- by Joe Weber - updated on 11/30/2023
Buying and replacing car and truck batteries has become so common that we never really think about how long they should last. Are you replacing your batteries earlier than you need to? Find out by reading more below.
Generally speaking, a car or truck battery will last on average 3 to 5 years. This can vary depending on how it's used and maintained. Many factors affect battery life and if you have been replacing your battery sooner than that, you might want to follow our tips below to get the most life out of your battery.
There are countless things that can drain your car battery to the point of replacement. Here are some of the most common.
When you start the engine, your car depends on the battery. However, after your vehicle is started, the battery relies on the alternator to maintain its charge while driving. If the alternator is not operating correctly, it may struggle to charge the battery, resulting in potential difficulties starting your car, even immediately after driving.
If your car experiences starting issues following a drive, there's a possibility that the alternator could be the culprit and you should have a mechanic look at it as soon as possible.
Even when your car is turned off, the battery supplies power to the clock, radio, and alarm system, which generally have little impact on the battery's charge. However, items like interior lights, door lights, or malfunctioning electrical relays can be potential causes for draining a car battery when it's not in use.
While your engine is running, the alternator actively recharges the battery, which is why you typically don't need to be concerned about the battery running out of power while you enjoy the radio during your commute. Nevertheless, when the engine is off, the alternator is unable to recharge the battery, leaving room for minor electrical issues to deplete the battery entirely. This electrical strain on the battery due to these unintentional drains is referred to as a parasitic draw.
You can help prevent parasitic draws by ensuring that all lights are turned off and that your trunk, glove box, and doors are securely closed and latched before leaving the car.
I used to only have a mile-and-a-half drive to work. It usually only took me 5-6 minutes to get from my home to the office. Was this good for my battery? Absolutely not.
Cranking the engine uses a tremendous amount of power from the battery. While you drive, the alternator recharges the battery to replenish what it used to start the engine. When you take consistent short trips, like I did, you will be wearing down your battery faster by not letting it charge completely.
It's easy to add some much-needed life to your car battery with a little preventative maintenance. These are all tasks that you should be doing during the lifetime of your battery.
We're all guilty of it. It's bound to happen. Leaving the lights on or accessories plugged in will cause unwanted consequences, a dead battery in the morning. It's always best to do a quick double-check when you are getting out of the car to make sure the lights are off and all items are unplugged from the 12V outlet and USB ports.
Some newer vehicles have USB ports and 12V outlets that do not supply power once the vehicle is off. However, you don't want to find out by accident if that's the case for your vehicle. It's a best practice to just unplug.
Are you starting to notice some signs that your battery might be on it's last leg? Maybe it's slow to start or you're having a hard time starting in the cold? Drive on over to your nearest Batteries Plus to have our battery experts inspect your battery and see what the problem is.