When to replace a car battery

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Lawrence, No, a new decent battery should hold up just fine with 30-60 minutes a week if the Alternator is good, and there is not an amperage draw coming from somwhere.
Alternators do begin to go in time also. I had one go on my '97 Chevy Tahoe, which has relatively low mileage, in which it didn't seem to throw sufficient voltage. (Virtaully all modern Alternators nowdays have internal Voltage Reguilators)
Same with the battery, I had it tested, and sure, after the drive to a shop, it appeared to be fine, but it actually wasn't.
Modern on board computers shouldn't draw so much amerage, that a car is dead a week later. Neither should an Auto Alam, but if one of them becomes faulty, then yes, they can eat brand new batteries quite quickly.
I would also make sure that no lights are being somehow left on, like a tunk light, hood light, or glove compartment light.
Should a new battery be installed, and you're suffering the same problem still, then I'm certain you have other problems as I mention above, as an amperage drawe from somewhere, or a bad Alternator. Mark
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I might add some vehicles today put the battery in the trunk, my wifes cobalt is like that. Battery should last longer away from engines extreme heat.
A buddy works for sears. Some cars require a lift to replace their battery:(
Jack up car, remove front left wheel, remove front left inner fender liner, now replace battery:(
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Mark D wrote:

I agree they shouldn't but some do. I have a 2000 Porsche 911 and if you leave the keys in it, but the ignition off, the battery will be dead in about 5 days. If you take the keys out, it will go several weeks. That's the way it's designed.

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On 18 Feb 2006 05:42:39 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

That could be the security device that's supposed to keep it from starting unless you have the right key. My 1998 Chevrolet pickup is like that. They sent an extra "door only" key. Put that in the ignition switch and you just get buzzing.

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Mark Lloyd
http://notstupid.laughingsquid.com
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

the keys in it if you know about it going dead. OTOH, if you leave the keys in it, you probably don't have to worry about a dead battery. ;)
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Mark D wrote:

I agree they shouldn't but some do. I have a 2000 Porsche 911 and if you leave the keys in it, but the ignition off, the battery will be dead in about 5 days. If you take the keys out, it will go several weeks. That's the way it's designed.

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On Fri, 17 Feb 2006 16:31:31 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (Mark D) wrote:

In my first car (a 1980 Plymouth Horizon) the battery got too weak to start the car in just a few hours. The problem, which most mechanics couldn't find was a defective glove compartment light switch. The light never went off.

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Mark Lloyd
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(Mark D) wrote:

Most mechanics are not good with electrical problems;they tend to be oriented towards the -mechanical- . 8-)
(there are shops that specialize in auto-electrical problems.)

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Jim Yanik
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First, keep your battery clean, because some dirt conducts electricity. Either mix baking soda with warm water, or do it the lazy way like I do it. Pour baking soda over the top of the battery, especially near the ternminals, especially the negative I think. And then slowly pour warm or hot water over the battery. When there is no more bubbling, it's clean enough afaik.
According to Pat Goss, who is the best car guy I know of, and is wasted on Motor Week where he deals mostly with car models and not car innards, the car is using excessive electricity when it i s not on if it is sufficient to light a ??? lightbulb.
I can't remember the number and I'dhave to search my house to find it. It's 57 or 93 or 92 or 53, I think, or close. It's a little spherical incandescent bulb that used to be used a lot for dash or glovebox lights. It has a bayonet mount, one filament, the outer case is the ground, and the center solder place is the + side. Does anyone know which bulb I mean?
When I had a very old battery, it would go dead if I didn't drive until the third day. Eventually it only took until the second day (skipping only one day.) So when I went away for Thanksgiving, I disconnected the battery and reconnected when I got home. The battery was fine. Using the lightbulb above, I confirmed that I was draining too much electricity and eventually I reallized that the pager attachement on my burglar alarm was really not an attachment but a separate alarm. So I was probably using twice what I should have been. Still, if I had used half of what I was using, it would have only lasted 2 to 4 days.
I guess it was before I had figured all this out that I bought a Battery Buddy. Not cheap ($60?? I forget) but worth every penny.
In the following year, it tripped maybe 100 times, and there was always enough electricity in the battry when I reset it to start the car.
The radio presets were lost each time, and the time, and some alleged values that make the car run better with time. Alhthough I never got any impression that my 88 LeBaron ran any worse after the battery was disconnected and recon.. than before then.
So if you're not going to run the car a lot, I recomment the Battry Buddy, (or maybe the 2 simlar products that have other names.)
OR,
There's nothing wrong with a trickle charger. In 1967, I had a '50 Olds that used a 6 volt battery, and it was hard to start on the cold days of the Chicago winter. So I plugged in a 1 amp trickle charger. It didn't do enough when set on 6 volts so i set it on 12. I decided to leave it on whenever I was parked, so I put the charger inside the hood and let the cord extend a bit out of the grill. It ran all winter, tripping its circuit breaker about every 40 seconds for 4 months, and resetting after 10 seconds, That is, it tripped about 270,000 times, without damage to it. I still have the charger 38 years later and it still works fine (although I did replace the diodes.)
I would think a 1amp 12 volt trickle charger would do fine, and you'd only have to plug it in on the times you wren't going to drive for a few days..
On Fri, 17 Feb 2006 09:46:04 -0500, "Lawrence M. Seldin, CMC, CPC"

