How Long Does A Car Battery Last? +Tips To Maximise Its Life

May 12, 2023

A car battery is an essential element of your automobile. It supplies the energy required to maintain the engine and the electrical systems. Nevertheless, as with any other type of battery, its lifespan has certain limitations and will eventually need replacement. Without a functional car battery, you may find yourself stranded on the side of the road, unable to start your vehicle.

This is why drivers must regularly check and replace their batteries when necessary. In this post, we’ll answer the question, “How long does a car battery last?” and provide tips to maximise its life.

What Is A Lifespan of a Car Battery? 

What is a lifespan of a car battery

A car battery’s lifecycle is determined by the number of discharge cycles it can handle before getting replaced. The number is finite and varies per make and model.

How Long Does A Car Battery Last?

Because a car battery’s longevity depends on the make and model, it may last between two and six years. Having it checked after three years of usage is a common practice for battery maintenance. Many variables can affect the duration of your battery life, which will be discussed later.

Types of Car Batteries

Types of Car Batteries

Here are six different types of car batteries.

1. Lithium-ion Battery

Lithium-ion batteries are used in electric vehicles and many other portable electronic devices. They provide a reliable, rechargeable power source and offer lasting performance. Lithium-ion batteries boast many advantages, most notably their safety compared to other types of batteries.

Battery manufacturers use lithium-ion batteries to reduce the size of their battery packs due to their high energy density. This provides advantages in terms of space savings.

2. Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) Battery

Nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries have higher power, energy density, and life cycle than lead-acid batteries. These batteries can be expensive, have high self-discharge rates, and have limited low-temperature performance. These must be considered when using nickel–metal hydride batteries.

The Toyota Prius, Honda Insight, Civic Hybrid, and new Ford and General Motors hybrid SUVs utilise high-powered NiMH batteries. These vehicles are becoming increasingly popular in the green car market.

3. Lead Acid Battery

Rechargeable lead-acid batteries rely on a combination of sulphuric acid and lead. Lead is placed in the acid, allowing chemical reactions to power the battery. The reaction within the battery that produces electricity is reversible. This chemical reaction causes the battery to generate electricity and recharge.

4. SLI Battery

SLI (starting, lighting, ignition) battery is a lead-acid battery specifically for motorised vehicles’ starting, lighting, and ignition systems. It is mainly used in automobiles and other vehicles, such as trucks, aircraft, and boats. SLI batteries can handle deep discharge and multiple charge cycles before needing to be replaced.

The 12 V DC SLI battery is primarily used in electric vehicles and can be recharged. However, its charge lasts less than an average car battery. This particular type of dry-cell battery is uniquely designed for these types of cars.

5. VRLA Battery

Valve–regulated lead acid (VRLA) batteries are a special type of lead acid battery with AGM and gel variants. AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat) and normal lead-acid batteries have a stored electrolyte. However, their storage method differs.

The AGM’s electrolyte is retained between the battery plates with a fibreglass separator rather than being directly stored in the unit. The electrolyte in a gel battery consists of sulfuric acid and a silica additive. This combination forms a gel-like substance, giving the battery its thick texture.

6. Silver Calcium Battery

Silver–calcium batteries adapt to wet battery technology. They consist of a lead–acid battery with lead–calcium–silver plates instead of traditional lead–antimony plates. While maintaining the same electrolyte solution, these alterations allow for enhanced performance.

Silver–calcium batteries are known for being powerful and resistant to corrosion and hot temperatures. They also last longer in areas with hotter climates.

Silver calcium batteries are an attractive option due to their low maintenance needs. They are sealed and do not require frequent upkeep. The issues with these batteries are the high charging voltage and prone to sulfation that causes them to degenerate quickly.

Factors That Reduce a Car Battery Lifespan

Factors That Reduce a Car Battery Lifespan

1. Temperature

Batteries have a longer lifespan in colder climates than in hot tropical climates. This is because the chemical processes become active and work harder when hotter.

