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Hyundai Sonata Sport battery failing fast (dealer says it's normal)

My mom bought a Hyundai Sonata Sport 2017 she bought it August 2017 with only 9000 miles currently on it. She bought it when it had 200 miles on it. We live in Minnesota and we are in the middle of a deep freeze. The car failed to start this morning. She had the car jump started and took it into the dealership. They said that it is normal on new batteries that if you only drive a few miles at a time, then maybe later that day take it out and drive a few miles of in town driving( a few being 3 or 4) then batteries will only last for a couple of years, but if you take the car out to drive on longer drives then you can get the battery to last for 5 or 6 years. Also they suggested that charging the battery every night would extend the life.

Is this true or is the dealer just trying to get rid of my mom and not want to deal with the issue?

Also would charging the battery each night make any difference?

The dealer is correct. If your mom doesn’t drive much or far she will run the battery down and cause it to require replacement more often. If it is hooked to a battery tender it will keep the battery in better shape longer but it likely is something your mom won’t do.

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Was this something that changed, we didn’t have this problem on her last vehicle which was made in 1997 if i remember correctly. A Town and Country mini van.

BOGUS!

Ask the dealer to perform a conductance test on the battery to check the cold cranking amps.This will determine if the battery requires replacement.

Here’s the results when I performed a conductance test on my own battery.

Needless to say, I replaced the battery.

Tester

Two things , the minivan may have been driven more and had more longer trips - some times a battery will just not last as long as others .

… and there is also an increased chance of the exhaust system rotting-out prematurely.
Additionally, with that type of driving regimen, she will need to have the oil changed more often than a person who drove in a less damaging manner.

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Far less electrical stuff on that earlier car. Far less stress on the battery.

The number of “systems” that are active on a 2017 vehicle–as compared to a 1997 vehicle–is YUGE (to use the preferred terminology of our current POTUS).
Technology has moved-on mightily in the past 2 decades.

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I do mostly short (under 10 miles) trips 2-3X per week.
With my last car (Toyota) I replaced the original battery after 9 years.
Still going strong but I didn’t trust it for a 10th winter.
I charged it overnight every month in the winter, 3 months other 3 seasons.
With my current Tucson I installed a 5 watt solar panel.
Sits on the dashboard. Keeps the battery at 12.9V when the sun is shining.

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Super cold weather reveals all kinds of weaknesses. If the battery’s charge was low (not dead), this could happen. I’d get it fully charged, then tested. If it tested ok, then I’d make a point of driving it more.

when you say it “failed to start” I presume you mean this is a no-crank problem, you aren’t hearing that rrr rrr rrr souind with the key in “start”. Some of that is going to happen anytime it gets really cold, esp if the car is parked outside. Putting a charger on the battery to top it off once in a while may well be the best compromise until the weather warms up in a few weeks.

Lots of miles at highway speeds helps charge the battery more than fewer miles at lower speeds , so the dealer is right on that account. Driving with the headlights on bright, the AC/heater blower on, electric window defoggers etc all add to the problem. How sensitive the car’s electrical system design is to all that depends on the car. Cars with a lot of electronic gizmos and cars with physically smaller batteries and certain battery designs will tend to be more sensitive.

And there’s always the chance there’s something wrong w/the car. Testing for a defective battery is easy enough to do, see the post above. And testing the alternator is easy for a shop to do. A diy’er with an inexpensive DVM can do this test: Before first start of the day the battery should measure about 12.6 volts. Immediately after starting the engine it should measure 13.5-15.5 volts. Fails to crank could be caused by other problems besides the battery/alternator/temperature too.

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I don’t drive much anymore. My job is 3 miles from home, and I only work part time. Every couple of weeks, I throw the battery on charge. It generally shows about 80% charge at this time.