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

@dagosa–That may be typical of most of your Toyotas, but it wasn’t typical of the OEM battery in my friend’s '08 Rav-4. At ~4.5 years, his battery failed the load test and had to be replaced.

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.

WRONG…Just the opposite. HEAT kills a battery…NOT COLD. Cold will show you a weak battery…but it actually helps preserve the battery.



7-10 years for us. When it dies…or is starting to turn the engine over slower in the winter I’ll replace the battery…usually with what ever diehard battery is on sale that week.

Like others here, I start checking my batteries when they get to be around four or five years old. As soon as they show signs of weakening I replace them since winters around here get VERY cold. I stopped trying to nurse my old, slowly dying, batteries when I burned up three alternators in a year trying to get one more year out of a Toyota battery that was seven years old. As soon as I put in a fresh battery I never had to replace an alternator in that car for the rest of its life.

Keeping an old, weakening, battery in a car is about the same (to me) as using your clutch and engine to slow a car instead of using the inexpensive brake pads. Batteries are much cheaper than alternators and, around here, nothing is worse than getting stranded when it is zero degrees outside (before the wind chill is factored in).

Funny thing,the Battery in my Dakota was about 7 yrs old(only discharged completely once)I started bragging about how good it was holding up.it died a month later

The battery in my 2002 Miata is original. I live in Oakland, California, with a very neutral climate, never hot, never cold, and the car is garaged a lot. As long as the car is in good shape so it starts easily, and the climate is gentle (60-70) most of the time, the battery can last a very long time. One morning in New England at 5 degrees, high humidity and no hill for a kick start, and my battery would be dead.

I also feel uneasy about batteries as they approach 5 years old and always played it safe with the family car over the years and pressured customers to replace their battery at 4.5 to 5 years. Like so many car problems a battery never seems to fail on Saturday morning in the NAPA parking lot. But I do push my luck on the old beaters that I drive. The old Blazer has the Auto Zone battery that was in it when I bought it over 8 years ago.

BTW, battery prices have crept up significantly in the last few years. They range from $100 to up and up and up.

“Like so many car problems a battery never seems to fail on Saturday morning in the NAPA parking lot.”

For reasons that I have never been able to figure out, most people seem to think that their vehicle will always break down in a convenient location, at a convenient time. They never seem to envision the possibility that their car won’t start when they need to get to…
a job interview…
the hospital ER…
the closing of their home sale or purchase…
jury duty…
or some other event where their on-time appearance is vital.

The battery in my Matrix is dated April 2006. Still going strong.
I mostly drive 2-3 times a week so charge it overnight every 2 months.
I will be changing it before next winter however.

Paranoia drives a lot of people to do things that a lot of other people don’t lose any sleep over.

OMG, think of what could happen?!? :open_mouth:

I have more than one car.
I have a cell phone.
I can call a cab, a family member or a friend if I need a lift.
Most things can actually wait. Home closing? Please! I have sat and waited for an hour and a half for the realtors/lawyers to show up.
ER? really? call an ambulance.

Fear drives a lot of behavior…

When my truck’s battery was getting older and older, I threw my jump pack in the back. I had my backup when the battery finally gave up.

It wouldn’t start the truck on a snowy afternoon after sitting in an airport parking lot for a week. I whipped out the jump pack, started it and got a new battery 2 hours later. I got my full use out of the original factory battery. If not for the jump pack, I’d likely have bought a new battery before winter started, 4 months earlier.

@asemaster: At the risk of going off topic too much, my middle-aged water heater is about 5 feet from a floor drain in an unfinished basement. So I suppose I’m (mostly) okay if it fails when I’m not around. Some friends left for vacation and came back to the unpleasant sight of water streaming out the bottom of their front door. The bottom floor of their condo was flooded to a depth of about 3-4". It was estimated that the water was running for the better part of a week when their heater sprung a leak.

I keep an eye on the battery and have AAA, so it would be mostly an inconvenience if it died too.

Having said all that, they will probably both fail on the same day when I least expect it :smile:

The battery in my truck is 12 years old, but I don’t use the truck that often so that may be the reason it lasts so long. It has gone dead on me several times from occasional truck inactivity for several months, but when that happens I just charge it up with a battery charger and once charged it like it seems like it starts up the truck good as new. That battery is a Costco one as I recall. Kirkland.

