My two recent experiences that answer my question will probably not be the longest and shortest, but will set a decent benchmark. First, the long one: I knew the end was coming, as the xB’s first start of the morning was getting progressively more lethargic. I should have acted, and sure enough, this morning when I promised my son a ride, it…died. Good thing the F-100 was out back, and quickly pressed into service. Well, this original battery is now 10½ years old, by my best estimate, based on the xB’s build date of 4/05. I was hoping to make it to eleven.
By the way, the xB’s battery ($71.00), the front brake pads ($39.99) and an air cleaner ($12?) are the only things I’ve spent money on these past years. It’s living up to its Toyota rep.
Meanwhile, the battery in our 2013 Acura TSX lasted less than a year, leaving me stranded at a train crossing. That’s actual ownership time, that is; our TSX had been sitting at the dealer for about a year when we bought it. They had to jump it at the time of delivery, which was not a good sign. Acuras and Hondas have a rep for undersized batteries, so rather than even try to press Acura into some kind of adjustment (they just charged it and said it was ok), I just went out and spent $69.99 on a stouter battery. I was convinced it was on borrowed time. I suppose it might have lasted another year. Still; two-three years is pretty pathetic.
Two dead batteries in one year, but then it’s the batting average that counts: 6¼ years, in this case. Not all that bad, actually.
shortest: sams club energizer battery, 4 months, dead as a doornail. never again. never forget.
The 12 volt starter battery in my 2004 Prius purchased new on 10-16-2003 is still running perfectly as of today, 10-4-2018. I live in Idaho and take this car skiing 40 to 50 times every winter. It has 289000 miles on it. It is garaged almost every night. Still can’t believe this battery working for 15 years!
I had to replace the battery in my TSX during my first year of ownership, meaning it would’ve been about 4 years old with 40-45K miles on the clock.
I believe we had to replace the battery in old Highlander twice during our 9 years of ownership, though admittedly, the second time was my fault. I was coming home late from working a closing shift at Whole Foods one night, pulled into the garage, turned the car off but left the key in the ignition, draining the battery. Rather unusually, I subsequently didn’t go to drive it for two days, and of course when I got in it wouldn’t start. One of my more clumsy moments.
Eight and a half years on an 05 ION. Longest I’ve ever gone. Something to be said for living it’s life in the trunk.
We have an 07 Ion 3, original battery, maybe because its in the trunk, is what keeps it going, it doesn’t get wet, or dirty, and stays warm in the winter. Great car!
Its the lack of under hood heat that helps it life more than anything else.
I have an 07 Tundra with the original battery, still running strong. I make that more than 10 1/2 years. Longest in my entire 50 years of driving.
I am with you on the Honda batteries. However, my Fit is a bit of a special case in that the thing is so physically small – about motorcycle battery-size. I just installed my 4th battery this summer, on a 2007 car I got fresh off the boat/truck in November of 2006. Battery no. 1 was replaced by the dealer under warranty at about 2.5 years. Battery 2 lasted about the same amount of time (go figure). Nos. 3 and 4 were/are from Pep Boys (Bosch, I believe) and I got an adjustment on No. 3.
Longest is a harder question. The one that sticks out in my mind was my Mom’s sainted 64 Cutlass – the local garage could not believe that she got 7 years of of the factory 1964 battery, and even then it was just starting to crank slowly.
Agreed on Honda batteries. They are tiny. My daughter’s ’06 Jazz (Fit) got a new battery when she bought it used (after it had to be jump-started on the test-drive!), then needed another less than three years later.
Meanwhile my Mazda 3 got its first battery replacement after nine years – my personal best.
I was always going through batteries in my old Cortina until one mechanic adapted the battery tray to take a Falcon V8 battery – no more starting problems then, and it lasted a long time. Unfortunately there’s not always space to do that sort of thing with modern cars.
+1 on the Fits. I almost said I was shocked by the size (sorry), but I doubt it has the juice. My 08 F-150 (4.2 V-6) had gone 7 years on the original Motorcraft when I sold it. That’s my record.
Longest 10 years AC Delco. Shortest 3 years, Motomaster from Crappy Tire.
The longest: 9 years and 10 months. That was the original battery in my 2002 Land Cruiser. I just checked the invoice, by then it had 195,000 km on the odometer. I still drive it, by now 288,000 km on the clock.
The shortest ? I can’t tell, I drove all my previous cars less than 5 years and never had to change a battery.
I have 7.5 years and counting on the cheapo Kmart battery in my ’95 Altima. For most of my previous cars, I have sold the vehicle within 4 years after getting a new battery, so I don’t have much of a base for comparison. Worst is any motorcycle battery I’ve ever bought, after a year or two they all seem to be about shot.
Longest: 8 years on an Optima battery (guaranteed for 5 years) in my Audi 4000 quattro. Fortunately it didn’t give out at an inconvenient time and place. I’ve had much higher-drama problems with cars.
Batteries that go nearly flat then trickle recharge last the longest, if they :work” it helps preserve them at least that was the mantra I was taught while maintaining the 110 volt switching battery at a job I once had, Ive had about 4 years out of the battery in my Citroen it works quite hard having to glow and start the motor its a 550CCA battery $225 when I bought it so I really dont want to buy many more. Some of those Japanese OEM batteries out last the cars Ive seen ex jap used imports on their last legs still running the original battery for some reason best known to themselves after market manufacturers donr build in that sort of longevity I know why worst of all I also know how they do it.
The factory battery in my folk’s 05 Kia Sedona lasted until July, 3rd 2011. At least the Ohio Highway Patrol Officer was kind enough to jump start it after he pulled me over.