Damage to the battery’s internal structure occurs at lower fluid levels when the liquid gets exposed to extreme heat and evaporates. The risk of damage increases as temperatures rise and levels of liquid decrease.

2. Don’t Power Accessories for Too Long 

A car battery is exclusively focused on starting the engine; it is not meant to power any accessories. People who use their cars as power sources when watching a football match during the weekend should have an auxiliary battery. If not, a deep cycle-starting combination battery is recommended. These batteries are designed to be discharged and recharged and are suited for these activities.

3. Inactivity

If you’re not driving your car regularly or going on long trips, your battery will only last for a while. It can be detrimental to the battery’s lifespan due to infrequent usage. Try taking a 15-minute scenic route or going on a long road trip to help prolong your battery’s charge.

4. Charging 

The alternator, assisted by the car’s engine, charges the battery. Undercharging accelerates deterioration, while overcharging may cause battery fluid leakage.

Charging car batteries rapidly with an external charging system is common but can be bad in the long run. Draining the battery will also affect its lifespan, even if recharged afterwards.

Excessive charging power may harm the battery’s life, while faulty alternators can also reduce lifespan. Using less power can affect the durability of a battery. Similarly, a faulty alternator can badly affect its duration.

5. Time

Battery capacity decreases with time as the alternator charges it. So, its performance inevitably becomes poorer. While this decrease in capacity is gradual, your battery will ultimately be unable to be fully charged.

Its typical life cycle is 500–1200 charge-discharge cycles, after which it reaches 80% capacity of its original state.

After 1000 full cycles, a cell may hold only 80% of its original capacity. Over time, the capacity typically decreases until it reaches 60%, with 2000 full cycles being the average lifespan.

The risk of sudden battery failure is relatively low. This is because the level of performance typically decreases after three years of regular use. Nonetheless, if you push it further beyond five years, you may be at risk of a sudden dead battery.

6. Vibrations and Loose Cables

The battery mount needs to be firmly affixed. This is because batteries experience a lot of vibrations during car drives that can damage the battery.

Loose cables can impede the transmission of electric current and decrease the effectiveness of power delivered from the battery terminals.

The buildup of corrosive material can lead to an increased battery workload, potentially resulting in electrical problems. Like corrosive buildup, the battery works harder to function normally, leading to electrical issues.

Signs That You Need A New Car Battery 

Signs That You Need A New Car Battery

Here are five signs that tell you need a new battery.

1. Slower Engine

When a car has a battery with limited power, it can significantly reduce the engine performance. This can be observed when the engine cranks and works slowly. In addition to this, strange sounds may be heard upon starting the engine.

2. Leakage or corrosion

While not an immediate cause for condemning, corrosion on the battery terminals will eventually result in a failed terminal. So, it’s important to check the tops of the batteries for corrosion or any signs of acid in the battery tray. Car battery leakage often indicates a structural malfunction or overcharging.

3. Dim lights

Your interior lights may also not be as luminous as they once were, and you may notice a decrease in brightness. A dashboard light showing the image of a battery may indicate low battery fluid or levels in some cars.

4. The Battery Case Looks Worn Out

Your car’s battery case will typically remain as is over time, barring any extraordinary circumstances. Despite the passing of years, it will generally stay in the same shape and condition.

The battery in your car might take on a swollen appearance if exposed to extreme hot and cold temperatures. Opening your vehicle’s hood will likely reveal this change, as this occurs during extreme fluctuations in environmental temperature.

The shape of your battery may have changed—it looks swollen or oddly shaped. This likely indicates that it has gone bad and must be discarded.

5. Frequent Jumpstarts

If the battery needs to be jumpstarted frequently, it is a sign that it is wearing out prematurely. Although unusual, an electronic part that draws power while your car is turned off can cause battery drainage. For this reason, it is worth looking into your warranty and potentially replacing the battery.

