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Checking battery

I have a 2003 BMW z-4. Twice in the past I have had the battery die without warning, expired of, ?old age?, due primarily to the extreme heat of the Phoenix, Az. climate, regardless of the, ?lifetime?, label on the battery (the standard battery from BMW for the car).



At the advise of my mechanic friend, I now have an, ?Interstate?, battery in the car, with the added advice to check it regularly, especially after one year. (Batteries seem to last a year or two only, out here).



I don?t want to get caught as in the past, with a dead battery at an inconvenient local, but I would think that to be safe in that regard, I would need to get the battery checked every other week or so. This is kind of impractical for me.



With all this in mind, I bought a 12 volt battery tester, for about $50., so that I can check it myself, after about one year of life, every other week or so. My question is whether this is a good option in terms of reliability of the product, and efficacy of my plan.

The brand of my purchased tester is, “Schumacher”.

I’m not sure what you’re going to accomplish with this tester. If two batteries died suddenly, a voltage tester will not likely be able to reliably predict when the next one will fail.

If you have the battery load tested at a shop, that MAY be a better test, and if the battery isn’t a sealed unit, you can check the fluid levels in the cells and check the specific gravity for a weak cell, but again, it’s hard to predict a sudden failure.

Maybe a AAA membership would be a good investment.

Can you find a website advertising this battery tester?

If this is an expensive voltmeter, you purchased the wrong item.

If it is an inexpensive load tester, your in the right ballpark. This is the item they use to correctly check the condition of a battery. It applies a load to the battery to determine the available capacity. A meter on the front shows the batteries capacity to send amps to the starter.

Another “backup” option is to get yourself a rechargeable battery jump pack, charge it up, and keep it in the car for emergencies. That way you don’t need to wait for AAA to show up.

However, batteries should not die within 1-2 years, even in the desert. Either your charging system is over-charging the battery and vaporizing the water, or you’re losing too much battery water to evaporation. Get a battery that you can add distilled water to as needed, and you should be able to get at least 4-5 years out of one.

Do a google search on CP7612. If the gadget you bought does the same, you’re all set.

You put an interstate battery in an intercontinental car. I am happy that they don’t use them in ICBMs. Houston, we have a DUCK!!! You may want to try one of those new-fangled AGM (not air to ground missile; absorbed glass mat) batteries. They are expensive but they may be better in the heat. I don’t know for sure if they are, so you might want to check up on that.

You guys who live in the the south seem to go through batteries a lot more then we do in the North. I’m still on my OEM battery in my 05 4runner. I usually get 7-10 years out of a battery.

Interstate batteries are good. Not sure how much better they are in the extreme heat.

It is load tester; thanks for the info.From yours and others, I think this is going to work for me.

Interstate batteries dont rate very high with me

I did the search, and I believe that it essentially matches up. It does load test, starting test, and charging test. I’ve come to understand these as the 3 needed features for such a device.
This is a very cool site. Many thanks to all of you that responded.

I need to check to see if distilled water can be added to the Interstate battery that I have. Thank you!

I have been living in South FL for 30 years…when I lived in NJ is was not uncommon to get 7 years out of a battery…Since in Florida after 3 years I usually have to replace batteries.

NO warning just ka-putt… checking with a hydrometer its usually one cell that goes bad Many times had to roll start my 89 Muatsng GT down the driveway due to worn out batteries
Excessive heat can also shorten a batteries useful life.

An hydrometer would be a better predictor of a declining battery. If kept topped off with clean water and the specific gravity in the normal range all should be well. When a cell begins to need water more often and the gravity declines it is beginning to fail. If the other cells are in good shape the battery may continue to function well for months and then suddenly fail when the plates in the weak cell warp and short out. Interstate batteries seem to be an excellent product. They rarely fail before 36 months. Most significantly outlast the warranty.

I will look into hydrometer. thanks a lot.