8 1/2 years- it was in my ’96 blazer and it was not the original battery. I can’t remember the brand but it was still going strong when I replaced it. We were expecting our first child and the due date was near, so I bought a new one because I had never seen a battery last that long and I was getting nervous!
I have to mention that every summer I check and adjust the level of the electrolyte with distilled water in all of my cars.
Kiwi batteries have a life span of three years or less. Very shoddily made and expensive, $120+. One in my Sunbeam Imp lasted less than 18 months, but it was replaced under guarantee. The original 1967 UK battery lasted over four years, including a period of three months inactivity when being transported to NZ.
Usually I don’t keep cars long enough for the battery to fail. The 2007 SRX was an exception. I had to replace at about 5 to 6 years. Price tag was over $200 I think. Otherwise I can’t recall replacing any. My 86 Corvette’s battery was about dead when I sold it and I told the new owner it would need a battery. It was about 5 years old.d
A run down battery that is left out in freezing weather will have a short life.
Funny. Usually, I don’t keep batteries long enough to fail…
I see no comments about the primary killers of batteries :
# 1 over charging .
# 2 vibration , usually caused by lack of hold down .
I’ve had several last over 10 years but not recently .
In my Motos I strive to only use Japanese made YUASA brand batteries , they often last 10 + years .
Sadly , YUASA North America has decided to cheat us and slap their sticker on any old $5 Taiwanese battery , those fail after 12 ~ 18 months no matter what you do .
You can still buy the top quality Japanese made ones off the Internet cheaper than the list price for the crappy not really YUASA made ones…
Thanks for the tip about YUASA motorcycle batteries. My Yamaha needs a new one and I only use YUASA. Guess I’ll order one on the internet and hope it’s a japan built battery.
NO ‘ hope ‘ to it ~
The real deal YUASA batteries have their name and P/N’s etc/ plus ” MADE IN JAPAN ” molded into the case so you can see it in the photo before you buy it .
If you’re buying a 12 volt full size Moto battery , look at the ones your local Dealer has on the shelf , many of those are still made in Japan , not so the smaller ones to suit older Motos .
Mines a 30 year old 700 Maxim, I’ll make sure to check for “made in Japan”.
I put a US-made AGM (Absorbent Glass Mat) battery in my 500R Ninja this spring. They are supposed to last longer than the standard wet batteries, and hold a charge longer. We’ll see how that goes; it does spin over far better than it did with the Yuasa it replaced, and has a considerably higher CCA rating (220).
I didn’t know they were being made in the U.S.A. ~ AGM batteries are good , my Kawasaki W-650 (EJ-650) was designed for one and they seem to last well .
Also, you should always fit the highest CCA rating battery you can , this makes it easier on everything else .
I work diligently at keeping things in tune to there’s never much cranking , even in my old Diesels before the light off and run .
Agreed , being Mechanic isn’t so bad , it’s the damned CUSTOMERS that drive us batshit .
Got exactly 10 years out of an Interstate in my B13 Sentra, and it hadn’t failed completely. I had moved from the PNW to the Midwest, and didn’t want to take a chance before winter and swapped it out. It was hard to turn a good battery in as a core, but I had no need for a spare.
Shortest was a Walmart battery that I bought for the ’78 F-350, it failed after a couple months, but that may have had something to do with it being reverse charged, didn’t like that for some reason……..
Longest: Sears DieHard in 1976 Dodge Aspen. Actually it didn’t fail but was replaced “on principle” after eleven years. Yes, the new Sears DieHard that replaced it did crank the engine faster. It lasted four days. On the evening of the second day, after driving the car regularly, I parked it at the airport, everything turned off, came back a day later, and…nothing. My wife came and gave me a jumpstart, and I charged the battery once I got home. I parked the car in the garage and turned the ignition off. The battery would not even light the dome light; the car had been running on the electric power from the alternator.
Next day, to Sears. 100% warranty credit. Eleven years…four days. Same brand!
The battery is indeed long-living in my Volare too, as it’s from 07 and only replaced this year.
The most durable battery I ever had was the German-made Varta that came with the 1968 VW Beetle I got new. It lasted almost eight years. The shortest? I’ve never had one last less than four years. Right now I have a three year old Motorcraft in my Mercury.
The factory Delco in my ’84 Cavalier lasted 6 years, and I replaced it with another Delco just as it was starting to die. Shortest battery life? Our ’90 Dodge Shadow – it went through a battery every 2.5 to 3 years without fail (no pun intended). Whenever that happened I got a cab to the Canadian Tire near us, grabbed a Motomaster and installed it myself. Luckily we were never stranded. One time it happened on a Sunday while we were visiting my wife’s family. Luckily Canadian Tire is open on Sundays, so I borrowed my mother-in-law’s car, went into town to get a battery, and repeated the same drill. Funny…a few years later my father-in-law was recycling a skid of old truck batteries from their trucking business, and one of our old batteries was on the skid.
Here in hot Phoenix I average about 2 years. My Prius battery was 2 years and almost $250! Apparently its some special type of “gel” battery, not sure if that’s just dealer BS or not. When I bitched about the price they gave me $50 off. My previous car, a 2007 Grand Cherokee Hemi battery only lasted about 2 years as well. The extreme heat is very hard on batteries here.
Heat is a big killer of batteries, some aftermarket manufactures, like Johnson Controls, actually have different construction for the batteries they sell in areas where it regularly gets really hot than the ones for areas where the climate is milder.
An Energizer that came in a ’01 Neon bought July 1, 2006, still perfectly strong and functional when sold August 14, 2015 in the same Neon. The car itself still ran and drove fine, severe rust had ruined the box structures and K-member.
