Film-Tech Cinema Systems
Film-Tech Forum


Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile | my password | register | search | faq & rules | forum home
  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Film-Tech Forum   » Community   » Film-Yak   » Should I replace my car battery pre-emptively? (Page 1)

 
This topic comprises 2 pages: 1  2 
 
Author Topic: Should I replace my car battery pre-emptively?
Leo Enticknap
Film God

Posts: 6466
From: Loma Linda, CA
Registered: Jul 2000


 - posted 09-10-2017 11:31 AM      Profile for Leo Enticknap   Author's Homepage   Email Leo Enticknap   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Despite having only been in the car since August 5, 2015, and having only done 9,004 miles, my wife's car battery completely died last Thursday, and with no warning whatsoever. Everything seemed perfectly normal when she drove our son to his daycare and then on to work, but when she came to leave work about eight hours later, the battery was so dead that even the electric door unlocking wouldn't function.

Thankfully, I had just got home when this happened, and her workplace is only 1.1 miles from home, so we were able to get her started, get her home, and then go straight to the Honda dealership (in my car, obviously) to replace the battery.

Her car is a 2012 Civic, which is now on its third battery. The one that came OEM in the car died under almost identical circumstances (thankfully it was at home, in the garage, at the time), after two years and 11 months. It was at that point that we bought the one that died last week. Kudos to Spreen Honda, who swapped it for a new one under warranty and without any arguing.

I could really live without the same thing happening to me, only this time just after a service call 150 miles from home and with a three-hour wait time for breakdown service. My car is a 2015 Fit, bought just a week before her last battery went. Therefore, the battery in my car is of a very similar model (151R in mine, 51R in hers, but both OEM Honda batteries), from the same place and almost exactly the same age. It currently measures a steady 12.4 volts with the engine off (I've heard it said that below 12.2 is not good), but there again, there was absolutely no warning that hers was about to go, either.

My wife's usage pattern is a lot more brutal to batteries than mine: she does around 5,000 miles a year, most of it in journeys of 1-3 miles from a cold start. I do 35,000 to 40,000 miles a year, most of it freeway trips of 50-100 miles. So the alternator has more of a chance to keep mine properly charged than it does hers, but even so, I'm thinking that $150 is probably worth it for the peace of mind.

Thoughts? Is there any way of detecting an early warning sign of imminent battery failure without buying expensive test gear like the AAA guys have? A basic multimeter won't tell you, as far as I can figure out.

 |  IP: Logged

David Stambaugh
Film God

Posts: 3992
From: Eugene, Oregon
Registered: Jan 2002


 - posted 09-10-2017 12:24 PM      Profile for David Stambaugh   Email David Stambaugh   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
An OEM car battery should "typically" be good for about 5 years. Of course in extreme hot or cold climates the battery will be stressed more.

Features like keyless entry can malfunction and quickly drain the battery.

Have you tried a code scanner on it to see if anything unusual shows up? Also when a battery does die it can trigger many fault codes from modules all over the car. Those fault codes really should be manually cleared if possible.

 |  IP: Logged

Rick Raskin
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1052
From: Manassas Virginia
Registered: Jan 2003


 - posted 09-10-2017 12:51 PM      Profile for Rick Raskin   Email Rick Raskin   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I'd have the battery tested at an auto supply store. Many will test it for free. Batteries should really be tested with a load tester because it can ID weak or shorted cells. Testing with a voltmeter is usually inaccurate because the hi-impedance meter puts very little load on the battery.

If the battery tests good I'd recommend looking for a possible short circuit or cross in the cars wiring or a faulty component. I'd also test the alternator to be sure it is putting 13.5 volts charge on the battery.

 |  IP: Logged

Frank Cox
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1638
From: Melville Saskatchewan Canada
Registered: Apr 2011


 - posted 09-10-2017 01:01 PM      Profile for Frank Cox   Author's Homepage   Email Frank Cox   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I rarely drive since most of the places I go are within walking distance; sometimes my vehicle can sit for a month or six weeks and not move at all. I used to have a Ford Ranger and this was no problem but when I got my new Escape with all of the fancy electronics the battery would go dead within about a week of sitting around. My solution was to get a permanently installed battery charger under the hood and I just keep it plugged in when I'm not using it.

 |  IP: Logged

Buck Wilson
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 798
From: St. Joseph MO, USA
Registered: Sep 2010


 - posted 09-10-2017 04:46 PM      Profile for Buck Wilson   Email Buck Wilson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Is there any chance she left an interior light on or something?

