Good Battery Life

Messages
1,935
Location
British Columbia, Canada
I finally had to change the battery on my 2000 BMW 528i. I bought the car on Dec 30, 2003 and haven't changed the battery since. That makes for a minimum of 11 years and 5 months in service. The battery was still starting the car but I had to be careful not to leave it for more than a few days without starting. The battery I replaced was a NAPA Legend (I think) with 880 CCA. A very good run in my opinion. Contrary to my usual practice, I had the battery tested when I had to have the car boosted - in March 2009. It was fine - just a bit discharged. It cost $48 to have the battery and the charging system tested. I got over 6 years of additional life out of that battery - making those $48 well spent dollars! Since then I put a CTEK charger on it if the car isn't started for a week or more, and once over a week-end during the winter for good measure. To be fair it's a huge battery that lives in the trunk. And our climate isn't very hot in the summer and, while the winters are cold, the car is kept in an unheated garage and is driven almost daily. But countering that, the BMW has lots of electronic stuff that will run the battery down if the car sits.
 

Nick1994

$50 Site Donor
Messages
13,017
Location
Phoenix, AZ
I'm pretty sure it lasted so long since you're in the cold. Here in the heat, as Chris said batteries don't last.
 
Messages
2,146
Location
Chicago, IL
Very nice run!! I'm of the opinion that periodically topping off the battery dramatically extend the life. My motorcycle's battery is 8 years old and last year, it was getting slow to start and had to be jumped. Since then, I put it on the tender overnight every couple weeks and this spring, its been starting with no issue starting. I even bought a new battery last year but haven't installed yet.
 
Messages
10,273
Location
MA
The question is, was it a flooded or an AGM battery? And did you replace it with an AGM battery? AGM batteries can last 8-10 years so it's not too surprising if you got 11 years out of an AGM battery, even better if it was a flooded battery. Around here if you go to an auto parts store, they test your battery and charging system for free.
 
Messages
727
Location
Perth, Western Australia
Originally Posted By: EdwardC
Very nice run!! I'm of the opinion that periodically topping off the battery dramatically extend the life.
Aside from living in a cold climate, the best thing you can do to increase battery life is to periodically equalize the battery. Google has _plenty_ of info on how to do it right, but for me it means every time I service the car I put it on a charger on overnight that slowly brings the battery up to 15.6V. This ensures that any weak cells are fully charged and the slight gassing (not enough to vent a sealed battery) ensures the electrolyte is not stratified. Vehicle regulators are temperature compensated, and those that live in extremely cold climates are going to get a much higher initial charge voltage than those of us that live in hot climates. For me (who sees very mild winters and stinking hot summers) it generally means the difference between 3 & 5 years on the battery. I rarely see more than that unfortunately.
 
Messages
7,180
Location
CT
They last a long time in German cars, in Mercedes a decade is not uncommon. MB batteries at least used to be made in Spain as well.
 
Messages
1,746
Location
Rochester, NY
Being in the trunk has a huge effect on battery life. My humble 2005 Chevy Cobalt is coming up on 10 years on the factory battery, which is in the trunk.
 

ecotourist

Thread starter
Messages
1,935
Location
British Columbia, Canada
Originally Posted By: EdwardC
Very nice run!! I'm of the opinion that periodically topping off the battery dramatically extend the life.
I didn't top off the battery. I thought about it several times but it was a "Maintenance Free" battery which means hard to open. That combined with hard to get at, meant I left well enough alone.
 

ecotourist

Thread starter
Messages
1,935
Location
British Columbia, Canada
Originally Posted By: Brad_C
Aside from living in a cold climate, the best thing you can do to increase battery life is to periodically equalize the battery. Google has _plenty_ of info on how to do it right, but for me it means every time I service the car I put it on a charger on overnight that slowly brings the battery up to 15.6V. This ensures that any weak cells are fully charged and the slight gassing (not enough to vent a sealed battery) ensures the electrolyte is not stratified.
I did charge it from time to time (3 or 4 times a year in the last few years) so that might have been it. The CTEK battery charger goes through a complex battery rejuvination routine, and that might have played a role too.
 

