The average battery life we share here is based on vehicles that we see in our shop. How long a car battery lasts on your car can vary greatly based on a number of factors including how often you drive and climate conditions.
How long does a car battery last?
Most car batteries last four years. We have had a few cars in our garage where the car battery lasted up to seven years before the battery needed to be replaced.
Gone are the days when you could see a car battery last ten years. Modern vehicles put a huge power demand on the battery, which is one of the main reasons why a car battery these days doesn't last more than five years.
We have also had a few cases where the battery lasted less than two years. If a car battery lasts less than two years, it typically is because the battery is defective, the vehicle was parked with a dead battery for a long time, or a parasitic draw that keeps drains the battery.
To find out how old your car battery is, look at the sticker on the side or top of the battery. It has a two-digit month followed by a two-digit year which indicated the month and date the battery was manufactured.
Factors that impact the battery's life include battery type, climate, how often the car is used, and even the type of vehicle that impacts the battery's life.
Several factors can impact the life of a car battery, including:
- Daily driving habits - If you are putting over 20,000 miles a year on your battery, you are driving more than most vehicle owners in the US. This can shorten battery life. Battery life can be shortened if the vehicle is parked for long periods as well.
- Battery type - Lead acid vs. AGM. AGM batteries last longer.
- Vehicle type - Luxury vehicles use the battery more aggressively. The same battery may not last as long on a luxury car compared to an economy vehicle.
- Weather - Battery life can be shorter if you live in extreme weather conditions. Freezing temperatures especially decrease battery efficiency.
- Electrical problems - If your vehicle has a parasitic draw and causes the battery to keep dying when a vehicle is parked overnight, the battery life will be shortened as well.
With that said, you should get at least two to three years from any car battery under almost any condition.
How long does a car battery last after a jump start?
If you allow the engine to idle or drive the car for at least 30 minutes, that should be enough to charge the battery and last for days.
If your alternator is dead and you install a new fully charged battery, even if you jump-start the vehicle, it will only run for about ten minutes before the engine dies.
If your battery is defective, for example, it has a bad cell, that battery will not last or charge. If your battery doesn't hold a charge even after the car runs for 30 minutes, then you may need to replace it. Visit an auto parts store to check that battery. Most auto parts stores such as Autozone and Advance Auto Parts will test your charging system and battery free of charge.
How long does a car battery last without driving?
The battery can last anywhere from three months to five months on a parked car (that does not have any electrical issues). If the vehicle is left parked for longer than six months, it may need a jump start.
Age of the battery, climate conditions, and even the type of vehicle will impact how long you can leave a car parked without driving. What permanently damages car batteries are parasitic draws.
If you leave your vehicle parked for a long time, the vehicle still uses a minimal amount of power from the battery. This is known as a parasitic draw. Parasitic draw is the power consumed by a vehicle even when the ignition is shut off or the vehicle is parked.
If you plan to leave the vehicle parked for weeks, the best thing to do is disconnect the battery negative terminal. Keep in mind that you will need to lock and unlock the doors manually. Another option is to connect a 12-volt battery trickle charger.
How long does a car battery last with the radio on?
With the radio on, a vehicle battery usually lasts only thirty minutes before you need to get a jump start. If your vehicle has a high-capacity battery, you may be able to get up to two hours before the battery gets too weak to start the engine.
If your engine doesn't start if you keep the radio on for ten minutes, the battery may be too weak and need to be replaced. Visit an auto parts store such as AutoZone or Advance Auto Parts and get your battery checked free of charge.
How long does a car battery last without the engine on?
With the engine off, lights off, and ignition on, a car battery can last anywhere from one to two hours before it needs a jump to start. Assuming you have not plugged anything extra in the cigarette outlet and the lights are off.