Replacing batteries every 2 years?

I recently replaced the battery in my 2008 Honda Civic after two years as it seemed to be getting weak. I am receiving conflicting advice. The dealer says to replace my battery every two years as a preventive measure, while the Costco service man says to just fill up the battery with water. I live in Phoenix where it gets to 120+ degrees for weeks in the summer, which is hard on batteries.

So should I replace the battery every two years, or just top it up with water?

A battery large enough to meet the car’s needs should last 4 years or so anywhere in the USA. We live in a cold area, and our batteries typically last 5-7 years! Two years anywhere is unusual.

I would suggest you have the charging system tested first. Not sure if you can even add water to modern batteries.

2 years is frequent, I’d go for 3, 4 if getting a jump isn’t a big deal.

What is the cost of failure to start? Some people would think that peace of mind was worth the added expense of replacing the battery every 2 years. Several fleet owners and individuals have expressed their need or desire to avoid break downs and failure when economically feasible. I replaced their batteries every 3 years with the largest battery that could be installed in the vehicle. Sometimes sooner.

Does the car go unused for periods of time? Do you just do short trips? This could be shortening its life too. Keep it charged up with a battery tender or charger if it doesn’t get driven enough.

Two years seems frequent to me but we don’t see those temperature extremes either up here in New England so maybe that’s perfectly valid. I don’t know.
Is the car driven daily? Has it ever been allowed to drain down to where it needs a boost or recharge?

Edit: I see goldwing and I are barking up the same tree.

Many places will test your battery for free. Why not do that once a year or so to see if it needs replacing.

check charging system. Also next time you need to replace the battery, buy high end model and see if you get a longer life out of it.

18 to 24 months is typical life span for an under hood mounted battery in Phoenix/Las Vegas. Batteries don’t last long with the high engine compartment temperatures. Batteries mounted in the trunk or front fender well will last 5 years in the desert.

How about having the battery load tested every two years and if it’s weak, then replace it?

Always buy batteries that have caps on them so that you can check and add water as needed, then check it every time you change your oil. Keep it topped off with distilled water. It should last 4 to 5 years that way.

If you see the electrolite level fall below the plates, then check more frequently.

My personal practice is to have a load test done at least once a year after a battery has passed the 4-year mark. However, I live in the mid-Atlantic region, rather than an area where temperature extremes are the norm. If I lived in Arizona, Nevada, or New Mexico, I would probably start this regimen after 2 years.

(Note: Sears apparently began charging a fee for load tests a few years ago, but I have found that more often than not, their employees don’t charge the fee. If the Sears load test indicates that my battery is due for replacement, I immediately drive to Costco, and buy the Kirkland battery, which is IDENTICAL to the Sears Diehard Gold battery, albeit it for about $40 less.)

That being said, I am always mystified by folks who pride themselves on going…perhaps…8 or 9 years before they replace their battery, but then proceed to sell the car when it is ~10 years old. Why give the next buyer the reliability of a newer batttery, rather than giving it to yourself?

And, when you consider the reality that it is more likely that you will kill your expensive alternator by trying to eke out a lot of years from a battery, I just don’t see the wisdom of going more than…perhaps…5 or 6 years with a battery.

it seemed to be getting weak ….

How about telling us more. What indication have you observed that would make you believe it is weak?

That said, many if not most auto parts stores will check the battery for you for FREE. Have it checked. While there may be some problems with them trying to sell you an unneeded new battery, we have seen very little of that problem.

I recommend getting it checked.

In the heat if summer, you may want to learn how to check your battery and how to service it. You don’t need special tools or skills.

Perhaps you can figure out a way to insulate the battery from the heat of the engine. This would make it last longer.

If you are in cold weather or anytime of extreme temperate for that matter, I doubt your battery will last more than 3 to 4 years. Some batteries can be revived I believe but I would check with your local auto shop.

Along with Goldwing’s insulation suggestion, maybe put a squirrel fan near it to cool it off. You can probably hook it right into the radiator fans. PC fans are cheap, readily available and 12VDC.

Harbor Freight has an inexpensive battery tester. You could test your battery when new for a baseline to reference to help with readings later.

I would listen to the dealer.

Contrary to belief with batteries, it’s not cold that kills batteries, but it’s heat that kills them.


Heat kills 'em, cold buries 'em.

I don’t think testing will let you off the hook.
I had a friend in Tucson and his batteries tended to work fine and die a sudden death.

I live near Buffalo NY and cold weather helps batteries live longer. I had a 2004 PT Cruiser that was totaled in December with the original battery and have a 2002 minivan purchased from Florida in 2005 that needed a battery in 2005 and the battery is still fine. My riding lawnmower has a Napa battery that is 6 years old and it sits in an unheated shed all winter.It is folks in hot climates that only get 3 years from batteries.