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How long is too long to keep a Wally World battery?

A question for the pros,

I have an Everstart brand (Wal-Mart) battery in my car and it’s been fine. It’s going to be 4 years old in Feb and I was considering replacing it then as P.M. to avoid a headache down the road.

Is 4 years ahead of the replacement interval curve? I’d rather replace it early than operate on borrowed time. Thoughts?

Accordion

Depends on where you are. Temperature extremes are hard on batteries. I’m in a relatively mild climate, and batteries last quite a while here, 6-8 years. However if you’re in Arizona or Minnesota, I’d replace it now. Those Wal-Mart batteries are cheap anyway.

You might consider having someone load test the battery. That might give you a heads-up on whether or not the battery is going downhill a bit. That’s not always a given because a perfectly good battery can decide to just up and die quickly but the load test may help some.

WM batteries are just as good as anything out there and I’ve used them for 20ish or so years with very few problems. My wife worked for WM for a long time in the office and as an employee she got an additional 10% off on anything in the store. This led to my buying batteries, oil, filters, and so on as it added up to a pretty fair amount considering the volume of items purchased.

My rule of thumb is about 5 years or so and the battery gets replaced.

My last battery lasted eight years, but when it died I had to call someone to come get me. Next time I will replace after seven years.

I typically keep a battery until it becomes a problem, and by problem, I mean the first time it fails to start the vehicle or the cranking speed is noticeably slower and the battery is over three years old. If less than four years old, I look for an assignable cause, such as a light left on or a bad connection. If I find one, the battery gets one more chance, then its gone.

There is a lot of variation in the lifespan of a battery. I bought a new riding mower in 97, replaced the battery in 99 and 01 and then in, get this, last month. AutoZone verified the date of manufacture as 8/01. In all my riding mowers, two years was about the norm, always used AutoZone batteries for them.

Our 97 Honda has has two Walmart batteries and is currently on a Kirkland (Costco) battery, the battery choice was made on where the battery went dead, twice at Walmart and once at Costco.

my batteries typically last 4 to 5 years in MD

OEM Delco batteries are the only ones I’ve ever had last up to 6 years in Minnesota. Then I get worried and replace them. I’ve never had an EverStart make it past 4 years and one only lasted a year. I used to like them because I could get a replacement battery 24/7 state-wide when I needed one. Now though, you can only get a replacement when the shop is open because they need to test the battery first so I’m back to OEM Delco replaced routinely at 4-5 years. It gets cold here and that’s no time to go looking for a battery.

If memory serves me correctly, I think Johnson Controls manufactures Wal Mart batteries while also producing batteries for Interstate, AutoZone, and a plethora of others. They also produce the Optima brand along with other name branded batteries.

Same thing with the Wal Mart branded oil; it’s manufactured by a brand name producer. WM motor oil used to be produced by Quaker State, who also runs, or ran, their automotive service facilities. Whether QS still does this I do not know.

Thanks everyone. I just may give it another year. I’m in KY where winters aren’t extreme.

Accordion

@Accordion : If you live in an area with cold winters, replacing the batterybefore the 5th winter is a good program.

We park inside and get 7 years out of a Costco/Sears Diehard battery.

Temperature extremes are hard on batteries.

Actually only Heat kills batteries. Cold will show how bad a battery is…but it doesn’t do it harm. If a battery is not maintained well and completely discharged it can freeze. If you can add water (most can’t these days) and if you don’t discharge it…then a battery in the extreme cold will last a LOT longer then one in extreme heat.

I have used WalMart batteries and have been satisfied. As I understand it, some of WalMart’s batteries are made by Delco, some by Johnson Controls and some by Exide. One advantage of buying from WalMart, at least in my communty, is that the WalMart battery stock turns over frequently, so you are more apt to get a fresh battery than from another source.
In the good old days, when we had ammeter gauges in cars, I would watch the ammeter gauge and if the car seemed to be charging at a higher rate for a longer period of time, it was time to check the battery. Batteries in those days weren’t sealed, so my test was to check the specific gravity of the cells using a cheap hydrometer with the floating balls. This let me pinpoint a weak cell if there was one. Today, I check the voltage on the battery if the car has been driven on the highway, but has been sitting a couple of hours. I put the leads of my multimeter across the terminals. If the voltage is less than 12.6, I have the battery load tested.

Shops today don’t measure the voltage at the battery posts, the cells, or even load test to determine if a battery rquires replacement. What is now used is a battery conductance tester. This sends a reference AC voltage thru the battery to determine if the battery requires replacement.

Here’s some examples of conductance battery testers. http://www.centurytool.net/Conductance_Battery_Testers_s/24383.htm

Tester

I might question how well some of those conductance testers work though. One WM battery was failing on me at less than one year of age (2 year battery) and WM insisted that their conductance tester showed the battery was good.

I was equally insistent that load testing the battery showed it was bad and said battery would go dead on the bench within 6 or so hours after a full charge and not even being connected to anything. It would start off at 12.6 volts and later would show about 8 without even being used.
WM continued to insist the battery was good and that my problem was the alternator, starter, ignition switch, or a dead short in the wiring.
Apparently they could not comprehend that the battery was not even in the car and going dead on its own.

I finally “fixed” that battery so a blind, dead man would have no doubt and a new battery took care of the problem.

The same back and forth also occurred (not at WM) when the 3 month old battery in my lawn tractor went belly-up. Their conductance tester said the battery was good but load testing said it was bad. Bad was also verified by the battery voltage tanking in half a day (5 volts or less) without being connected. That was yet another battery that I had to fix so to speak to remove all doubt and end the argument.

It’s been my experience that all batteries reported as bad by a conductance tester are, but not all bad batteries test bad using a conductance tester. I still use a carbon-pile load tester to confirm batteries and test charging system output when I test batteries. Sometimes I just recommend replacement without testing based on age.

I never replace a battery unless it shows signs of failure. You never know how long you will have the car. My last car was totaled at 8 years old with the original battery.

I always have my jumper cable in the car with the oldest battery, or take it when traveling. This way, I don’t have to change a good battery, until it is not good any more.

Well if you are going to try and run a battery out to its last gasp, I would have a battery jumper pack on board instead of just jumper cables. I for one would not risk jumping another car with my car-just too many expensive electronics now. That’s what motor clubs are for but I prefer preventive replacement. The days of neighborly jumping someone’s car are pretty much over.