Time to replace battery?

The Battery in my Honda dates back to 12/02. Needless to say, it is a “5 year battery”. Should I go ahead and change it now to save myself a headache? The question is will it start to show signs of poor charging capacity (slow or weak starting performance) or will it just be like WHAM dead battery, on a cold rainy morning when I have to be somewhere and I have no jumper cables in my car. Suggestions appreciated, thanks.

Replace it. After three years on a battery, anything can happen to it where it can leave you stranded.

I once had a battery totally die after shuting off the vehicle, and when I attempted to restart it, absolutely nothing.

After a battery is three years old or older, replace it. And you’ll never have a battery related problem.


I agree with Tester on this issue. As a battery ages it takes longer to recover from the initial drain at start-up. This longer recovery time puts added stress on the alternator. I would much rather change the battery every 5 years then the alternaotr and the battery every 6 years.

Also yes, the battery will finally give up in a dark lonely parking lot when you are late to pick up your wife, it will be pouring down rain (or snow), you will have no cables, no one will be around to jump start your car, and your cell phone will be dead.

I thought so, thanks for the advice guys.

I have a 2002 VW and I just replaced my battery this last weekend. It still worked but I it was time.

Ask your mechanic to test your battery under load. That will tell you if it is still healthy or due for replacement. At the same time, have him check out the rest of the charging system. That’s just as important as the battery. As a backup, carry a set of good quality jumper cables.

will it start to show signs of poor charging capacity (slow or weak starting performance) or will it just be like WHAM dead battery

Either can happen. I had a 7 year old (original) battery in my Saturn. One day it worked, and the next day absolutely dead. On my previous car (Acura), the cranking got slower and slower (6 or 7 year old battery), at which time I figured better safe than sorry.

You can drag out the life of a battery for 7 yeasrs or more if you live in an area without cold winters. However, people I know who depend on their cars to make a living buy top quality batteries, and PROACTIVELY replace them just before the 5th winter. This would give about 4.5 years of reliable service on average. If you are retired, and garage your car, you could go 7 years with a good battery.

To the limits of my knowledge, and I am not an expert, I am one of those who believes in replacing things before they fail. So, clearly if that battery has 5 years on it, get a new one at the time and price of your choice.

Another way of looking at it, do you plan to keep the car more than 10 years? If not, then a new battery now will probably be the last battery you ever buy for it. So, why wait for 7 years, and then have a major failure when it does fail, when replacing it now means you may have no more battery problems on this car.

I’m going against the grain here…I average about 7-10 years on a battery…even living in the New England winters. I usually have to replace the OEM battery at about 3-4 years. The replacement batteries I’ve been able to keep with no problems for usually well over 7 years.

The previous owner (my uncle) garage kept this car however winters are COLD here (we live in KY). I also deliver pizza with my vehicle on a strictly part-time basis so I need to depend on it, in that respect. To answer another poster’s question, I only plan to keep this car until I get out of college, another 2 years hopefully. Thanks to all who responded.

By cold I meant northern Minnesota. If the temperature seldom goes to 0F, keep your battery longer. If you have to buy a battery, we find that the best and largest that fits from Costco is your best deal. The difference in price between good and bad is small.

You can get your battery tested for free at a number of different auto parts stores. Why not do that before you spend the money?

I’m with the majority of the others. After 3-5 years, it can either fail right away without warning or provide reduced cranking when you need it most. The extra cost per year is minimal compared to the cost of a tow or jump start with the inherent potential electronic problems. I also don’t necessarily trust the Auto Zone type battery testing methods either so wouldn’t necessarily rely on that for when it hits 20 below zero.