tested under a real world scenario of 3 X the starter motor current draw for 15 seconds. If it does not maintain a minimum 10.2 volts after 15 seconds then it’s on the way out.

Cold is just as hard on a battery as heat is (in fact one foreman impressed on me that “heat breaks cars and cold breaks cars”). The battery must pass a carbon pile load test and a conductance test before it can be called “good”. It is true that many batteries that fail these tests will still start the car(and burn the entire car down), but Hey I did not write the test criteria.

I’m in total agreement that cold is just as bad as heat; or worse.
Perform battery load tests and starter motor current draw tests on the same car with the same engine oil on a 95 degree day and a 20 degree day and note the difference.

Cold is just as hard on a battery as heat is (in fact one foreman impressed on me that “heat breaks cars and cold breaks cars”).

Have to disagree there…Heat is much worse…but when the battery is cold it’ll show signs of how really weak it is.