Automotive

Car Batteries - FAQ, General Information, Tips & Tricks

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  • Dec 12th, 2018 10:08 pm
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Jan 27, 2006
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hightech wrote:
Nov 16th, 2018 1:28 pm
Those chargers are great if the battery is in good condition. As Craftsman has mentioned, those chargers only measure the battery voltage not the overall health. The tester I suggested will give you battery health and CCA count. Keep in mind that a NEW battery will rank as being higher than the stated CCA. I just purchased a EverStart MAXX-24F battery from Walmart (Made by East Penn Deka) that is listed as 725 CCA. As you can see by the pics, the CCA is far more than that.

Once the CCA starts dropping below the stated value and the battery health gets lower, this is when you should start shopping for a new battery.

IMG_20181109_125408.jpgIMG_20181109_125413.jpg
Having a higher CCA on a new battery is pretty standard especially if you test the CCA in different conditions. I know, according to the testers, that CCA is the measurement of CA in colder conditions but if the battery isn't cold enough, the only thing a tester can do is approximate what it should be at the current temperatures. Typically warmer ambient temperatures will result in higher CCA measurements.

What I suggest now that you have a brand new battery is to charge the thing FULL and measure the CCA and record the ambient temperature you measured it at and stick it to the battery. That way, you know if you test it later, what the battery was like when it was new and not what is the rated CCA. I would also record the IR number and the voltage as well.
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craftsman wrote:
Nov 16th, 2018 1:48 pm
Having a higher CCA on a new battery is pretty standard especially if you test the CCA in different conditions. I know, according to the testers, that CCA is the measurement of CA in colder conditions but if the battery isn't cold enough, the only thing a tester can do is approximate what it should be at the current temperatures. Typically warmer ambient temperatures will result in higher CCA measurements.

What I suggest now that you have a brand new battery is to charge the thing FULL and measure the CCA and record the ambient temperature you measured it at and stick it to the battery. That way, you know if you test it later, what the battery was like when it was new and not what is the rated CCA. I would also record the IR number and the voltage as well.
That is exactly what I did :)
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Jun 24, 2015
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had my car battery for 8 years before dying. is that too long?
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GoodFellaz wrote:
Nov 16th, 2018 2:26 pm
had my car battery for 8 years before dying. is that too long?
Average is 3-5 years i believe but longer the better cause $$$ saved lol
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GoodFellaz wrote:
Nov 16th, 2018 2:26 pm
had my car battery for 8 years before dying. is that too long?
Despite what you might hear, car batteries don't have an expiration date. If they are treated poorly, they will fail quickly. If they are treated well, they will last a long time.
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craftsman wrote:
Nov 16th, 2018 6:51 pm
Despite what you might hear, car batteries don't have an expiration date. If they are treated poorly, they will fail quickly. If they are treated well, they will last a long time.
What do you find to be the avg. life expectancy of car batteries in your experience? I find that after year 5, the battery starts going downhill in terms of measured CCA and overall battery health. Once the battery health goes to 60% or lower, this is when you may encounter a starting/battery issues.
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DentDude wrote:
Nov 10th, 2018 10:34 am
To the car battery gurus on here, what do you think of the claims made by this reviewer on amazon.com.uk about the Noco 3500 vs the CTEK chargers especially in relationship to what he calls the inferior charging algorithm of the Noco and the superior and proper charging algorithm of the CTEK's. You can find the review and statements here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/customer-re ... B00E907PWS
This link has a comparison of CTEK vs NOCO.
https://www.vintageveloce.com/2012/10/c ... -noco.html

There are some good comments in the article, especially comments & 9 and 21. Comment #9 sounds like it is the same author as the Amazon review. (Keith B = K Burton?)

IMO CTEK is a good technology company whereas NOCO has great marketing. CTEK is recommended or supplied with lots of high end vehicles, but their website and product line are a bit incoherent.