I'd recommend getting yours load tested at any auto parts store(free) and going from there on your Fit. I personally wouldn't preemptively replace any battery under 5 years of age if it were not showing any signs of failure.

Speaking of which, if you pay attention, batteries normally provide some clues days to weeks before they outright fail... Slower cranking and slower response to increased loads(like when your radiator fan clicks on, the lights dim harder/longer than normal)

 |  IP: Logged

David Stambaugh
Film God

Posts: 3992
From: Eugene, Oregon
Registered: Jan 2002


 - posted 09-10-2017 05:33 PM      Profile for David Stambaugh   Email David Stambaugh   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Some newer cars have automatic shutoff for things like dome lights. Makes it almost impossible to accidentally drain the battery by leaving something on. Don't know about Hondas specifically..

Car batteries do not like being deeply discharged. They may never fully recover their original charge capacity.

 |  IP: Logged

Jason McMillan
Film Handler

Posts: 64
From: Houston, TX, USA
Registered: Dec 2009


 - posted 09-10-2017 06:28 PM      Profile for Jason McMillan   Email Jason McMillan   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Living in Texas where in the summer it can get over 100F/38C multiple days in a row, I replace my car battery every 3 years. They're not that expensive and I'd rather have the piece of mind as I've had too many of them fail on me when I was younger.

It seems most car batteries are either made by Johnson Controls or Exide. The consensus I've run into in car enthusiast circles seems to be that batteries made by Johnson Controls are much better than Exide.

 |  IP: Logged

Mike Blakesley
Film God

Posts: 11993
From: Forsyth, Montana
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 09-10-2017 10:19 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
We sell Johnson Controls batteries (under the Carquest brand). Batteries are definitely a "get what you pay for" item.

If you get a "top line" battery it should easily last 5 years, given average driving conditions. My daily commute is about 2 minutes (twice a day) so I do mostly "intown, stop and go" driving, with Montana's famous cold winters and hot summers, and I have always gotten 5 to 7 years out of batteries. I traded in my 2011 Ranger a few months ago and it still had the stock battery.

Frank, if your Escape is draining your battery after a week of sitting, you might have some other problem somewhere. A modern car should easily be able to sit for a month or more without being started with no ill effects. We have a 2013 Escape that has occasionally sat for up to 10 days and never a problem, although we DID replace the battery in it early this summer.

 |  IP: Logged

Leo Enticknap
Film God

Posts: 6466
From: Loma Linda, CA
Registered: Jul 2000


 - posted 09-11-2017 08:26 AM      Profile for Leo Enticknap   Author's Homepage   Email Leo Enticknap   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: David Stambaugh
Have you tried a code scanner on it to see if anything unusual shows up? Also when a battery does die it can trigger many fault codes from modules all over the car. Those fault codes really should be manually cleared if possible.
The check engine light didn't come on, so it didn't occur to me to do this, but I do have a scanner (albeit a cheap, no-name Chinese one from Ebay), and so will hook it up and see what it says - thanks.

quote: Rick Raskin
I'd have the battery tested at an auto supply store. [...] I'd also test the alternator to be sure it is putting 13.5 volts charge on the battery.
I handed the dead battery over to the Honda dealership when they replaced it, so that's not an option. The alternator did occur to me, though a cigarette lighter plug-in voltmeter is saying 14.4 with the engine idling, which would suggest to me that the alternator is not overcharging. Will measure its output separately, though.

quote: Buck Wilson
Is there any chance she left an interior light on or something?
No, but she does lock the car and arm the alarm overnight, even when it's in the garage, and I've heard that an armed alarm system is a significant power drain. For this reason, I don't with mine. I figure that if a burglar breaks in (which would require physically breaking two locks on either the front or back door, or a double-pane uPVC window), makes it into the garage and is that determined to steal one of our Hondas, then that will be the least of our worries. Besides, without the radio keyfob (which I keep a significant distance from the car, not in the garage and in a non-obvious place), they can't start it anyways. We do live next door to San Bernaghetto - oops, sorry, -dino - but even so, I figure that the risk of a dead battery outweighs the risk of making it easier for someone to steal the car. I'd arm it if I had to park it out on the street, though.

quote: Jason McMillan
Living in Texas where in the summer it can get over 100F/38C multiple days in a row, I replace my car battery every 3 years. They're not that expensive and I'd rather have the piece of mind as I've had too many of them fail on me when I was younger.
I'm thinking exactly the same thing. We've had sustained daytime temperatures in three figures since the weekend of June 17-18 here, and the last two summers have been similar. And although one doesn't tend to think of Southern California as a place that can get seriously cold (at least I didn't, before I moved here), the overnight lows in January-February can hit the low 30s, and very occasionally down into the 20s.

quote: Jason McMillan
It seems most car batteries are either made by Johnson Controls or Exide. The consensus I've run into in car enthusiast circles seems to be that batteries made by Johnson Controls are much better than Exide.
I can't see any clue on the Honda-badged ones as to who actually made them.

