When Should You Replace Your Vehicle's Battery?

hi I'm Ben Weddell and this is Saturday

mechanic today me and my buddy Russ are

gonna answer some of your questions hi

how you doing who do we have on the

other end of the line my name is Suzanne

I'm from suburban New York all right you

have a problem or a question for us


I've had a Yaris since 2007 I bought it

brand new I Drive it on long distances

every day to and from work so I have

about a hundred and fifteen thousand

miles on it all right

and I'm really religious about changing

the oil I take it to the dealership to

do it and it's not because it's the

dealership it's just it costs the same

as if I if I took it to one of those

general you know oil change places so I

brought it in on its last visit and it's

there right now and I need to make a

decision because they're saying it needs

all sorts of things that I haven't felt

anything wrong with it and the main

thing is a battery

they said they gave it some sort of

diagnostic test and the battery is now

soon to expire

okay it's you know it's and it's heading

towards the end of its life and I should

probably replace it and spend one

hundred and sixty eight dollars on a new

battery and my point is but it starts up

every time even when it's really cold

out everything on it works why why ok ok

so this I would assume is the original

battery right right so we're on it it's

six six year yeah so that's actually

pushing it for for being a reliable

battery most batteries are changed out

every five years is recommended now or

less depending on usage I see I see five

to seven years yeah so and you'd mention

that that it always starts up nice and

reliably when it's cold well it's always

the problem that you have when it

happens that you're preventing with

maintenance you don't want it to not

start when it's cold in the middle of

New York sometime when your community

out of the city or whatever right so you

you change the battery ahead of time

with that how do they even test those

battery dross well our old way that we

did for years we used a carbon pile

which would in a sense is a big load

kind of like a giant world's largest

toaster okay and we put that on there

and it should be able to for 15 seconds

hold a specific load and not drop you

below a certain voltage now you're going

six volts that's that's the old way of

doing it which still is still work but

today we we have micro processors inside

the testers and they can test

capacitance and inductance and we can

pretty reliably say that yeah that

battery is at the end of its life let's

say your cell phone battery or your

laptop battery seem to have a less and

less life yet they still work right okay

yeah it's kind of like your your cup is

still the same size and you still fill

it all the way up but it just you have a

hole in the bottom now and it drains out

faster yeah so let me ask a question

because you know growing up in the 70s

and 80s there were the batteries that

used to have to put that distilled water

in - mm-hmm yes it is yeah

these big batteries you don't do that

anymore okay yep well there are several

different kinds of batteries I mean

there's but our typical maintenance-free

battery today no there's it's

maintenance-free but you have over years

of battery sulfates and the plates in

there become covered and so the surface

area that's exposed is less and less

yeah the and chemistry changes hammer

time Andy and use that it starts fine

when it's cold but cold to a car is zero

degrees in the end you touch really cold

days it would be good preventive

maintenance if you're added six years in

life it is given a good life okay and

they're just saying we've done a test

your battery is not the physically fit

battery it was when it was new or even a

year ago and so you that you won't be

left on the side of the road I mean just

go ahead don't change it yeah you don't

have to it won't last

sure I mean it'll still go it may go it

may go through the winter but if it

doesn't then said it would it could do

damage to the computer on the car that's

baloney I think isn't it I only I can't

see doing damage shorted cell would drop

out to point one volts damage doesn't

damage it I could see it going stupid if

it you know if you drop a low 10 volts a

lot of the computers won't respond won't

turn on yeah you'll start to see funny

things happen in the dash and

a minute just that's really true because

last week and again I thought it was

because it was 32 degrees out one

morning but I turned on the radio and

the LEDs will look like hieroglyphics

hmm that's more to do with the LED on or

the LCD it would be I'm not I'm not

gonna go I'm not we're talking batteries

I'm not talking I don't want yeah I I

agree with them now price does that

include labor yeah okay depending where

it's located it might be easy to get in

and out and you'll have a warranty with

that probably the warranty is going to

be for an a battery like that it should

be oh I would guess a couple years yeah

at least two maybe yeah and you live in

a pretty temperate climate if you live

in the New York City area I have friends

that live in Winnipeg Manitoba and

friends that live in Phoenix and they

have live in extreme conditions and the

heat is really hard on batteries you

don't have that and the cold the

constant cold is bad if a battery

discharges in it's left cold it will

freeze the the sulfuric acid electrolyte

solution that we have in there as it

discharges becomes more like water and

will freeze a discharged battery will

freeze a fully charged battery will not

freeze so I would say I would say that

they are not steering you wrong I have

question about the ruining your computer

okay but six years yeah six years was a

good life okay it's time to go to that

great battery recycling center in the

sky you'll have peace of mind and other

other are there other issues you've had

with this car 115,000 miles so if that's

it thanks for calling in today and

hopefully help hopefully helped yeah