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Normal life of car battery

gmerkt

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Lately I've had to do some work on my '72 Ford Ranch Wagon. About a month ago, the tail gate glass shattered spontaneously. It happens with tempered glass. You go out and find a broken window for no good cause. This is the second tail gate glass that I've replaced in that car in the nearly 30 years I've owned it. The tail gate is subject to a lot of slamming and banging, I guess the glass can only take so much stress on the mounting points. Years ago, I scrapped out two '71 wagons and one other '72; the two years are about alike. I kept all three tail gate glass windows from those cars. Now I've used two and have only one left.

The failure of this glass I know is spontaneous because it's stored in an enclosed space. The glass when installed is always properly adjusted as to fit into the opening and function raising and lowering (it's electric). I know it's in right because if it isn't, it won't keep out water. I has to fit just so against the weatherstrips.

Anyway, this car has been kind of in dry dock for the past month due to the broken glass. A couple of days ago when we had a brief period of clear weather, I backed it out of storage to replace the glass. It fired up with some cranking of the starter motor and multiple pumps on the accelerator pedal. I let it warm up for about 15 minutes. After I installed the new glass, I took it for a test drive of about six miles, then returned it to storage. Last night, I was thinking I ought to hook it up to the battery charger to make sure it had a full charge.

This morning, I went out and set up the charger. I thought I'd look at the battery case to see what the date was. I like to keep these numbers in mind so I'll know when to expect one to need replacement. Well, time got away from me on this one. The case has a date of 7-09. Isn't that about ten and a half years?? It still spins the starter at normal rpm, obviously it sat for a month without charging and had no trouble cranking over a cold engine for a while. I've never had a car battery last this long.

The factory battery in my 2004 Crown Victoria was dated 5-04. It lasted until 5-14, when without warning it just internally shorted and left me stuck in a gas station. Maybe I ought to change the station wagon battery just on the basis of age alone, and forget squeezing the last nickel out of it and risking getting stuck somewhere again.

In Winter, I don't drive the old wagon much anyway. In cold, humid weather, the heater and defroster work fine for the front seat area. But the farther back you go inside the station wagon "tunnel;" the heavier the condensation on the window glass gets. Sometimes the windows never get fully clear in the course of a drive.
 
If you have air conditioning, it will dry out your car light years faster than the heater.
40 or so years ago I used to get soaking wet in my efforts to maintain a 40 stall horse barn and its out buildings located miles from my farm, I would still be wet by the time I got home and the windows fogged up most the way as I was drying out during a 45 minuet drive. One day I put the air conditioner on rationalizing it was also a dehumidifier, and my windows cleared up almost immediately with me being bone dry by the time I was home. Yes I was nearly freezing at first but preferred to get dry.
 
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+1 on A/C drying out a vehicle. A/C removes moisture from the air and it generally condenses on the A/C condenser and drips outside the car. That is why you will often see a puddle of water under a car that has had the A/C going full blast in the summer where there is higher humidity.

As for car batteries. Lifetime is generally 4-6 years minimum. But it depends a lot on a number of things; mostly the starting load, but also the charging system. If the battery is properly sized, the engine starts easily and the charging system works well, then it a battery can last longer.

Unfortunately, the cheaper the car nowadays, the cheaper the battery and battery cables and charging system are. With a new economy car, some manufacturers put smaller gauge cheaper cables in the car to save a couple of dollars per car. They may also put the minimum sized battery in too. If it starts well during the warranty period, the that is good enough. Many warranty periods are 3-4 years and less than 50K miles - so that about jives with the battery the car has.

If the owner never leaves the lights on, keeps the car in tune and the weather isn't real cold in the winter, batteries will usually last past the warranty expiration date.

Think of the battery cables like a hose and the amperage from the battery like the volume water, with the voltage as the pressure. Smaller cables restrict the flow of the electrons, and require more voltage from the battery - the biggest load, by far, being the starter. Want to see what difference a bigger cable makes? Replace skinny cables with welder cables and nice lugs. I've seen cars turn over twice as fast - the faster they turn over, the easier they start. If your cables get warm to hot after long cranking, they are definitely losing power for being too small.

