How long does a car battery last?

On the Road 3 min read

Your car battery plays a vital role in making sure your car runs. It provides the electricity and power needed to start the car’s engine. Over time, car batteries weaken and have a more challenging time holding onto a sufficient charge.

If you can’t start your car, your battery might be dead. Jump-starting your car battery by hooking up to another car’s battery with jumper cables can usually get you going again. But if this happens multiple times, it could signify it’s time to replace the battery. We spoke to car expert Zach Wimpey, Operations Manager at Craig and Landreth Clarksville, for insight into how long a car battery lasts, signs it may be time to replace your battery, and ways you can extend the life of your car battery.

What is a car batteries lifespan?

The average lifespan of a car battery is between three and five years. However, battery life can vary based on a few factors. Where you live, the model of the car you drive, and the type of battery all play a part in determining car battery life.

Extreme temperatures are known to weaken a car battery. For example, hot weather can add to the car engine’s heat and cause the battery to corrode more quickly. Starting your car in freezing weather also puts a strain on your battery. Lead-acid models are the most common type of car battery, but you may be able to stretch your car battery’s life a bit longer if your car uses an AGM (absorbed glass mat) or EFB (enhanced flooded battery) model.

Tips for car battery maintenance

Drive regularly

Wimpey says it’s essential to drive regularly to keep your car battery healthy. It’s also important to cover longer distances. He points out that driving infrequently or short distances won’t allow the battery to recharge fully, and when the battery isn’t fully charged, it will drain faster.

Turn off lights when you’re not using them

This includes headlights and interior lights. Having lights on when you’re not driving puts extra strain on the car battery.

Be mindful of the weather

During the summer, keep your car in a well-ventilated area with good air circulation to keep the battery cool. And, when it gets cold, run your car often to keep the battery strong. Wimpey also recommends that you keep your car sheltered from extreme weather. If possible, store your car in a garage or find covered parking. See more tips on how to protect your car from severe weather.

Clean corrosion that forms on the battery

Corrosion looks like white dust and develops on car batteries over time. Too much build-up can decrease its lifespan. You can clean the terminals with a toothbrush dipped in baking soda and some water and wipe it dry with a clean cloth.

Protect your battery from the elements

Temperatures that are too hot or too cold may impact the electrochemical reaction in the battery, which will go on to weaken its power level. Some cars come with a protective blanket around the car battery to insulate it from extreme heat and extreme cold. If your car battery came equipped with one, don’t remove it. The protective layer is designed to help extend the life of your battery.

Does insurance cover a dead battery?

Car insurance doesn’t cover the replacement costs of a new battery as it’s considered general wear and tear. However, you may be able to add roadside assistance coverage to your car insurance policy. If you get stuck somewhere with a dead car battery, roadside assistance will give you a jump-start or tow your car to the nearest repair shop.

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