Automotive Column 5 from Under The Hood A Battery Life Cycle
Syndicated Newspaper Column
Batteries are often a neglected part of our cars and that may be because we tend to think about them when they don't work. Once you go through having a dead battery you may be more in-tune to them. Maintaining your battery and regular check-ups are aggravation savers. If you don't know how old your battery is or its condition, find out today.
CAR QUESTIONS TAKEN FROM
OUR WEEKLY TALK RADIO SHOW
Dear Motor Medics,
I have a 2004 Chrysler 300M with the original battery. Do you recommend replacing vehicle batteries as part of a regular maintenance plan? What about the sensors? Should any of them be replaced on a regular basis as well? The car is in great shape and has been very reliable and I want to keep it that way. I just passed 100,000 miles.
Dan in Fairview, Minnesota
Most all car batteries will have a label on them giving an estimated service life range in months the battery will last. Your original battery is now 8 years old and may be ready to fail at any moment or may still have some life in it yet. How can you tell what the condition of the battery is? You can have a battery capacitance test done at your auto service center or auto parts store using an electronic battery condition tester which will look into the battery electronically and tell you things like cell condition, cold cranking amps available, impedance, etc. These things will show you if there is more life left. Once the battery has reached its life expectancy and looks weak on a test replace it or it may fail you unexpectedly. It is important to test your battery once a year because they can fail much earlier than what is printed on the battery. As for sensors, there are some such as oxygen sensors that have a service date but most are serviced only when they fail.
Take care, the Motor Medics
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Advice given by the Motor Medics is for entertainment only. Each problem is different and requires different approaches and answers given here are opinions and just one possibility. In order to make an accurate diagnosis a qualified technician should make a hands-on diagnosis. Always follow all recommended safety procedures and consult with your own qualified technician before attempting repairs of any kind.