I’ve had pretty good luck with Motorcraft batteries. Bought a Lincoln LS in 2002 and replaced it after 6 years, just because. Let the second go 7 years and again, replaced it just because I didn’t want to be left stranded. Both showed no signs of problems. Best service I’ve gotten, though, was a full 10 years out of one in my ’68 Cougar, which I don’t driver regularly, so it sits for a couple of a weeks between starts.
My shortest experience was about 12 hours out of an emergency purchase Wal-Mart battery. An improperly rebuilt alternator fried it so it would no longer hold a charge.
My Honda Element came with a glorified ATV battery, shocked me when I first opened the hood. After leaving it at an airport in winter and it barely starting when I returned late at night, I replaced it with a larger (78?) NAPA/Orbital AGM.
That got a little weak-sounding 4 years later in New Mexico high-altitude winter weather so I bought an size 78 Optima red top in 08. I ran it completely down a few times leaving lights or accessories on, ran a powerful work radio off it, used it in extreme heat and cold, let it sit for long periods…I know they were supposed to be crap, even had a battery distributor tell me so, but I got good service from it, maybe it was an accidental good one.
Just replaced it this summer (so a little under 7 years of abuse) with a still-larger size 34 AGM. I have no leeway with the stock cables with that one, all the stock mounting stuff got pushed aside.
My experience says bigger is better. I tend to install whatever will physically fit. Alternator has over 200k and runs quiet.
The output of a battery starts falling the day it leaves the factory. The larger the battery physically is the greater the capacity they can build into it. So it takes longer until the available power drops to the point that it won’t do the job.
2001 Ford Ranger. The factory Motorcraft battery lasted 13 years that I drove it and by then the rust forced it’s retirement so it went to the boneyard with a 13 year old battery that still worked.
A friend got just over 10 years on the original Delco battery that came with his new 1978 Buick LeSabre. That was ten years of cold Canadian winters as well. I get 4 to 5 years at most but got 7 on the Optima battery in my wife’s Taurus. The car was totaled in a collision loss so I don’t know how much longer it would have lasted.
I had a 91 Miata (bought in late 92) and never needed to replace the battery until 2008. It was one of those dry cell batteries, which apparently they stopped selling sometime ago, and I had to get a “battery kit” from the dealer (special tray and vent hose) to adapt a lead-acid battery to the car. Which then died after 2 years. My mother-in-law has the car now, and my cheapskate father-in-law swaps his lawn tractor battery into it on the infrequent occasions they drive it. THey’;ve had the car going on 6 years now, and have put about 5K on it…
The longest 9 years, 6 years longer than the warranty. The shortest 3 months, whit a 5 year warranty.
Not all ‘mine’ but a HK Holden I bought in 2003 had a battery from 2000 in it.
The same battery lasted until I sold the car in 2008.
So 8 years. A personal best for me & I don’t expect to equal it or even come close in the future. About 3 years seems to be it for me.
Oops forgot about my second EH, I fitted a new battery when I put it back on the road in Nov 94 it was still in it when I sold it Dec 04, that car often sat for months at a time when its storage minder forgot to run it but on jumper leads it always fired up upon my return to Sydney each May and would run reliably untill I left again in December used to just swap the plates from my Commodore onto it each year on close inspection you could tell as the rego label read 82 VH Holden auto sedan instead of 83 EH holden auto sedan but the constabulary never noticed. Yuasa battery.
Battery in my 1979 Dodge Aspen died while the car was still under the 12 month/12,000 mile warranty.
Does the car come with many options?
A/C and an AM radio. When I got home after picking it up, oil was low. transmission fluid was low and radiator was virtually empty. I paid $125 for dealer prep, dealer didn’t even say sorry about that and wanted to charge me for oil and antifreeze.
12+ years from an Orbital battery in my Wrangler. That’s roughly 40,000 miles on the Jeep. The battery probably would have lasted longer if I had fixed the short in the fog lights sooner.
Longest: 7-years on an ACDelco in my truck
Shortest: 3 years no-name on the Tercel.
Longest: Got 6 years out of a Schucks special in my ’00 TJ Wrangler
Shortest: The original battery in my ’95 YJ Wrangler (bought in 1998) crapped out after I blew a heater hose which took out the alternator.
Wierdest: The battery in my ’03 PT Cruiser didn’t quite sit right in the tray anyway, and the terminals were dangerously close to arcing on the radiator support. But no signs of it, and it worked, so let sleeping dogs lie. I had it out while replacing the rubber intercooler pipes with aluminum hardpipes and swapping to a big bore throttle body. In those few days (I was taking my sweet time) the battery mustve gone bad, because when I got it all buttoned up I took it for a test drive. Boost came on STRONG, but within 10 minutes I thought I was going to need an excorcism more than a battery. The dash lights went all cockeyed, the radio conked out, my interior lights were flashing and the car started sputtering horribly, refusing to idle then finally died. Someone jumped it and I “miracled” it back home. Jumped online and started researching the issue. Luckily I found out that this is exactly how PT’s act when the battery is dying, due to how the car is wired. A new battery and it was like it’d never happened.
I agree. Many Chrysler cars have weird wiring.
It just needed a new ballast resistor 🙂
My 2004 Nissan Titan, build date 1/04 still has it’s original battery and works fine, even if it sits a couple of weeks between use. I do now carry jumpers just to be safe. Haven’t needed to use them. I bought the truck in Nov ’04 new and now only has 14,300 miles on it. I once bought a battery that lasted about 6 months and then has to be replaced under warranty. I believe it was an Exide brand, but not completely sure about that, it was a long time ago. The Titan battery is made by Interstate. Now that I wrote this the battery will probably be dead the next time I go to start it.
8+ years. In my 1996 Ford Escort wagon, which I bought in Jan. 2005 and kept until Aug. 2013. Never changed the battery in that car and it never let me down. I also never paid any attention to what brand it was, though, guess I should have.