ecotourist

Thread starter
Messages
1,935
Location
British Columbia, Canada
Originally Posted By: Wolf359
The question is, was it a flooded or an AGM battery? And did you replace it with an AGM battery? AGM batteries can last 8-10 years so it's not too surprising if you got 11 years out of an AGM battery, even better if it was a flooded battery. Around here if you go to an auto parts store, they test your battery and charging system for free.
I'm almost certain it was a flooded battery. That's what I put in anyway. Testing costs in Canada, but it was worth the $48!
 

ecotourist

Thread starter
Messages
1,935
Location
British Columbia, Canada
Originally Posted By: Nick1994
I'm pretty sure it lasted so long since you're in the cold.
I'd agree, a cool climate was likely a big factor, and being located in the trunk helped too. It seems cold isn't as much of a factor as is generally believed. And anyway it was almost always parked in a garage where it hardly ever got below freezing.
 
Messages
5,917
Location
Waterloo, ON
Originally Posted By: ecotourist
Originally Posted By: Wolf359
The question is, was it a flooded or an AGM battery? And did you replace it with an AGM battery? AGM batteries can last 8-10 years so it's not too surprising if you got 11 years out of an AGM battery, even better if it was a flooded battery. Around here if you go to an auto parts store, they test your battery and charging system for free.
I'm almost certain it was a flooded battery. That's what I put in anyway. Testing costs in Canada, but it was worth the $48!
Not sure where you got it tested, but you got skinned. How can that be money well spend? It doesn't add to the life of your battery, in fact the test cost 1/2 what a new battery would be...
 
Messages
5,917
Location
Waterloo, ON
Originally Posted By: hattaresguy
They last a long time in German cars, in Mercedes a decade is not uncommon. MB batteries at least used to be made in Spain as well.
MY BMW had a battery last 12 years. Its located under the back seat
 
Messages
4,430
Location
Guilford, CT
My 9 year old Ranger still has the factory original Motorcraft battery in it. According to my battery tester it's starting to get weak, but you would never know it otherwise. Considering this battery is under the hood and we get pretty hot summers here, I'd say that that's a really good lifespan.
 

ecotourist

Thread starter
Messages
1,935
Location
British Columbia, Canada
Originally Posted By: Bluestream
Not sure where you got it tested, but you got skinned. How can that be money well spend? It doesn't add to the life of your battery, in fact the test cost 1/2 what a new battery would be...
My prior approach was to replace a battery as soon as I had to boost a car, assuming there was no obvious explanation - lights left on or something. That approach had always worked fine - I got reasonable life out of my batteries and hardly ever needed a boost. But if I had done that I would have lost out on many years of useful battery life. In fact a new battery might not have lasted as long as the old one still did. Knowing the battery was still good gave me the confidence to charge it up and carry on. And there's no-where in Canada that I know of that will tell you that for free. So it was money well spent. I could have just carried on without those results, but I wouldn't have done that.
 

ecotourist

Thread starter
Messages
1,935
Location
British Columbia, Canada
Originally Posted By: Bluestream
MY BMW had a battery last 12 years. Its located under the back seat
It's cool inside the car, compared to under the hood anyway. I wonder how long mine actually lasted. 11 years and 5 months that I know of. Anyway, both our batteries did well.
 

ecotourist

Thread starter
Messages
1,935
Location
British Columbia, Canada
Originally Posted By: exranger06
My 9 year old Ranger still has the factory original Motorcraft battery in it. According to my battery tester it's starting to get weak, but you would never know it otherwise. Considering this battery is under the hood and we get pretty hot summers here, I'd say that that's a really good lifespan.
Agreed. You're doing well.
 
Messages
2,815
Location
Michigan
Here is my batt story for people can compare: run of the mill battery in my ridgeline bought in 2007 june new, probably made 9 months before that. The car sat a lot and the battery drained to near dead few times. 2010 winter the car would barely crank. charged with external 20 amp charger, and desulfated few times in 2010. Since then just charge with 20 amp charger once a month. still going strong and worked great last winter. in contrast I bought a optima blue for my four wheel camper, sucker died after 13 months, could not be revived.
 
Top