As for a battery charger - get a battery tender - they do a better job of keeping the battery properly charged on a vehicle that mostly sits and is only occasionally started.
 

Dyjital

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I’ve had 4 year batteries and I’ve had a 10 year battery.

How much do you work it and how good is the internals.
Lottery sometimes.
 

Ura-Ki

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Used to be the Defrost function on cars would also run the A/C and it would not only dry things out faster, but keep the windows clear! I don't know when or why this changed, but it's not like the old days! My Challenger does this and so does my 93 Cummins 1st gen! I remember my 64 Buick also did this! IDK!

As far as your battery is concerned, Yea, it's cheap insurance to replace it if it's that old, it could fail at any time and leave you stuck some place nasty! :cool:
 
+1 on A/C drying out a vehicle. A/C removes moisture from the air and it generally condenses on the A/C condenser and drips outside the car. That is why you will often see a puddle of water under a car that has had the A/C going full blast in the summer where there is higher humidity.

As for car batteries. Lifetime is generally 4-6 years minimum. But it depends a lot on a number of things; mostly the starting load, but also the charging system. If the battery is properly sized, the engine starts easily and the charging system works well, then it a battery can last longer.

Unfortunately, the cheaper the car nowadays, the cheaper the battery and battery cables and charging system are. With a new economy car, some manufacturers put smaller gauge cheaper cables in the car to save a couple of dollars per car. They may also put the minimum sized battery in too. If it starts well during the warranty period, the that is good enough. Many warranty periods are 3-4 years and less than 50K miles - so that about jives with the battery the car has.

If the owner never leaves the lights on, keeps the car in tune and the weather isn't real cold in the winter, batteries will usually last past the warranty expiration date.

Think of the battery cables like a hose and the amperage from the battery like the volume water, with the voltage as the pressure. Smaller cables restrict the flow of the electrons, and require more voltage from the battery - the biggest load, by far, being the starter. Want to see what difference a bigger cable makes? Replace skinny cables with welder cables and nice lugs. I've seen cars turn over twice as fast - the faster they turn over, the easier they start. If your cables get warm to hot after long cranking, they are definitely losing power for being too small.

As for a battery charger - get a battery tender - they do a better job of keeping the battery properly charged on a vehicle that mostly sits and is only occasionally started.

Actually it’s the evaporator coil that does the cooling (and dehumidifying) because that’s where the refrigerant is boiling off (evaporating) into a vapor causing a temperature drop thus cooling the air passing through/over the coil’s surface, then the superheated gas is sucked into the compressor and discharged as a hot gas into the condenser coil where the heat is rejected to the outdoors thereby cooling the hot gas and condensing the refrigerant back into a liquid, then the liquid is pushed back to the metering device and into the evaporator coil...... rinse, repeat.

;)
 
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OP
gmerkt

gmerkt

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If you have air conditioning, it will dry out your car light years faster than the heater.
I know this to be true. But this 1972 model was built for the US Air Force, was shipped to Wash. state. They didn't pay for AC in this one. Nor does it have an AM radio, just a blank plate where the radio is supposed to be.

My '04 Crown Victoria and '06 Mercury Grand Marquis both have AC, of course and when the heater/defroster is on, the AC cycles as part of the dehumidification feature. They give a blend of warm and cool air. I think this is pretty normal is most newer cars.

I go every 4-5 years, question is why have they gotten so expensive?
In part because the value of our money has declined so much.

i'm paying the same price today that I was paying 20 years ago!
I haven't had that experience around here. The past few 24 series batteries that I've bought cost over a hundred dollars each. Not the expensive kind with the cylindrical cells but the black rectangle kind. Then there is the time value of money. In 2020 it takes $100 to buy what $67.36 would buy in 2000. According to the bogus CPI which is calculated by the government. But they obviously don't take into account the cost of vehicles and real estate, which generally have inflated way beyond the CPI. Or the cost of auto repairs at the dealer, I might add.