My wife’s Pontiac VIbe 2005 just had the original battery die this passed summer so roughly 10 years on a NUMMI built Vibe.
The battery in my Highlander died a few weeks ago with about 5 years on it.
9 years in an 89′ Lincoln Town Car. (Auto Zone Brand)
I got about 10 years from an AC Delco battery in my 1976 Monte Carlo. I couldn’t believe it lasted that long! That’s kept me buying more AC Delcos, so I’ll see if the others I bought will do as well (it’s only been 2-3 years on any of them so far). I had similar experiences with batteries in my 2008 Acura TSX — and got Honda to pay for one of them with a little squeaky wheel action. I’m wary in my current 2012 Acura of doing much with accessories after the engine is shut off.
Roughly, I believe I go through batteries every 4 to 5 years, no matter what the car, or make of battery – I generally use Deka batteries, if only because I know people that work at the plant in Pennsylvania. I have had other ones in the past (interstate, Sams Club) and they all pretty much last the same amount of time.
I also sometimes have to replace the lead-acid batteries located in the datacenter at work – they generally last about 10 years before they go bad.
My 2005 Mercedes S500 – still on its original battery! It’s an AGM battery in the trunk and no signs of any weakness. Never had one last this long.
The longest I have had was the original Motorcraft battery in our ’01 Ford Taurus. It was still going strong when we sold it in 2009.
The shortest was one in our oh-so illustrious Ford E-150 van, however that can be blamed on sitting for months on end with the trailer brake controller using power for its display light. The battery was about two years old.
The longest I have seen was an Interstate in my father’s 1984 F-150. It died in early 1988 after obtaining my learners permit; not used to a clutch, I killed the engine. It was dead to the world without warning. The replacement was still in the pickup when he traded it off in July 1998.
Longest, 6 years in my Datsun 200SX and still going strong.
Shortest, bought a brand new $100 Guardian battery from Benny’s in Providence, RI, when I bought my Fox Mustang 5.0 notch.
It lasted till it got home, needed a jump the next day, then it was crap in two weeks. Bad charging plates.
Got the money back and bought a Motorcraft.
Paul, I have a battery just like the one you photographed! I got it in January 2007 from a totaled ’06 xB for a price I couldn’t refuse — only $5. It’s in my 1998 Nissan Frontier right now, on its last legs.
Funny thing, it sat on a trickle charger from purchase until spring of ’13, when the Advance Auto battery in the truck finally quit after 9 1/2 years of faithful service.
I had a DieHard last just 2 months shy of 10 years in my former Volvo 240 from 1985-95. This was a replacement (under warranty) of a prior DieHard that lasted only 2 years.
Our Miata git an easy 7 or 8 years. It was very small, but it was in the trunk (for weight balance) also reducing heat. Also, IIRC it was a gel battery. Not sure if that was to allow the smaller size, or because it was more or less in the passenger compartment.
Really don’t have a clear worst experience. Probably our ’10 CRV, which is on it’s second battery. (Wife blames a summer trip to Vegas at 120 degrees, and she may be right.)
Most annoying was the 98 Voyager, which quit with no notice at all.
The time I was happiest to replace a battery was on my 96 Cherokee – it died hard enough that it stalled as I was driving. I had it towed and was waiting for a $500+ repair, but it was just the battery. I still haven’t figured that one out. Very wierd…
I had an E30 BMW that probably went quite a few years between battery replacements at some point. The battery in question was huge and expensive to replace, so it should have held up in a gas powered compact with few accessories by modern standards. IIRC, the car’s first two batteries took it well into its eleventh year. Our other BMWs ate batteries like Tic-Tacs, no matter how big and expensive they were.
The profound suckitude of post-reunification German cars eventually led us to Honda ownership. My 2007 Civic Si sedan is a perfect example of what’s wrong with Honda’s compact battery philosophy. I think the car was about 3.5 years old when I hopped in it and found the battery too dead to illuminate the dome light, maybe an hour after I parked it with nothing left on. Fortunately, the robust electrical system was up to me roll starting the car, and I used it with incline help for the next two days, then fitting an aftermarket battery(Interstate) that’s about five years old now.
I don’t recall replacing the battery in our 2004 Acura TSX. I must be forgetting, but even if it has been replaced once, that’s ain’t bad. I rarely forget spending money on cars though, so it may just have the magical outlier of the tiny Honda battery family that works and works. Our 2012 CR-V EX-L is definitely still on battery numero uno. Now, thanks to this article, I’m worried about it.
And the battery in the 2004 Acura TSX acted weak yesterday before dying this morning. Nice thread topic.
Our 2009 Highlander, purchased new in March, 2009, still has the original battery. That is likely the longest any battery has ever lasted in a car I’ve been associated with. I’ve always figured three or four years on battery life, with anything past that a bonus. Back in prehistoric times, when I was young and my cars always lived outdoors, I can remember replacing batteries every 24 months or so. Motorcycles are even harder on batteries; it was an annual rite of spring, buying the new battery for the motorcycle that hadn’t been ridden in 3-4 months.
Longest: 2003 Jeep Wrangler – I’m sure driving it 100 mi/day for three years helped the longevity. Bought it with 36k in 2006, replaced the original Mopar battery in 2013. Incredible considering our NJ winters.
Shortest: My 1994 Grand Cherokee ate batteries like they were gallons of gasoline That V8 loved it.
EverStart Walmart battery lasted all of 5 months, left me stranded numerous times. Later found a fault in the anti lock module
was to blame for the excessive hunger of batteries.
I was told I set a record when I got 8 years out of a motorcycle battery.