I have a 4.3 amp CTEK charger. It always seems to take at least 4 hours to go through all the phases and completely charge the battery, even for a maintenance charge. Most of the time at the Bulk and Absorption phases. My battery is almost 7 years old and when it was tested this year it retains about 80% of its rated CCA. At almost 7 years it's getting up there but last winter it easily started at -28 C without a block heater.
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hightech wrote:
Nov 16th, 2018 7:27 pm
What do you find to be the avg. life expectancy of car batteries in your experience? I find that after year 5, the battery starts going downhill in terms of measured CCA and overall battery health. Once the battery health goes to 60% or lower, this is when you may encounter a starting/battery issues.
You have to remember that most 'average life expectancies' of a car battery are based on the average user not maintaining the battery at all. Those figures that are thrown around are probably correct if the battery has not been maintained as the vast majority of battery owners don't. If you look at some of the statistics on warranty claimed batteries (ie those batteries returned to the manufacturer under warranty for a fault), at least half of those batteries test just fine at the factory - see What Causes Car Batteries to Fail?. If you combine that tidbit with the fact that batteries typically have a maximum warranty of 5 years, the majority of batteries are just fine at 5 years of age without any maintenance (ie the ones in still in service + the 50% of the returned batteries that turned out to be working).

If you also accept that according to the same article that the majority of failures found in the 50% that did fail was caused due to stratification and sulfation (both of which are preventable by just FULLY charging the battery regularly - ie a little maintenance), then we can probably extend the last statement about 'the majority of batteries are just fine at 5 years of age without any maintenance' to 'the vast majority of batteries will be just fine at 5 years of age with a little maintenance'.

I happen to moderate a car forum of a model that is just 6 years old. And I can say that numbers of 3 to 5 years are pretty much correct for batteries that aren't maintained. There are some that failed earlier and some later and other like mine which is just fine after all of these years. When I ask the question of the owners of those failed batteries if they actually did any maintenance, the typical answer was NO as it's under warranty or it's a maintenance-free battery or whatever the dealer did.

As for the 60% mark, that's probably accurate as well, especially during the colder Winter months. However, the point of doing maintenance is to extend the time as much as possible before that 60% mark is reached - ie instead of 5 years, maybe 7 or 8 years... OR for those who are hard on their battery instead of 2 years, maybe 5 years. Don't get me wrong if you think I believe a battery is forever as it's not as it will fail at some point but that some point doesn't have to be sooner as it could be later.
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^ Yes, auto batteries are not all created equal - even ones of identical specs coming off the same production line will differ in their quality and life expectancy.

They are not binary devices. Think of it more like a school chemistry lab project.

The internal construction isn't a robotically-controlled precise process when it comes to assembling the plates, their separators and the grid holding all that together.

Inserting posts through the case without introducing a risk of leakage is a significant challenge - one cause of premature failure.

As noted, life expectancy also depends on how they are treated. Both by the car owner and the vehicle (appropriate charging algorithm, protected from heat in engine bay, effective hold-downs to avoid vibration, etc.)

I typically get 10+ years from O.E. batteries, 3 to 5 years from aftermarket (or dealership) replacements.

But don't, for example, assume that all Japanese auto makers have factory batteries of equal quality/potential longevity. Doesn't seem to happen. Germans possibly have higher standards for their O.E. suppliers.

A further complication in coming up with an expected life span for a battery is that they eventually fail in different ways.

It is not just a case that crystals start forming on the plates from day one and lead begins to shed into the sediment tray at the bottom of the case. It is how the battery is able to deal with those aging factors.

If all the plates and separators and connecting pieces are, and remain, perfectly aligned the battery may manage the aging process well. Compared to one where that structure wasn't that good initially.

Thinking about that helps you realize why some batteries reach replacement time suddenly (e.g. deposits in sediment tray effectively causing a short) whereas others have a protracted death.

Note also that getting a higher capacity replacement battery won't necessarily guarantee longer life if the vehicle's charging algorithm cannot perform to the required level.
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Jun 24, 2015
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is it true a new battery puts less wear on the electronics of your car? i heard if you have a dying battery it puts more strain on the alternator and is not good in general
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craftsman wrote:
Nov 16th, 2018 2:11 am

C. If you use a charger regularly, the chances of you needing a higher price charger is low (ie. you kept the battery in great condition so you really don't need to recover it if you don't want to).
Craftsman: What do you consider regular use of a charger? Every month, every 3 months, every 6 months?
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Mar 16, 2015
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craftsman wrote:
Nov 16th, 2018 7:52 pm
You have to remember that most 'average life expectancies' of a car battery are based on the average user not maintaining the battery at all. Those figures that are thrown around are probably correct if the battery has not been maintained as the vast majority of battery owners don't. If you look at some of the statistics on warranty claimed batteries (ie those batteries returned to the manufacturer under warranty for a fault), at least half of those batteries test just fine at the factory - see What Causes Car Batteries to Fail?. If you combine that tidbit with the fact that batteries typically have a maximum warranty of 5 years, the majority of batteries are just fine at 5 years of age without any maintenance (ie the ones in still in service + the 50% of the returned batteries that turned out to be working).

