Ray’s car battery advice

Hi Ray, Just couldn’t let your advice regarding battery life in the Fresno Bee, 5/11/19, go by
without commenting. I am an avid reader, and pick up great tips from you. However, every car I have ever had, Chevy, Ford, etc. has needed a new battery around 40,000 miles. When we got the Mercedes, it had 22,000 miles and at 40,000, I told my husband the battery would be going out. Sure enough about two weeks later at 40,000 the battery went dead. I drove 10 company cars for 30 years as a Pharmaceutical rep, after a couple of cars could always pinpoint when I would be calling AAA for a new battery. I did always wait until it died, and fortunately never got stranded in a difficult situation. Thanks for all your advice. It has helped over the years.

Battery life can be extremely variable, one major factor in particular is the climate you live in. Fresno is quite a bit hotter than where I live (Pennsylvania). Heat kills batteries. I don’t think I’ve ever had a battery go bad in less than 5 years up here (and we drive 10-12,000 miles a year)

I agree!I never replaced a battery under 8-9 years in Canada.Cold seems to be better on battery life.

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Original batteries in our vehicles will generally last 7 or 8 years, although I replace them at 5 or 6 to be safe. It’s much easier to replace them at home, in nice weather, on my own schedule. However, that is the case with vehicles at my northern home, just above the 45th parallel.

At my southern home, 1,500 miles south, by road (1,200 as the crows and jets fly), around the 27th parallel, I expect to get only 3 or 4 years life from the battery in a vehicle I leave there. The battery in that vehicle was new last August, so I’ll have to see how long it lasts. I overheard a guy at a battery supply store telling a customer that batteries only last about three years in that climate.

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Right, of course you can . And all your batteries die at 40,000 miles and the time of service does not matter. OK fine.

I live in Los Angeles, and the climate pretty much ensures batteries will NOT live a long and healthy life

As such, I replace them proactively at 5 years, even if they still test good at that point . . . that’s assuming they’ve even made it to that point

If a battery is leaking acid or is in some other way problematic before the 5 year mark, it gets replaced right then and there

I just head to Costco, as they have the more common batteries in stock, and they have a no questions asked warranty/return policy . . . unlike some other businesses

I do have a AAA membership . . . but I’d rather save those roadside calls for important events, such as a shredded tire, car in the ditch, etc.