Longest 1997 f250 diesel purchased new Feb 1998 replace Oct 2007 still on 2nd pair using a solar maintainer on dash pad. Shortest from tire store returned 3 times in 6 months and then offered a replacement from different manufacturer now 2 years old
I had a house brand battery from Grand Auto in my ’77 Plymouth that lasted 9 1/2 years, and the original battery in my ’84 Nissan Pulsar NX lasted 7 years. That battery gave no symptoms of impending failure; the car worked perfectly one night, and the next morning there wasn’t enough juice to illuminate the dome light.
I’ve had many Delco batteries which seem to last the exact amount of time that they’re rated. My first Delco came in my ’82 Z28; typically, GM fitted a battery that at its very best it was barely capable of starting the car and if the engine was hot you had to wait for it to cool some. I can’t believe I put up with this “Chevette” battery for 5 years before it mercifully died. A little too frugal sometimes.
My-2008 Ram 1500? still on the OE battery after 7-1/2 years. My wife’s 2003 Mustang is still on her original battery also…12-1/2 years and counting…..
My brother has an ’08 Ram 1500, still on its factory battery. It is painful for me to hear crank, the battery is dead, just not has been told yet. Just replaced the battery last week in my V8 Ranger, it was 5 years old, seemingly working fine, and did it as PM. Do not want to walk home from the store on a 24 degree day this winter. The difference is amazing. I as a professional mechanic, have been studying lead-acid batteries for over 35 years. Women are easier to understand. I have seen batteries in boats so sulfated that the ends of the case were broken out.
I won’t blame anyone if they don’t believe this; I’d be skeptical too as it seems my batteries usually average 4-6 years of service and often motorcycles/snowmobiles/riding mowers even less.
The only new vehicle I’ve ever bought in my life is a ’94 F150; IIRC it had 2.5 or 3 miles on it. Except for a few times letting Girl Friend drive it, I’ve put on all of it’s 130,000 miles and it has it’s original Motorcraft battery. Yes- 1994 to 2015 and it’s still going, although now on sub-freezing days it cranks over pretty slow.
When it turned 20 years old I tried contacting Motorcraft about it- figured they should use it in a promotion/advertisement of some sort- but they never replied. Must have thought it was a hoax… or I just never made contact with the right person.
The F150 is on it’s second serpentine belt, second belt idler, and third set of starter brushes, all put in by me. I can list every part no matter how small the truck has gotten since new, and the list would be pretty short! Alternator is original and by golly it must be absolutely, perfectly matched to that battery!
If the F150 outlasts the Motorcraft, I will definitely go to the stealership for a replacement Motorcraft battery, no matter how much more it costs. It appears to be worth it.
Yup…14.4V is optimum for keeping a 12V flooded lead-acid charged. And today’s alternators, with their solid state regulators, are quite good at that. I have not one, but two GM style CS130 alternators on my V8 Ford Ranger. I am never lacking amps, even on the coldest, darkest, winter day here in NW Oregon when you have everything running.
Sorry to break the news, but if a car company isn’t making money on you, they have no time for you. My brother, some years ago, made a really big deal over his Delta 88 taxi going over one million kilometres. He took pictures, had a party (I am not making this up) and took a video, which he sent to GM, of the whole thing. They didn’t reply.
As for OEM batteries, they are worth it. Batteries are the main reason cars are towed to garages.
The batteries in my cars and trucks would die at almost exactly 2 years. If I didn’t just go and buy a new battery, I would get stuck. Everyone said it was crazy, they had batteries last 5-10 years, yet again and again, 2 years was it. How the batteries seemed to know that the 2 years was up, but a couple of times it was pretty much 2 years to the day from when it was put in. OE, Diehard, Interstate, Penney’s, Motorcraft, etc, they all died in 2 years, or less. They would die without warning. One time, I was sitting in traffic in my ’88 Blazer and noticed that the dash lights were flickering, and I went home and shut it off, and it was totally dead. It wouldn’t charge, and it couldn’t even be jumped. My next vehicle, a 1993 Grand Cherokee had it’s battery die at 2 years and 3 days, at 6am Sunday morning, about 3 miles from the closest place that sold a battery on Sunday.
And then it all changed. When I bought my 2000 GMC, I decided to gamble and the OE battery was ok when I was in a huge wreck and the battery was replaced at just about 3 years. The next one was the OE battery in my 2003 Ram 1500, it lasted almost 5 and a half years. The OE battery in my Charger was still in it when I traded it in at 3 years. And the OE one in my Challenger has over 4.5 years on it, and it seems fine. I do carry one of those jump boxes in the trunk and I have AAA in case disaster strikes again. I expect the original battery will be in it at the end of next year when I trade it for the Challenger Scat Pack I will be ordering.
I got about 11 out of the one in my Marauder.
A battery council article I read several years ago said the average useful life of a battery in the US was about 6 years and the average age of a battery turned in as a core was about 5 years. Now that was something like 5 or 6 years ago that I read that.
I attribute the discrepancy to people who know it is at or passed the rated warranty life that replace so they aren’t left stranded and those people who replace the battery when the problem really is the alternator, a drain, or bad connections/cables.
In my 2012 Kia (bought in Sept 2011) the dealer claimed that the battery tested low when I had the car serviced this past spring. However, everything acted just as it always had, including cranking speed. I was prepared to keep driving it and maybe replace it late in the fall. The Mrs, however, would have none of that, and since she was the primary driver of the car and the one who would be calling me if it left her stranded, I caved and replaced it.
Jim, you should listen to the lady here. Having worked in dealer service, by far and away the biggest reason for tow-ins is batteries. A weak battery can cause all kinds of problems, like a MIL. I can’t count on how many times I’ve recommended replacement of a battery and heard, “well, it will last until winter,” and see the car towed in the next time the wife is stuck in traffic with a dead car and three screaming kids.