I think I am going to go ahead and replace it, but get the existing one load tested, and if it checks out OK, keep it as a good spare. Thanks, folks.

 |  IP: Logged

David Stambaugh
Film God

Posts: 3992
From: Eugene, Oregon
Registered: Jan 2002


 - posted 09-11-2017 06:05 PM      Profile for David Stambaugh   Email David Stambaugh   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Fault codes are assigned levels of severity or importance. Low rankings that don't impact drivability or safety don't necessarily turn on the CEL. But the codes can still be retained indefinitely, possibly sending some future tech on a snipe hunt over some other problem.

 |  IP: Logged

Sean McKinnon
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1513
From: Peabody Massachusetts
Registered: Sep 2000


 - posted 09-12-2017 11:08 AM      Profile for Sean McKinnon   Email Sean McKinnon   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
It sounds to me like you could have a small current drain somewhere. Your battery should not be going dead so often.

 |  IP: Logged

Bill Brandenstein
Master Film Handler

Posts: 275
From: Santa Clarita, CA
Registered: Jul 2013


 - posted 09-12-2017 01:54 PM      Profile for Bill Brandenstein   Email Bill Brandenstein   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Has anyone besides me used the AAA Roadside Service to buy and install a new battery? For about $100 you get a full 5-year warranty (not the 36-month garbage most auto parts stores seem to be full of now) and installation... in your driveway. (Or wherever you happen to be.)

These batteries are branded for AAA but apparently are manufactured by Interstate.

I've done this twice now and am still looking for the catch because it seems too good to be true.

 |  IP: Logged

Rick Raskin
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1052
From: Manassas Virginia
Registered: Jan 2003


 - posted 09-12-2017 05:31 PM      Profile for Rick Raskin   Email Rick Raskin   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Sean McKinnon
It sounds to me like you could have a small current drain somewhere. Your battery should not be going dead so often.
Exactly. You could use a clip on current meter (we called them sniffers) to help locate a fault. With everything turned off see if there is a current drain. A few milliamps would be normal to keep electronics powered up but amps of drain could indicate a problem.

Harbor Freight sells them pretty cheaply.

BTW: I've had off the shelf batteries last between 5 and 7 years.

 |  IP: Logged

Justin Hamaker
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1979
From: Lakeport, CA USA
Registered: Jan 2004


 - posted 09-12-2017 06:37 PM      Profile for Justin Hamaker   Author's Homepage   Email Justin Hamaker   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
For a battery to simply die with no prior indications seems like there may be a charging system problem, especially if it's happened more than once.

As for your battery, I would say heading into winter is a good time to change if yours is approaching 4-5 years old. On the other hand, if it starts right away every time then you are probably in good shape.

 |  IP: Logged

Mike Blakesley
Film God

Posts: 11993
From: Forsyth, Montana
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 09-12-2017 08:12 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Bill Brandenstein
not the 36-month garbage most auto parts stores seem to be full of now
The reason for 36-month is, even if your battery dies on the last day of month 36, you get a brand new replacement battery with another 36-month warranty. Under the old system where you had "72-month" batteries or whatever, the warranty was 72 months but it was pro-rated, meaning in the last few months you only got a couple dollars credit. The "full replacement" period was only for a year on top-line batteries, and less time on cheaper ones.

If I were you I'd check and see if the AAA warranty is for a full replacement or if it's pro-rated.

If it IS a full replacement for 5 years, that's great, but keep in mind you're paying a hefty dues payment to AAA so...pay one way or pay another, I guess.

 |  IP: Logged



All times are Central (GMT -6:00)
This topic comprises 2 pages: 1  2 
 
Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic    Move Topic    Delete Topic    next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:



Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classicTM 6.3.1.2

The Film-Tech Forums are designed for various members related to the cinema industry to express their opinions, viewpoints and testimonials on various products, services and events based upon speculation, personal knowledge and factual information through use, therefore all views represented here allow no liability upon the publishers of this web site and the owners of said views assume no liability for any ill will resulting from these postings. The posts made here are for educational as well as entertainment purposes and as such anyone viewing this portion of the website must accept these views as statements of the author of that opinion and agrees to release the authors from any and all liability.

© 1999-2016 Film-Tech Cinema Systems, LLC. All rights reserved.