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Will your car battery last long enough that you never need to replace it? A standard 12-volt car battery has a finite lifespan and begins to deteriorate once produced. Several factors contribute to a car battery’s lifespan, including time, heat, climate, and vibration. Learn some maintenance tips for your car battery to extend its life.

How often will you need a car battery replacement?

Young Woman in Front of a Car with the Hood Up - Her car battery lifespan might have ended
Young Woman in Front of a Car with the Hood Up | Getty Images

Generally, you won’t need a car battery replacement for at least three to five years. Vehicles driven or short trips may not fully recharge, reducing the lifespan. Similarly, vehicles parked for extended periods will have batteries that self-discharge, reducing battery lifespan.

Here are a few things you can do to extend your car battery’s lifespan.

1. Limit short rides

If you’re only driving around the block, you’re better off walking unless you absolutely need your car. Short car rides prevent the battery from fully charging after discharging to start the vehicle. Try to limit the number of short rides you take by planning longer trips whenever possible.

2. Check the battery is securely fastened

Typically, when you take your vehicle in for an oil change, the service center will inspect your battery to ensure it lacks corrosion and is securely fastened in its location. If you perform your own oil changes and maintenance, check the connection’s security leading to the terminals and that the battery is properly seated in its location.

3. Turn off your lights

Most modern vehicles have automatic features that turn off the headlights and interior lights after a specified time. This is a safeguard to ensure your car battery isn’t fully discharged or dead when you return to the vehicle in the morning. If your vehicle doesn’t have this automatic feature, ensure you turn off your lights whenever you park for the night.

4. Remove the corrosion on your car battery terminals

Car Battery Terminal with Heavy Corrosion - This corrosion cuts down on the car battery's lifespan
Car Battery Terminal with Heavy Corrosion | Getty Images

The battery terminals corrode over time, but you can keep them clean and extend your car battery’s lifespan. Scrub the terminals with a toothbrush dipped in a baking soda and water mixture, and then use a spray bottle with cold water to rinse off the mixture. Finish by drying the battery terminals with a clean cloth.

5. Check the battery output

If you like to handle your vehicle’s maintenance, purchase a car battery tester, and check the output voltage whenever you’re under the hood. This will give you a good idea of how long your battery should last. You’ll want to replace the battery before it fails on you.

6. Cut down on electronics while idling

Electronics can pull power from your battery when you’re driving. If you can turn off the radio or air conditioner while idling you could extend the life of your battery. It’s also important to limit your idling time; this can wear down the battery.

7. Purchase replacement batteries from a high-volume seller

AAA tells us to buy a new car battery from a high-volume seller with fresh stock. Stores that don’t receive a lot of business or turn their stock will often have batteries that have sat on the shelf for a long time. These batteries are wearing down while on the shelf. AAA also suggests buying a car battery with an extended full-replacement warranty of at least three years.

Next, check out the Toyota Tacoma reliability scores, or learn more about your car battery and how to care for it in this video below:


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