What does a battery cost? About a hundred bucks. In today’s world, that isn’t a lot of money.
Honestly, the longest battery I’ve had belongs to my truck. It was bought new in 2003 after being specially ordered by a family member, and in the time they bought it, then sold it to me, it’s still had the same battery.
The shortest battery I’ve ever known of was my father’s 1997 Mercury Grand Marquis. Brand new battery, bought from Autozone. Lasted eleven days. He tried to jump it and recharge it before finally replacing it. Twice. We found out there was a voltage leak that was killing and eating every battery we put into it.
Houston, so every 2-3 years maximum.
I bought my 2004 Dodge Ram new in October, 2003 and it still has its original battery. At one point, about 5 years ago, I bought a replacement battery for it and put it on a shelf so I would have a new one ready on standby for replacement but that battery has since gone bad while the original 12 year OE battery is still going strong. I will leave it until it goes bad, I want to see how long it will last.
The shortest one I ever had was just recently. I bought a new Gold series battery from Advance for my 68 Coronet back in May and it went bad about 2 weeks ago due to a bad cell. They replaced it for free under warranty.
I bought my 1995 Sunfire GT around the end of May, 2006. I replaced the battery in October of 2012. When I took the battery out, I was surprised to see that it was manufactured in either 2000 or 2001. However, I cannot recall the manufacturer of the battery. It seems it was an AutoZone or Advance battery, black with red labels on it. In the end, it may not matter as they all seem to be private labeled these days. Overall, I’ve gotten good service from the Delco replacement batteries. I’ve put a couple in cars over the years and they seem to hold up pretty well.
Many moons ago when I still had my Pinto, the battery died. I was short for cash back then, a buddy of mine sold me an old deep cycle marine battery (for use in pleasure boats) for $5 or so. That battery lasted all five years of my ownership with that car, it never failed to crank the car vigorously in even the coldest Ohio winters. I’ve never bought another one, but I always keep that in the back of my mind.
You should read Consumer Reports. They give good reviews on batteries. Walmart batteries used to be good. Make sure you get a new one (they have a sticker), not one that has been sitting on the shelf for months.
My last few battery changes have tended to be at 4 years almost like clockwork. The last one I had an “argument” with the parts counter person, who claimed I probably had a bad ground, corroded cables, bad alternator, or something else (I think to try to avoid paying partial amount as warranty)…but I’ve owned this same vehicle for 15 years and thus far have had that pretty consistent 4 year battery replacement cycle, plus I’d recently renewed the battery cables (plus the fuse box that sits on top of the battery) and checked my alternator / voltage regulators so I was pretty sure the battery was bad…also when it goes bad I hear a lot of relay clicking (sounds like knitting needles hitting each other…guess I remember the sound from my mother’s knitting days). He was trying to make it sound like replacing the battery was a waste of time, but sure enough, that was the problem…plus I had it on my battery charger all day (it died early morning when I was going to work, so I left it on the charger) but still didn’t seem to want to start any more than it did in the morning. Sure enough, the new battery fixed the problem, and I’ve been driving for several months with no symptom of charging or battery issue.
I was thinking those battery guys have things figured out pretty close…one of my battery changes a few years ago happened 4 years to the day to when I had last had to replace my battery…so if they set the limit for the warranty to 4 years, I’d just squeak in.
My car only has 114k miles on it….I drive mostly short distances these days, so I only put 6-8k miles on the car per year, yet my car has been to both coasts, plus several “almost” coast trips to visit relatives near the east coast (I live in central US)…kind of an odd way to build up mileage…and…this is my only car (15 years old). Maybe that has something to do with how often I replace batteries, since short trips are probably not very kind to batteries. I have a small car, but it uses a group 47 (kind of large battery for a small car)
I hate my 2005 Chevy Cobalt but the battery is original and still working great, the test will be in the winter last year the temp went south of -10 and it was not too happy. I always thought it has lasted longer than most since the battery in located in the trunk and is therefor better protected.
Seem to get about 6 years with all my factory batteries and Sears Die Hard replacements. One exception was my 1978 Pontiac Grand Am, which I factory ordered with a Delco heavy duty battery. I think the heavy duty option was something like $26. The battery lasted for the 11 years and 120,000 miles I had the car.
Oddly, batteries are the hardest thing to sell as a service advisor, and the biggest reason for tow bills. I never wait for a battery to fail. When it’s load tested and gets a poor result, I change them. I don’t wait to get stranded. The industry average used to be 3 yr 8 mo, but that was a decade ago.
I believe that. I have seen many of my boat customers over charge their brand new battery, then are in shock when I call and tell them its toast. I have had customers meet me at the moorage, just so I can prove it to them. And most of these clowns buy a walmart deep cycle, then use it as a starting battery. Then they blame the battery. Or me
As I learned in the car business, you can give best intentioned advice to someone who has zero knowledge of a situation and they will often ignore you. Smart people know how to listen to people who know more about something than they do.
I am OCD about power on boats. I recently helped my buddy set up his for starting/deep cycle batteries, with a solar panel to keep them up. Works beautifully.
The Motorcraft battery that came with my 92 Taurus I bought in 99 lasted until the car died in 2006.
The lights-on alarm is busted in my Sable, so I had to replace the battery last year. I sprung for Motorcraft, so we’ll see.
My ’66 VW with the 6 volt electrical system went through a battery every 8-9 months. There was only one supplier of 6 volt batteries in my area, so Interstate gets the bad rap. The things cost over $100, too and only had a six month warranty so I had to pay out every time. I tried everything, too. Trickle charging would give it an extra month.
I put a new 6v in my ’64 when I bought it from the original owner’s son, and it was still going strong six years later. I forget the brand – it wasn’t a “leading brand” and I had to pour the acid in myself.
