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speaking about car batteries...
Posted by: space-time
Date: May 18, 2017 05:17PM
what am I doing right?

Civic 2001, I replaced the original battery in 2010 since we had a baby and I didn't want to risk anything. battery was still fine.

Now 7 years later the second battery is just as strong as new. Even in the cold winter the car started in 2-3 seconds.

We shall see how the new Mazda behaves.

How often do you replace your car batteries?
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Re: speaking about car batteries...
Posted by: davester
Date: May 18, 2017 05:23PM
When they fail a load test.

Battery life is extremely variable, depending on climate, time at partial charge (which kills batteries more than anything) and number of charge/discharge cycles.

If kept fully charged all the time and not subjected to many short drive cycles that are insufficient to charge the battery back to full charge, batteries can last decades. If you drive short distances all the time and live in the hot summer/chilly winter northeast or in brutally hot parts of the south you might only get five years.




"In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion." (1987) -- Carl Sagan



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 05/19/2017 08:57AM by davester.
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Re: speaking about car batteries...
Posted by: space-time
Date: May 18, 2017 05:45PM
My commute to work is 4.5 miles. I live in NJ where it can be 10F or even lower.
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Re: speaking about car batteries...
Posted by: Racer X
Date: May 18, 2017 06:18PM
dunno smiley

I have had the same battery in my '72 Skylark since I bought the car in 2004. It was in it when I got it.

You can also slam into some ugly potholes a week after you buy the battery, and get a bad cell.
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Re: speaking about car batteries...
Posted by: Pat
Date: May 18, 2017 06:28PM
First 6 years I replaced 3 sets as the plates broke.
Then I caved and bought some Sears/Odyssey AGMs, and the first set went 5 abusive years. 3 years on second set.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/18/2017 06:29PM by Pat.
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Re: speaking about car batteries...
Posted by: Carm
Date: May 18, 2017 07:23PM
Davester nailed it. Where I live the desert heat kills batteries. I've gone 2- 4 years between batteries for a regular battery in car engine bay. Battery in 2009 Saturn Outlook/GMC Acadia, lasted the longest (6 years). It is mounted in floor behind passenger seat in an insulated box away from engine.

So it's a variety of factors allowing your batteries to last a long time.
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Re: speaking about car batteries...
Posted by: Bimwad
Date: May 18, 2017 07:26PM
Heat (and vibration) are the greatest environmental enemies to car batteries.

Lifespans in hot climates can be considerably shorter than in more temperate locations.

Some companies even go so far as to tailor their products for Northern or Southern markets.

In flooded lead-acid batteries, the electrolyte can evaporate faster, and due to neglect in checking levels, or with sealed maintenance-free, the inability to do so can exacerbate that problem.

Sealed VRLA batteries like AGM or gel-cells are very picky about how they're charged. Break those rules, cause the battery to vent, and you've lost some of its capacity permanently.

Under favorable conditions, batteries can last a long time. But ultimately, they're still consumables.
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Re: speaking about car batteries...
Posted by: Filliam H. Muffman
Date: May 18, 2017 07:47PM
One of my relatives just had problems with the battery in a year old 2015 Subaru. His commute
is only about 8 minutes long and the service center told him he wasn't driving the car long enough to recharge the battery.



In tha 360. MRF User Map
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Re: speaking about car batteries...
Posted by: Racer X
Date: May 18, 2017 07:51PM
Quote
Filliam H. Muffman
One of my relatives just had problems with the battery in a year old 2015 Subaru. His commute
is only about 8 minutes long and the service center told him he wasn't driving the car long enough to recharge the battery.

Years ago, when I was a driver for Domino's, we had a problem keeping the company cars' batteries charged. Running all the accessories at night, with constant restarting, and the car's transmission in overdrive, the alternator didn't put out enough power.

Now, I built a 108 amp alternator and figured out the optimal pulley combination for my Buick, and IT was used for jumping all the other cars as needed.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/18/2017 07:53PM by Racer X.
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Re: speaking about car batteries...
Posted by: tenders
Date: May 18, 2017 10:46PM
It's confusing, because heat destroys battery chemistry, but cold prevents batteries from delivering their full amount of power.

In my experience in the Northeast, batteries are often able to limp through the summer in their final year and stop functioning in late October/November once it starts to get cold. The summer heat reduces their capacity, but you don't notice it until the temperature cools down in the fall.
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Re: speaking about car batteries...
Posted by: Racer X
Date: May 18, 2017 11:31PM
True. I managed an auto parts store in Seattle. Lots of batteries finally bit it when we got our first frosts and it froze at night. Unless the starter is brutally hot, engines are easier to start in the summer.
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Re: speaking about car batteries...
Posted by: davester
Date: May 19, 2017 12:21AM
If you're driving really short distances, buy a battery maintainer to keep the charge level up. Most of them just plug into the cigarette lighter. Either plug it in to the wall or if your car is in the street buy a solar version. That said, get a load test once a year after the first few years to figure out what shape your battery is in.




