Positives and Negatives
The average car battery life is influenced by many variables, but even under perfect
conditions, it will eventually degrade because of its chemical makeup. The two biggest culprits responsible for shortening
a battery’s lifespan are surrounding temperature and driving habits.
As they are usually located under the hood with the engine, batteries are already subjected to high levels of heat, but in
warm climates during the summer months, the extreme heat can begin to discharge the battery in as little as 48 hours. This
is because heat works to evaporate liquids inside the battery and causes internal damage that ultimately shortens the
You might have experienced difficulty starting your car in the winter, too — that’s because cold temperatures make it more
difficult for the battery to produce the initial burst of energy to get the engine turned over, and the cold thickens
engine oil, which doesn’t help either. However, this alone does not shorten the battery lifespan the way heat does.
Unfortunately, climate is not a factor you have much control over. But the second important variable you do: driving
habits. Stop and start driving, or driving under 20 minutes on a regular basis, uses the battery’s power without giving
the alternator enough time to recharge, thus draining it to very low levels repeatedly and shortening its life expectancy.
Time for a Change - There are a number of telltale signs that will alert you when the end is near. Look out for
sluggish cranking or onboard electronic components acting erratically, such as flickering headlights. Check the battery
every six months or so for swelling and/or a weird smell like rotten eggs, which means there is something wrong internally
and it must be changed. Some vehicles have a warning light on the dashboard to give you a heads up that something is
All batteries eventually go, so keep a lookout for signs when you reach the three-year mark and listen to what your car is
telling you. Replacing the battery is an easy fix that prevents big headaches down the road, so it’s worth your while to
stay on top of it.
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