In college I worked at a Cadillac dealership that had an Enterprise rental counter back in the service department. One of their customers totaled a new CTS and it was left sitting for awhile back in the body shop lot. Broke as I was, I was screwed when the original battery on my ’99 Saturn SL2 finally crapped out, so I asked the service manager and the Enterprise representative (both cool as hell) if I could swap my old Delco battery out with the newer one in the CTS before it got hauled away. I got the (unofficial) nod from both.
Those same batteries that were junk after 2-3 years in a CTS lasted 7 years(!) in my Saturn. I’m thinking the lack of power equipment and computer crap in my cheapo Saturn went a long way towards the longevity of that Delco battery–and the rest of the car.
It’s all about load. Modern luxury cars have lots of background load, easy 50 amps or more, with lights and all the video stuff, big stereo amplifiers, etc.
Batteries will last longest if discharged steadily to almost flat, and then trickle charged if possible. Your cellphone battery works exactly the same way: you should never leave it on charge all night if you want long battery life. That is pretty hard to do in a car, where load has a lot to do with driving conditions.
When you are driving, especially in winter, there is great load on the battery. The biggest culprits these days are heated seats, followed by rear defoggers. Any dealer repair shop will see a spike in battery business when days get cold and dark.
Heat will also kill a battery, but the real killer is the constant load and high amperage charging. Modern cars have loads of power, even my Rio has more than 100 amps.
So, if long battery life is your thing, then buy a stripper, don’t drive it in hot weather, don’t get any power robbing accessories and your battery will definitely last longer.
Personally, I drive cars with relatively cheap batteries, and seem to change them rarely. The one in the Acura is going on five years now. When they test as anything better than green, I replace them. I doubt in three years I will ever replace the battery in the Rio.
Shortest would be the factory battery in my 2012 Pathfinder – 2.5 years. It left me stranded at Home Depot a couple weeks ago.
I got 5 out of the factory battery in my old my Ranger. I don’t think I ever replaced the battery in my PT Cruiser in the 5 years I owned it, but it only had 50k or so on it when I got rid of it, because I lived close to work most of the time I owned it.
I don’t think I ever replaced the battery on a given car twice. I didn’t replace any batteries on my Stroke 8, any of my W123s, or on my W202. I replaced the battery once on my ’79 300SD in the last year I owned it- it had been sitting in my parents garage the entire winter. The body shop replaced the battery on my ’95 E300 Diesel- I hadn’t authorized it, but they billed it to insurance and they used a Bosch battery, so whatever – I think that was five years after I bought it. I had to replace it on my current car, 2005 ML350, but thats being replaced (kicked to the curb maybe?) by a ’16 Metris. I remember the ’00 Ford Econoline I had tossing a battery at a market on me- I only owned that thing for 11 months and 35k miles though.
And I don’t like remembering replacing both big arse batteries on my GMC T6500. I owned that for a year and a half, but half of that it was sitting on a GMC dealers lot while I tried to sell the demonic thing.
So five years, I guess?
I recently replaced the Interstate “Mega Tron” that came with my 95 F-150.
It was weak when I bought the truck but never failed me until I was about to start a new job. The Sunday before it just wouldn’t, couldn’t and didn’t.
I replaced it with a used Optima Yellow Top from 2011 that I (rarely) used for my trolling motor.
I got 14 (fourteen) years out of the Panasonic battery which was original equipment in my ’88 Toyota truck (which is still my daily driver).
I wrote to Toyota to tell them about it.
Not really sure what the longest was. Long enough that I don’t pay attention to it.
Shortest is probably the 6v I put in my 1950 8N tractor when I restored it. Didn’t last two years. Bought a replacement from NAPA (our ag dealer NAPA, not a normal auto parts NAPA), and I think it’s an Interstate brand. Still going strong, on its forth year, give or take.
My ’15 Fit is a year old now, and per comments above, the tiny battery has me worried. I’ll see how it does this winter. Will probably try to fit a larger replacement when the time comes.
A block heater is your friend. Repeat after me. A block heater is your friend.
I’m a parts store manager and it’s very common to see batteries lasting 10 years these days. CCA ratings are much higher than 20 years ago and with fuel injection cars start quickly so there isn’t the heavy discharge and recharge of years ago.
The real killer of lead acid batteries is heat-hot summers here in southern Ontario are murder on batteries but most car owners don’t find out until its below zero in the winter.
I bought one at Wal-Mart (Brand? not sure) in about June 2008 and it’s still going strong. That’s the 2000 Corolla. Speaking of environment- the battery is strapped down and that strap is anchored to parts beneath with #12 copper wire so it does not budge (lower vibration)- and I think ventilation must be good as the air intake is routed right beside it. Speaking of fuel injection and short-period starts- I can’t remember the Corolla ever struggling to start even on cold days, so that probably helps. It loses water slowly and I am good about refilling it.
Bout 8ish years on my xA. as for maintenance?
according to the manual- 5k oil/filter, 30k air filter, 60k spark plugs. thats it, basically.
probably worth doing the other “lifetime” stuff eventually for good measure. just a simple drain/refill
I got 8 years on a Optima battery that had been warranted for 5. But when it went, there was no soft landing. The car just wouldn’t crank. Fortunately it didn’t happen at an extremely inconvenient time and place.
Shortest: 1 year and Longest 2.5 years i think.
I also use 2013 Acura TSX battery for my car. And luckily, it lasted for 2 years!
My longest is 4 years and the shortest is about 1 year.
Hmm, my longest is 6 years!
But my shortest is just half a year…
What’s The Longest Your Car Battery Has Ever Lasted? My answer is 3 years
Three years ago my longest-life car battery died after 4 years working, then I replace it with a new one and it’s still working now.