"In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion." (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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Re: speaking about car batteries...
Posted by: graylocks
Date: May 19, 2017 06:43AM
define a short distance. my daily commute is 20 miles round trip. is that considered short?



"Success isn't about how much money you make. It is about the difference you make in people's lives."--Michelle Obama
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Re: speaking about car batteries...
Posted by: modelamac
Date: May 19, 2017 07:28AM
space-time,

Given that you are in the NE US, as I am, I'd suggest that you replace the battery before this winter sets in. Seven years is as long as I have let a battery "live" under a hood. Most die after 5 years. At 78 yrs, I've had a bit of experience in this climate.



Mr. Curmudgeon, on El Cap and others.
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Re: speaking about car batteries...
Posted by: davester
Date: May 19, 2017 08:55AM
Quote
graylocks
define a short distance. my daily commute is 20 miles round trip. is that considered short?

Different cars take different amounts, and it makes a big difference whether you're running the A/C, heated seats, etc, but 20-30 minutes of driving at highway speeds is the general rule of thumb for recovering the energy used to start the car (the starter motor is the highest demand electricity user on the vehicle). One way to check is to borrow a voltmeter from someone and check the voltage at the battery. A full charge is 12.6 volts with the engine off. If yours is below this level you should buy a smart charter/battery maintainer/battery tender and plug it into the cigarette lighter (this only works if the lighter is "live" when the car is off, otherwise you'll need to find a live circuit to plug it into).




"In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion." (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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Re: speaking about car batteries...
Posted by: tenders
Date: May 19, 2017 10:11AM
I would say that 10 miles each way for a commute, and additional weekend driving, is more than enough to keep a battery topped off.

The interaction between a battery and an alternator is a little bit complicated. The battery absorbs energy at a rate proportional to the difference between its voltage and the voltage the alternator puts out. If the battery is really dead, like 10 volts, the alternator puts a lot of energy into it once the engine starts, and the engine works harder - this is noticeable on boat engines but may not be evident in car engines. This raises the battery voltage quickly. But as the battery approaches a nearly topped off state, it takes a long time to get "fully" charged to those last few tenths of a volt.

As a result, driving a short distance with each use of the starter will result in a battery that is not fully charged, but that is more or less stable at some point of charge because the alternator is working hard for that short period of time. The symptom of this would be a shorter overall battery life, because batteries don't last as long when they're kept only partially charged. Are you going to notice that batteries are lasting five years instead of seven for this reason? Probably not; battery life varies for lots of other reasons too (ie temperature and vibration). Is it worth it to put some kind of maintainer on the battery after every drive? I can't believe it would be. Maybe if you store a car in the winter months - MAYBE. Personally I think it would be better to charge the battery fully and just disconnect it for the season.

In short: DRIVE ON.
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Re: speaking about car batteries...
Posted by: tenders
Date: May 19, 2017 10:20AM
Quote
davester
(the starter motor is the highest demand electricity user on the vehicle).

This deserves some qualification. The starter motor draws the most amperage from the battery: the highest flow, but just for a few seconds. But the headlights draw the most energy from the battery: about 10 amps, 120 watts, drawn constantly. (The AC fans can draw similar amounts of energy, but the AC is only on when the engine/alternator is running.)

I was reminded of this the hard way in January. My minivan was running just fine, no trouble starting, but I left the headlights on for about 20 minutes with the engine off while I was chatting with a friend I bumped into in a parking lot. Battery was dead when I went to restart the van. A battery should easily power a couple of hours' worth of headlights with the engine off. It would eventually have failed to start the car but this was a textbook case of a worn-out, six-year-old battery and I replaced it the next day.
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Re: speaking about car batteries...
Posted by: macphanatic
Date: May 19, 2017 03:05PM
Quote
davester
If you're driving really short distances, buy a battery maintainer to keep the charge level up. Most of them just plug into the cigarette lighter. Either plug it in to the wall or if your car is in the street buy a solar version. That said, get a load test once a year after the first few years to figure out what shape your battery is in.

Many cars now kill power to the lighter after a short time, so this may not work.
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Re: speaking about car batteries...
Posted by: NewtonMP2100
Date: May 19, 2017 03:42PM
....just remember to.........charge it [ double meaning ].........



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I reject your reality and substitute my own!
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