Remove NOPSAM to email me. Please let me know if you have posted also.
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Most car shops hoping to find some bad alternators checking charging voltage with engine running.
It should be 13.8 with engine running!
Found a buddys car with bad alternator was 10.6
around 10 volts everything will quit.
there are cheap amp probes to check for current draw with everything off. If your car has a underhood light be sure to remove it if doing this test!
a regular glove box or dome light bulb shouldnt deaden the battery even if left on all nite. with a failing battery this will be a problem
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Bad battery(internal short) will lower the voltage too. Not only a bad alternator. Most trouble with alternator is worn out brushes, bad diode in the rectifier block or regulator chip. Sure sign of bad alternator is increased electrical noise on the radio on AM band, flickering light, etc.
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for my pre-2000 vehicles, 12.60 vdc is a fully charged battery, measure it at the cigar lighter with all devices off. start the car, measure 13.8 volts dc at the cigar lighter at the lowest idle. if your car battery is old, it will fail you in the cold weather which causes voltage drop. if your alternator is no good, your car will run briefly on a fully charged battery and die. do not replace the alternator until you test the car's operation with a new charged battery. see also: http://www.uuhome.de/william.darden//carfaq.htm
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get the whole story at: http://www.uuhome.de/william.darden//carfaq15.htm excerpt follows: "HOW LONG CAN I PARK MY VEHICLE? Last Updated on December 25, 2005 The amount of time, usually referred to as "airport", "garage", or "storage" time, that you can leave your vehicle parked and still start your engine is dependent on such things as the battery's initial State-of-Charge (SoC), the Reserve Capacity, the amount of natural self-discharge and parasitic (ignition key off) load, temperature and battery type (plate chemistry). Car manufacturers normally design for at least 14 days or more "airport" time; based on a fully charged battery in good condition, moderate weather, and no additions to the original car's parasitic load (for example, an after market alarm system). The number of days will vary based on the temperature. When a battery drops below 100% SoC, sulfation starts slowly occurring, and this will reduce the capacity of the battery, and left unchecked, will kill the battery.
If you leave your vehicle parked for more than two weeks, then you have several options:
15.1. The best long term (over one month) option is to continuously float charge your car battery in a well ventilated area by connecting a "smart" battery charger, voltage regulated float charger, or 5 watt or greater solar float charger. You will need a "float" charging voltage between 13.2 and 13.8 VDC at 80 F (26.7 C) and at least .5 amps (500 milliamps) to overcome the vehicle's parasitic load and the natural self-discharge of the battery. Do not use a cheap "trickle" charger, because it will overcharge your battery and dry out the electrolyte. This option will allow you to park you vehicle indefinitely, but the battery should be checked periodically.
15.2. Disconnect the NEGATIVE (-) battery cable to remove the parasitic load, but be sure that you have saved any security codes or radio stations presets that will have to be reprogrammed, but the battery's natural self-discharge will continue. This option will work from one month to six months depending battery type and temperature.
15.3. Replace the battery with the largest VRLA AGM or Spiral Wound AGM type battery that will fit, e.g., an Optima or Exide Select Orbital, with very low self-discharge rates. For periods greater than two months, also disconnect the NEGATIVE (-) battery cable to remove the parasitic load. This option will work for six months to twelve months depending battery type and temperature.
15.4. Install a battery with a larger reserve capacity or connect an identical battery in parallel, but the battery's natural self-discharge will continue. For periods greater than two months, also disconnect the NEGATIVE (-) battery cable to remove the parasitic load. This option will work for two months to twelve months depending battery type and temperature.
15.5. Replace the battery when you are ready to drive the vehicle again, especially if the battery is over three years old and in a hot climate.
15.6. Have someone drive your car during the day at highway speeds every two weeks for at least 15 minutes to keep the battery charged.
15.7. Jump start the battery and hope that there is no latent damage.
15.8. Install a low voltage disconnect. This is especially helpful if the driver forgets to turn the headlights off.
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