Forgot to mention :
My 1982 Mercedes 240D battery (800CCA) once lasted SIX YEARS before giving up the ghost in Indio , Ca. where it was 108* F .
I was happy to find a 950CC replacement @ Wall Mart , cheaper than anyone else too .
I am on the original battery in an 07 Tundra I bought new. I make that 10 3/4 years. Longest battery ever in fifty years of driving.
I bought my 2007 Chevrolet Cobalt from Sunnyside Chevrolet in August 2007. I have an AC Delco battery. Thus is January 2017. 10.5 years with the car’s original battery and still running. Never once have I ever had to jump start it yet.
My current car, a 2006, is still on the original factory battery. I had it load tested last fall and it was still putting out 10A over its rating. The battery is a sealed type that lives in the trunk, with a vent tube that runs down through the floor of the trunk. Since the 2006 cars came out in 2005, the battery is at least 10 years old, which is the best life I’ve ever gotten out of a battery, and it shows no signs of flagging. I attribute the long life to the battery being insulated from extremes of heat and cold, being in the trunk. (also it’s obviously a quality battery and it has never been run dead to my knowledge) The next longest-lived battery I had lasted over 8 years, and it lived under the hood of my old 1994 vehicle. It was run low once but never totally dead. It came from a local chain that claims to have “Batteries for everything”. (and they haven’t been wrong so far) The worst was a series of bad warranty replacements from a local “Farm and Fleet” type of store, the longest lasting about 3 years. I don’t want to find myself stranded, but at this point it seems almost like a challenge to see how long the original battery will make it. (I’ve been having it tested for the last 3 years due to its age)
I really don’t keep track but I replace them in 3-4 years just as a precaution. It gets cold here and if the car is sitting at the airport for a week or two, the last thing I want is a dead battery. Probably four years is about the most I’ve kept a battery. I’m out to have no problems rather than get the most out of a battery.
Longest lasting so far is 15+ years, still working perfectly in my bmw 5-series 1997. OEM battery, “maintenance free”. This year it will turn 16 years in week 42 and I plan to keep it until it shows signs of old age (see attached picture of year/week on neg pole). The battery is well protected sitting in the trunk, this is probably contributing greatly as mentioned by posters above.
Second longest lasting so far was manufactured week 46 2006 and still works fine in my Volvo S80 -07 although a bit slower cranking now during the cold Swedish winter. So the battery is 11 years and turns 12 in autumn, OEM battery of the classical design with open cells that you should keep control over the acid level (never did myself though, maybe they do on the yearly service plan). Quite well protected in a plastic box but not as good as in the BMW.
In the other cars I’ve had it has been much shorter lifespan, maybe around five years or so and sometimes just three.
My 01 Ford 150 still going on original battery. It’s in it’s 18th year. Must have been one they were not supposed to sell I’m thinking. lol.
14 years… the Napa Power H4 (Aug 2004) battery in a 04 Tacoma V6. Replaced it Oct 2018…. with another Napa Power Battery of course.
Usually car battery last about 6 years but sometimes it won’t last that much. What do you think of reconditioning a car battery or buying a new one? By the way, it was very helpful post and thank you for providing us valuable content.
Just replaced the original battery on my 2001 Mercedes S55 AMG. Manufactured in Jan 1998. Last crank in Dec 2018.
The original 2005 Taurus battery lasted for seven years and it’s replacement from Auto Zone lasted one year. It was replaced for free and that one lasted a year too. The Interstate battery is on year 5 and going strong.
Auto Zone batteries seem to be poo.
31 years believe it or not. Had a 1985 Ford cube van with original batteries. In 2005 it was no longer road worthy so we just used it in the farm fields to transport harvested veggies from field to warehouse. We ended up selling the business in 2016. The cube van always started up with no problems and could still be running today but I’m not sure. Also, had a farm tractor battery that lasted 19 years. But now I’m having to change me car battery every 2 years.
my 2011 audi a5 is still on its original battery from the day i bought the car (Feb 2011). Perhaps the battery being in the trunk has preserved the battery.
My Mazda6 2002 (Original Hiroshima manufactured car) did get it’s replacement today as of 9’th June 2020. Means almost 18 years. Most of the driving has been very short trips and it have been drained to zero two times. I live in a “tempered” climate where “hot” summers is far and between but never really cold either. The brand was Panasonic. RIP. Thank you for your excellent service!
01 Dodge Ram 1500 in the upper Midwest still operating on factory original. It was -22 degrees without wind chill this morning when I went for a drive. 20 years and still cranking.
I replaced the factory battery in my 2003 Dakota, it lasted 9 years. The replacement battery I bought from Walmart, it’s now 9 years old and still going strong.
I bought a Sears Diehard for my 1995 VW Jetta and it’s still going strong after 16 years. That’s the longest lasting battery I’ve ever owned. I live in Colorado and we get lots of cold winter weather and hot summers.
15 years ! wow amazing, I have a 2012 Charger I bought new and Battery is still working great “10 years later”, Battery is in the Trunk and Car is Garaged.
10 years on my chrysler 300 and original OE battery is performing great. No corrosion on the posts and plenty of starting power. I attribute it to being an adequately sized battery that is located in the trunk instead of in the engine compartment. The extreme heat from the engine is what degrades most automotive batteries in my opinion.
I have a 2006 Ford Mustang still using original Mastercraft battery installed at factory Temps below 30 below (Iowa) today started every time… faithfully topped with new battery acid yearly never once have had to clean terminals… I am so impressed by Motorcraft battery made in Mexico
I bought my 2009 Silverado 2500HD new with 61 miles in Oct 2009 and it still has its original battery. In August it will be 14 years since the build date. My 2006 DTS original battery lasted 11 1/2 years.