What is the longest life you've gotten out of a car battery?


#1

My current car, a 2006, is still on the original factory battery. I had it load tested last fall and it was still putting out 10A over its rating. The battery is a sealed type that lives in the trunk, with a vent tube that runs down through the floor of the trunk. Since the 2006 cars came out in 2005, the battery is at least 10 years old, which is the best life I’ve ever gotten out of a battery, and it shows no signs of flagging. I attribute the long life to the battery being insulated from extremes of heat and cold, being in the trunk. (also it’s obviously a quality battery and it has never been run dead to my knowledge) The next longest-lived battery I had lasted over 8 years, and it lived under the hood of my old 1994 vehicle. It was run low once but never totally dead. It came from a local chain that claims to have “Batteries for everything”. (and they haven’t been wrong so far) The worst was a series of bad warranty replacements from a local “Farm and Fleet” type of store, the longest lasting about 3 years. I don’t want to find myself stranded, but at this point it seems almost like a challenge to see how long the original battery will make it. (I’ve been having it tested for the last 3 years due to its age)

What kind of luck have you had?


#2

I once replaced a 12 year old factory battery in a Mercury Sable. Funny thing on that one, the car was in for an oil change and I recommended a new battery just because it was original. The customer said there’s nothing wrong with that battery, it starts the car just fine. I even load tested it and it checked good. About 2 weeks later the battery failed completely without warning, the car wouldn’t even jump start. And a month after that the car needed an alternator. I suspect driving around with a 12 year old battery shortened the life of the alternator.

I don’t bother testing batteries less than 3 years old unless there’s a complaint. I test batteries 3-7 years old and report the results, batteries over 7 years are recommended for replacement without testing because they can’t be proven reliable.

I guess it depends whether the goal is to see how long a battery will last or to have a car that always starts.


#3

I really don’t keep track but I replace them in 3-4 years just as a precaution. It gets cold here and if the car is sitting at the airport for a week or two, the last thing I want is a dead battery. Probably four years is about the most I’ve kept a battery. I’m out to have no problems rather than get the most out of a battery.


#4

I have noticed a disturbing trend . . .

Factory batteries almost always last longer than even the best and most expensive replacement batteries

This seems to be the case, regardless of the car manufacturer, or the name of the battery

I strongly suspect the boys at the factories have access to the best batteries

it’s just a gut feeling, and I won’t ever be able to prove it

:grin:


#5

The batteries in our cars in the last twenty plus years have never been replaced. They were all 8 to 10 years old. I really can’t remember the last one but it was a car 12 years old we turned over to our kids. The cars have been Toyotas, Hondas and Subarus. They were all bought new or less then three years old.


#6

The longest so far is the battery in our Toyota, which was purchased new in Feb of 2007. It still tests right up, but before winter I’ll test it again to see if it will withstand a -30 start without the block heater being plugged in.

I agree with those who have experienced that trying to get the last little bit of use out of a battery often damages the alternator into replacement. And alternators are much more expensive than batteries!!!


#7

I usually replace my batteries at the 4-5 year mark. I did buy a used Ford Ranger with a battery that was 10 years old and used it through the summer. When winter approached…I replaced the battery.


#8

I start load-testing my batteries after 3 years, and I typically replace them–even with good test results–after 4.5-5 years. Trying to pinch pennies–when the penalty for being wrong is being stranded and/or burning out the alternator–just doesn’t seem like a good bargain…IMHO.

Quite a few years ago, I was checking under the hood of my brother’s 9 year old Camry, and I noticed that it had the original Panasonic–Made in Japan–battery. I mentioned to my brother that it would probably be a good idea to replace the battery proactively, before he wound-up being stranded, but that battery continued to start the engine for the remaining few months that he owned the car, before trading it in.