Paranoia drives a lot of people to do things that a lot of other people don’t lose any sleep over.
Fear drives a lot of behavior…

For me it’s not the fear or paranoia or worried about missing something important. It’s simply about convenience and practicality.

A somewhat regular customer had his car in for an oil change. I told him he needed a battery. He declined. Two weeks later on a Sunday he and his wife were shopping at the mall and the car wouldn’t start. He had to get a new battery from the Sears auto shop there, stopped by to tell me that the battery cost him $20 more there than my price.

What I still don’t understand is why wouldn’t you replace a battery that tested bad? If I show you a tire that’s worn down to the cords do you say “Oh, I have a spare tire, I’ll wait until this one goes flat then change it and then buy a new one” or “Gee, I should replace that before it gives me a problem.”

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@asemaster: I totally agree. Though a dead battery and non-starting car isn’t a safety issue like a bad tire would be. Unless you park in really bad neighborhoods or are a getaway driver for the mafia or similar.

I turn the water main off when I go away for more than a couple days.
I check the toilet tanks when I come back. Easy way to catch a leaking flush valve.

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@circuitsmith. Good idea. Some years ago a colleague had a dishwasher installed and shortly afterwards went South to Florida for some warm weather.

Their basement was finished like an old English pub with plaster and rough timbers.

When they returned, the basement was half full of water; it would have been full if it had not leaked out of a low set window. The 'pub" was ruined and I don’t recall whether the plumber or the insurance paid for the damage. The dishwasher water supply hose had slipped off.

Always check the tradesman’s work and shut your water off when leaving the house for an extended time.

We use a few drops of vegetable die in the toilet tank. If the color finds its way into the bowl, we have a leaking seal.

“shut your water off when leaving the house for an extended time.”

I do the same as it is an excellent precaution.
Now, I guess I have to expect that somebody will claim that you, and circuitsmith, and I are paranoid.

I don’t consider trying to head off a potential problem before it happens as being signs of paranoia.
When one of my cars reaches high mileage I usually change a fuel pump out before it fails as those little things really take a lot of punishment and can be one of those fine one minute, you’re walking the next minute parts.

Having blood tests, an EKG, etc performed is not necessarily a waste of money either compared to the alternative which in this particular case could involve not walking at all. Or ever again.

@VDCdriver my wife’s o5 RAV was recently traded in on a Venza. It had it’s original battery (. 9 years old ) and performed admirable. There is more to long battery life then just being a Toyota. Frequent short trip driving, exposure to heat during the summer, actual miles, etc. Our cars are always out from under direct sunlight in the summer and because we live in the sticks in a cool climate, once we start it to go anyhwere, everything is a drive sufficient to recharge the battery from start up. The same could be said for brake pads and other components. A lot has to do with the conditons under which the car is driven and the actual driving style of the daily driver.

Besides, failing a “load test” by someone selling a battery is not the same as the lowering of your CCA to a lower but still acceptable level. When cooler weather came around and it was inconvenient, I had a trusted indepndent or dealership I trusted check the battery prior to cold weather during winter/ Fall service. Any load test voluntarily done by a local who made lot’s of money from selling batteies, one of the biggest profit maker parts wise for every chain service provider, is not to be trusted without follow up.

If a doctor says one of my " components " is going bad, I always get a second opinion. Ina seven year old car once, I tested the battery myself, had the dealer test it and then had a local VIP, ( now another name) test it. Theirs was the most dire predictions. In reverse, car battery can technically “pass” a battery load test and still not be acceptable under some anticipated circumstances too. Though batteries, like components in people, can suddenly fall and cause big problems. But, more often then not, they are decreasing in performance over time and levels of replacement are not finite and agreeable.

@VDCdriver My insurance policy says it is void if the house is not checked out at least every 5 days. When we go on a trip someone, usually the neighbor, keeps an eye on the house.

A few years ago my daughter volunteered to “house sit” for a friend while she was on a 3 week holiday in Greece. It was March, and during a cold snap the gas furnace valve packed it in. My daughter phoned in a panic since the house was getting colder rapidly.

I suggested she turn on all the burners on the gas stove and blow the hot air out of the kitchen through the house with a fan she found. We located a 24 hour service plumber who fixed the problem that same day.

There is a difference between being paranoid and just careful and proactive!