How Long a Car Battery Should Last

January 27, 2012

The car battery is one of the most crucial elements of your vehicle; without it, your car would not run. Depending upon the amp hours, the car battery size, how you drive your car and other factors, the battery typically lasts anywhere from about three to five years. Many drivers find that it's best to replace a car battery every three years or so in order to avoid having dead batteries and inconvenient times.

Driving Habits

The way that you drive can affect the life of your car battery. If you tend to take short trips (20 minutes or less), the alternator in your car will not have enough amp hours to fully recharge the car battery. It will tend to die somewhat faster if this is the case.


If your vehicle is exposed to extreme temperatures, either hot or cold, the car battery will tend to suffer for it. Take the pains to avoid leaving your car outside during cold months, and be sure to protect your car from the heat if you live in an unusually hot area as well. The same can be said for allowing your car to overheat.

Car batteries must be properly disposed of in order to prevent toxic chemicals from entering the environment. Dealers, mechanics and auto body shops can typically dispose of these for you; there are also recycling centers that will help to process the old car batteries that you're not using into viable new ones. If you have additional questions about your car battery, consult with a licensed mechanic for additional information.

Related Questions and Answers

Will Refurbished Car Batteries Last as Long as New Batteries?

Refurbished car batteries can last as long as new batteries, if the job was done correctly and new materials were used. A lot of refurbished batteries have had their acid replaced, and a large reverse current run through them. The addition of the reverse current restores the lead dioxide to the positive plates. However, plate integrity is compromised, and the life of the refurbished battery is shortened. If new plates, separators, and acid are used, a refurbished battery is as good as a new one.

What are the Highest Rated Car Battery Companies?

There are many car battery companies around the country that produce quality batteries for your vehicle. Knowing the highest rated car battery companies can assist you in obtaining the best battery to fit your needs. Exide Technologies is sold throughout the world, and produces batteries for a variety of applications. Furthermore, they are the world's largest lead-acid battery recycler. Interstate Battery has a reputation for producing reliable batteries, and are the top selling replacement battery in North America. Even though AC-Delco is better known for automotive parts, they too enjoy a reputation for quality battery manufacturing.

Will Larger Car Battery Dimensions Result in Longer Battery Life?

Car battery dimensions will have an effect on battery life. However, plate composition and environmental conditions will have a greater effect on battery life. Larger batteries can have larger, more substantial plates, and can hold larger quantities of sulfuric acid (the electrolyte). Additionally, the larger battery will also provide wider spacing between the plates. Wider spacing allows greater amounts of lead sulfate (salt) to accumulate before interfering with the cell's ability to generate electricity. However, a properly sized battery, under the right conditions, will last longer than an over-sized battery under harsh conditions.

What is Inside a Car Battery?

We know what car batteries do, and what they look like, but what is 'inside a car battery?' one may ask. Car batteries convert chemical energy into electrical energy due to the reactions between the electrolyte and the dissimilar metal electrodes. A standard lead based 12-volt battery contains positive plates composed of lead dioxide, and negative plates composed of pure lead. The plates are arranged into six cells, each having one positive and one negative plate. The plates are alternated according to polarity (+/-) and separated by non-conductive plates called separators. Bathing these cells is an electrolyte. Usually sulfuric acid and water, that is responsible for generating electricity.