#9

I don’t know what my personal best is but i currently have a 2003 camry with the oem battery in it…my batteries all seem to last at least 10 years…


#10

Just to be clear, I never said I want to get the last little bit out of a battery. But if my 10+ year-old battery load tests like new, it seems silly to replace it just due to age. If it looks like it’s flagging or fails a load test this fall, I’ll surely replace it. The water heater in my home is 40 years old this year too… Guess I’m just living dangerously :smile:


#11

Here in Wisconsin, I think most people replace their battery at 4-5 years. And that is the norm for me too.
I think the cold shortens the life of batteries in these regions.

I doubt that I have had one last more than 5 years.

Yosemite


#12

The water heater in my home is 40 years old this year too… Guess I’m just living dangerously

Funny you should mention that. Some of our best friends had a 40+ year old water heater in their house. Still worked just fine, and he laughed that he’d replace it when it broke. 2 years ago one morning after they left for work the heater sprung a leak. Of course the pipes didn’t know that and just kept pumping water in. By the time they got home 10+ hours later the basement TV room, laundry room, bathroom, wine cellar, and extra bedroom and associated furniture had suffered about $40,000 in damage.

At this point in time you won’t necessarily be able to predict when the battery will fail. It may test at 100% one day and then be unable to start the car the next day.


#13

Yeah ditto on the water heater. I guess I got about 18 years out of mine but the water pressure here does them in. The one in my other house started leaking the night before a big family event and overnight company coming. Luckily I was able to get one and install it Saturday morning. The thing to consider is that they are much more energy efficient now so you could save some money by replacing and possibly aggravation or an emergency call if you have to have someone else do it. They aren’t cheap anymore though.


#14

@VDCdriver That is pretty typical of the batteries in Toyotas I have owned. The compact truck I have has a battery with well over 700 CCA.


#15

I had 8 years on the original battery on the 2003 Toyota 4Runner we own. I had it load tested every fall and, while it was still cranking the car just fine, it was showing signs of weakness. Since my wife drives this vehicle, I had a new battery installed. Actually, this battery has outlasted a couple of water heaters at my house. I had three water heaters go bad just after the 5 year warranty expired. The water going into the heater is fed from a softener. The heaters were gas which I’ve heard don’t last as long as electric water heaters. The last time I bought a water heater, I changed to a different brand and this one is approaching 10 years. Fortunately the heater is in an attached garage, so when a leak happens, there isn’t damage in the house.


#16

WE have so much calcium and minerals in our water that within about three years the lower element on a electric water heater will be shot.
If they would put an access panel in the side of a water heater, I’d pop the panel and scoop out all the sediment twice a year. I was this on an old heater somewhere and wish that they would go back to that design.
I have a gas water heater now, but after only one year you could hear the thing banging as it heated. The way I understand it, is that the lime deposits settle to the bottom. When the flame comes on, the water trapped under the deposits overheats and what you hear is the steam bubble being forced through the sediment and imploding as it is absorbed by the cooler water above.

Yosemite


#17

Batteries are luck of the draw. When they get about 5-6 years old I generally replace them.

Things are spread out around here and especially at night, it’s often a long, dark, deserted stretch to anywhere so battery replacement is a hedge against getting stranded.


#18

My previous neighbor has an Acura and it’s now close to 9 years old. She had to park in her driveway one night last winter and the car would not start due to a weak battery. I helped her with my trickle charger and she got it going. I gently warned her that a weak battery can shorten alternator life but she still has not changed it. At work, a hospital, she parks in the underground garage.


#19

@Docnick Good advice. Any problem what so ever and the battey should be change ASAP assuming the charging system is sound as well. Batteries don’t get better. I usually get the battery to last the life of the time I have it, , but the first sign of trouble, it would go. . I don’t know why they have lasted so long. My first thought is, that the car is always under cover and the engine compartments are kept cool.


#20

Optima Yellowtop, just shy of 8 years (and 47,000 miles) and going strong and I’ve run it down several times because the car sat for several winters.

Original battery in a GM SUV, 7 years and 84,000 miles. Used it until I had to use my jump-pack to start it one cold day.