The Average Life of Car Batteries and 7 Tips to Extend Your Car Battery Life

man on cell phone leaning on car

Car batteries are an essential part of an automobile. From getting your car started to charging your phone on-the-go, batteries provide the zap your vehicle needs to keep rolling. That’s why it’s so important to know when to start considering a car battery change, as well as what you can do to extend its lifespan.

The Average Car Battery Life

On average, car batteries last between 2 and 5 years. One of the most important factors that affects how long a car battery will last is the weather. A running engine under the hood is already producing high levels of heat. Throw in a scorching hot day and you have a severe drain on your car battery, which can lead to an increased chance of a dead battery if you don’t take proper summer driving precautions.

Warm weather can cause fluid in car batteries to evaporate, damaging the internal structure of the battery[1]. That’s why average battery life is shorter in warmer climates.[1] So when estimating how long your car battery life will last, consider the climate you will do most of your driving in.

Regardless of the temperature you drive in, properly taking care of your car battery can help keep it running. Check out the seven tips below on extending the life of your car battery:

1. Limit Short Rides

Quick car rides prevent your car’s battery from fully charging. Maintain your car’s battery power by driving it frequently and for extended periods.[2] If you don’t use your car often, consider investing in a portable car battery charger. These portable chargers can jump start your battery without another vehicle in case you’re ever stranded.

2. Keep Your Battery Tightly Fastened

A battery that’s not securely fastened could vibrate, potentially resulting in internal damage and short circuits.[2] Have your battery terminal checked regularly – especially if you frequently drive on bumpy roads – to ensure it is tightly and properly positioned in the mounting bracket.

3. Turn Off All the Lights When You Exit

Accidentally keeping your headlights and car door lights on can put a heavy toll on your vehicle’s battery.[2] To keep yourself from forgetting, post a note on your dashboard, attach a sticker reminder on your car remote or park in a direction where you must walk past your headlights to get to your destination.

4. Control the Corrosion

Battery terminals corrode over time but keeping them clean from buildup is a great way to extend the life of your car battery. Scrub the terminals with a toothbrush dipped in a baking soda and water mixture. Then, using a spray bottle with cold water, rinse the mixture off and follow up with a thorough drying with a clean cloth.[2]

5. Test Your Battery Often

Knowing the condition of your car battery matters when you want to maximize its life. Test your battery’s output voltage level with a car battery tester to keep track of how well you’re maintaining it and if you’re due for a new one.[3]

6. Don’t Use Electronics While Idling

Turn off functions like the radio or air conditioner when your engine isn’t running to put less wear and tear on your battery power. Extended periods of idling also can wear a battery down.

7. Care for Your Whole Car

Your car is comprised of many parts working together. Making sure you are taking your car in for routine tune ups, as well as properly storing your vehicle are also simple ways to ensure your battery’s lifespan can reach its full capacity. The battery is just one component of a well-running car, so make sure to properly maintain all parts of your car to extend its life and the life of your battery.

No matter how well you maintain your car battery, you can’t always foresee when it may die. Learn more about roadside assistance and how it can help you in the event of an emergency.

 

[1] https://carcarenewsservice.org/article/heat-not-cold-shortens-battery-life

[2] https://www.motoringbox.com/cars/your-car/7-ways-to-extend-the-life-of-your-car-battery/

[3] https://www.centurybatteries.com.au/technical-support/battery-care-maintenance