How long should a car battery last?

Updated February 21, 2017

The average life of a car battery is in the range of three to five years. Several factors can lead to a battery's short lifespan. Many people's driving habits contribute to this, leading to the battery dying closer to the three-year range.


Exposing the battery to extreme temperatures, hot or cold, can shorten the battery's lifespan and cause starting problems as the temperature affects the chemical reaction required.


The battery's life can be shortened by several starting cycles and short drive times within a relatively short time frame.

Time Frame

The car needs to run for at least 20 minutes on average for the alternator to fully recharge the battery.


Many batteries are encased in an insulated jacket to help it withstand cold temperatures. Many people, even professional mechanics, often remove this cover, putting the battery at risk of a shorter life.


A car battery's life can also be shortened if it is a standard "starter" battery used in a car containing electronic devices like TVs and DVD players.

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About the Author

Chris Moore has been contributing to eHow since 2007 and is a member of the DFW Writers' Workshop. He received a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Texas-Arlington.