Ways To Extend A Car’s Battery Life

Here are the best ways to use your car battery for long periods of time.

1. Drive Your Car Regularly 

Using your vehicle regularly helps maintain the battery charge because the alternator is responsible for charging it as you drive.

Rather than opting for frequent short trips, driving long distances is a great way to prolong its life. Unfortunately, most people don’t have the luxury of taking long drives regularly. Extremely short drives can badly affect your battery as the alternator does not get adequate time to replace the battery’s power.

2. Keep the Battery Tightly In Place

An approved battery clamp is essential for maintaining the life of your car’s battery, as regular vibration can hurt it. Therefore, always ensure the battery is properly secured with a quality clamp.

When tightening the battery clamp nuts, be prudent. Applying too much strength might damage the battery. You should not overtighten them but ensure they are tight enough to secure the battery.

Tip: When tightening the nuts, turn them until you feel a slight resistance. Next, add only a half-turn to ensure they are securely tightened.

3. Clean the Corrosion Frequently

Cleanliness of car battery terminals can help to prolong their lifetime. To prevent the accumulation of corrosion, it is essential to keep these areas free from any buildup.

A toothbrush dipped in a baking soda and water concoction is an effective way to clean the terminals. Use this mixture to scrub; you should have nice, clean contacts.

Rinse the mixture with a spray bottle of cold water. Then, use a dry and clean cloth to dry it completely.

4. Keep Your Battery Connections Clean

Batteries for automobiles require that both the battery post and terminals have a solid connection.

A sufficient flow should have enough electrical current from the battery to the vehicle’s electrical and ignition components. This can be accomplished by ensuring that all connection points are secure and with proper conductivity. Here are some ways to ensure good connectivity:

  • Terminals should be regularly maintained using a wire brush to keep them clean.
  • Corrosion should be removed as it can cause problems if it builds up.
  • Frayed or damaged cables that should be replaced.

5. Get Your Car Serviced Regularly

It’s wise to have your car battery tested professionally to ensure its condition. This will help steer clear of any unexpected breakdowns. During your next service, ask your mechanic to check your battery’s condition and if charging properly.


How Long Does A Car Battery Last Without Driving?

Generally, car batteries in good condition can last at least two weeks without starting up your vehicle or recharging your battery. You should drive your car for 15 minutes weekly if you only use it occasionally.

How Much Is the Cost of Car Battery Replacement in Australia?

In Australia, a car battery usually costs between $120 and $180 without the added charges. Although purchasing the cheapest option can save money, getting quality batteries is necessary. Installation, of course, is a critical component when it comes to the cost of battery replacement.

Things That Influence The Cost Of Car Battery

  • Size of the vehicle: Using larger batteries adds expense due to the extra necessary manufacturing materials, particularly regarding 4WDs. On the other hand, smaller cars, such as hatchbacks, can make do with a smaller battery size. Like all cars, batteries come in various sizes.
  • Type of battery: Car batteries may either be standard or premium. Some cars may require only the latter type, so check if that’s the case for you. Premium batteries provide superior battery life and higher cost due to their enhanced performance and life.
  • Type of Vehicle: Specific batteries may be needed for newer and luxury cars. This is because they have more features, increasing their power demands.

What Happens If Your Battery Completely Dies?

A dead battery can be managed by jumpstarting it, which requires two vehicles and a set of jumper cables. A car with a working battery is needed for the procedure, preferably from another car. It’s important to note never to jump-start a car with a cracked and acid-leaking battery.

Keep Your Car Battery Running Strong

Taking care of your car battery is an essential part of car maintenance. If you notice any signs of a weak or failing battery, it’s best to have it checked by a professional. This can help prevent further damage and safety hazards. By remembering all this information, you are assured of a reliable and safe driving experience for years.

Consider turning to reliable and reputable auto shops when replacing your car battery. Madman Motors provides long-lasting power solutions for all your automotive needs. Visit our website or contact our customer support team today!

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