More depressing, in 1968 which is the year I graduated from high school, $13.61 had the buying power that $100 has today. An inflation rate of 86.4%. Using the bogus government CPI rates.

That's not all that's changed. Back to AC in cars. I've lived in Wash. for over 33 years. Most of those years, I never needed AC in a car but maybe a handful of days a year in Summer. When I wanted it but usually didn't have it. The past few years, I drive all Summer with the AC on. Maybe because I'm older I'm less tolerant of heat. But I also find that I enjoy a cleaner ride. Because when I drive with the windows down in warm weather, I feel sticky and gritty from dust that blows up from the road. Never noticed that when I was younger either.

Whether running with the heat or AC on, whenever i get behind a Diesel engine vehicle, I turn off the climate control. I don't like driving along with Diesel fumes inside my car. I leave it off until I get away from the Diesel. Same comment for ancient Ford F series trucks that refuse to die but are gross polluters with semi-raw gasoline fumes being emitted. Ditto little Suburu racers with greasy black rear ends and exhaust trumpets sticking out, usually the owner has tweaked the engine in a way that makes it burn too rich.
 

NW Backpacker

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I buy 100 month Honda batteries from the dealer, and they will last pretty close to 100 months. If they're 90+ months old and I notice even a slight decrease in cranking speed, I'll get a new one. They are over $100, but I like the reliability.
If I had a 10 year old battery I'd get a new one!
 

SUPER X

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I always install the highest and largest cold cranking amp battery I can fit into a rig. With the cars now being so reliant on sensors and computers with a/c they can easily have trouble when a cheap battery is used .low end stumbling and running rough with ac on is common .Ive had a battery short out like the OP described and after it was jumped the idle was about 3000 .until I replaced the bat and did a hard reset. I have seen old folks and non mech. inclined that went through buildings do to this . Most batterys are made out of the US now and are junk but still have the big price tag. Including the optima that are made in mexico now. Japan and some US made are the better product.I have 2 optima that lasted less than . half the time as the originals I bought 20 years ago.
 
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Actually it’s the evaporator coil that does the cooling (and dehumidifying) because that’s where the refrigerant is boiling off (evaporating) into a vapor causing a temperature drop thus cooling the air passing through/through the coil’s surface, then the superheated gas is sucked into the compressor and discharged as a hot gas into the condenser coil where the heat is rejected to the outdoors thereby cooling the hot gas and condensing the refrigerant back into a liquid, then the liquid is pushed back to the metering device and into the evaporator coil...... rinse, repeat.

;)
Give me a break - it's been 40+ years since I learned this stuff and I am getting older every day. ;)
 
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I buy 100 month Honda batteries from the dealer, and they will last pretty close to 100 months. If they're 90+ months old and I notice even a slight decrease in cranking speed, I'll get a new one. They are over $100, but I like the reliability.
If I had a 10 year old battery I'd get a new one!
The battery in my BMW 325 coupe was replaced just before I bought it in 2005. I replaced it a couple of months ago. That battery lasted 14+ years.
 

DirectDrive

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There are only of few OEM's that make automotive batteries for the US market.
Johnson Controls is one of them and their batteries are GTG.
They are then private-labeled for the various sellers.
Walmart batteries are by Johnson Controls.
 
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Refrigeration is why I make the big bucks! ;) :D
Refrigeration is why my milk doesn't go sour - although, I think it is also because I buy lactose free milk (less sugar in the milk for bacteria to grow).

I no longer make money from hardware - I make it from the software I write. So when I talk about hardware it is usually from off the top of my head and that part is bald, so my memory is imperfect - if that makes sense, which it probably doesn't. :s0153: Can I stop rambling now? :D
 
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There are only of few OEM's that make automotive batteries for the US market.
Johnson Controls is one of them and their batteries are GTG.
They are then private-labeled for the various sellers.
Walmart batteries are by Johnson Controls.
And most of them are relabeled for the retail market. I got my last two batteries for the kids cars at Costco. Probably the same manufacturer as Walmart or Sears or Les Schwab or Batteries plus gets them from.
 

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