If you also accept that according to the same article that the majority of failures found in the 50% that did fail was caused due to stratification and sulfation (both of which are preventable by just FULLY charging the battery regularly - ie a little maintenance), then we can probably extend the last statement about 'the majority of batteries are just fine at 5 years of age without any maintenance' to 'the vast majority of batteries will be just fine at 5 years of age with a little maintenance'.
.
what charger you use to manitain the battery ? because seems like the charging system can’t charge it fully and the smart charger can’t be relied upon because they charge the batteries based on their analysis and if they analyse( based on the surface volt) that the battery is 100% then they wont charge....
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hightech wrote:
Nov 16th, 2018 9:12 pm
Craftsman: What do you consider regular use of a charger? Every month, every 3 months, every 6 months?
It's going to be a YMMV type of answer, unfortunately.

If you accept the following points:
1. Battery sulfation and stratifications are the real enemies of long battery life according to that link from BatteryU.
2. Sulfation starts immediately at discharge from FULL (ie one you take it off the charger basically) AND can be almost fully reversed if the battery is charged soon enough (some estimates say within 6 months of 'normal' used in a car).
3. Stratification happens if the battery sits too long so that the acid and the water 'separate' in the battery. It's completely fixable by moving/shaking the battery (ie regular drives) OR aggressive charging so the fluid in the battery is mixed.
4. Due to the fact that charging systems in cars and the length of the drives, average car batteries cannot be fully charged by driving.
5. According to BatteryU, the rate of self-discharge for a lead-acid battery is 5% per month.

Then, the answer would be how often you drive and how long the drives are.

If you let the car sit and drive it once every few weeks and then it may be for shorter drives, you will need to charge it more often as the car battery will be suffering from discharging from standard car drains as well as self-discharge to counter the sulfation and IF you have a recovery/recondition mode on the charger, that should be ran as well in order to counter the stratification issue. If you run the math on self-discharge and drains from the car in average temperatures, you might find that after sitting for a month, the battery is drained by 10% or more (depending on the drain from the car). So, if you drive short distances, you might only recovery 2% from that driving (I may be a bit generous here on that 2% number). So, after 6 months, you might have lost 48% of the charge with the first 8% of that loss may be somewhat permanent due to the sulfation becoming hard and then each month after that another 8%. In cold weather, the numbers are worse...

So, to keep things in check, quarterly charging won't be a bad idea but monthly charging may be better in the extreme example like the above. As the battery deteriorates (ie an older battery), more frequent charging may be required especially in cold weather.
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CocoJambo wrote:
Nov 16th, 2018 10:41 pm
what charger you use to manitain the battery ? because seems like the charging system can’t charge it fully and the smart charger can’t be relied upon because they charge the batteries based on their analysis and if they analyse( based on the surface volt) that the battery is 100% then they wont charge....
Smart chargers can be relied upon IF you provide the environment for them to work properly - ie. wait until the surface charge dissipates before connecting the charger. Unfortunately, the manuals for many of the smart chargers aren't clear what the environment should be! The other thing is that chargers don't provide enough information to properly tell you what's going on in the battery other than a few simple LEDs which are pretty general in nature. Get a conductance battery tester and learn how to use it (ie connect it up and press a few buttons a couple times.... - if you can charge a smartphone and figure out how to call someone, you can use the tester).

As for what I use, I use a combination of 3 devices - a CTEK 3300 charger (an older unit as when I bought it years ago, I didn't know enough to justify getting a higher end one), an old linear CT 10A charger as I can use it to address stratification as I can get set it to 16V to bubble the fluid, and a plug in desulfator which I built from a kit off of ebay. I've found that after using my two chargers, the desulfator will get my battery into better condition once full according to my conductance tester. Of course, I run the desulfator for 2 days on the battery (that's why I know that 4 hours desulfating a battery does little good in comparison to two days).
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Jan 27, 2006
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GoodFellaz wrote:
Nov 16th, 2018 8:03 pm
is it true a new battery puts less wear on the electronics of your car? i heard if you have a dying battery it puts more strain on the alternator and is not good in general
Kind of.

A better statement would be a battery in good health will be better for the electronics in your car. So, 5 year old battery that has been maintained and tested fine should have no more of a strain on the system than a new battery.

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