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Old 10-29-2015, 08:06 AM   #21
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Heat kills batteries, you need to move to a cooler part of Texas is you can find it.
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Old 10-29-2015, 08:12 AM   #22
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Heat kills batteries, you need to move to a cooler part of Texas is you can find it.
That's a lot like numbers.
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Old 10-29-2015, 08:19 AM   #23
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REW,

I have read that today's cars electronic systems use battery power even when the vehicle is not running. I guess it has to do with storing settings for the vehicle. A dead car battery after sitting for a week or two does not seem unusual.

I'm considering purchasing a lithium ion jump starter battery to be carried in the trunk. Any thoughts on this?
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I don't have any experience with them but a quick look on Amazon showed the most popular units are priced between $70 and $130. I was thinking of something MichaelB mentioned earlier- a battery tender. They are less expensive and will keep the battery charged when the car sits for several days:

Amazon.com: Battery Tender 021-0123 Battery Tender Junior 12V Battery Charger: Automotive
If the battery routinely is drained down, then I would NOT advise the 'jump starter' battery packs as a 'solution'.

STEP A) Measure the drain. If excessive, get it fixed.

STEP B) If the 'normal' drain is enough to discharge between uses (or if you can't get it fixed), then absolutely get some kind of 'float charger' (maybe a solar one would work for you - no external wires needed?).

The BIG problem (and maybe an explanation for your failed battery cluster problem),is that if you let it die, and then jump it when needed, that means the battery has been allowed to go low. Whenever a lead acid battery drops to 10.2V or lower, its life is cut short by A LOT. There is some reaction that takes place as the voltage gets in that range, and it is bad, and irreversible.

This kept happening to us when the kids were small, and they would not get the car doors closed tight enough to shut the light off. We would not notice, battery would be dead by AM. I'd jump it, but we went through a lot of batteries until we learned to monitor that closer, and the kids got stronger.
So keep them from draining down, and you will likely get much more life out of the batteries.

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Old 10-29-2015, 08:54 AM   #24
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Heat kills batteries, you need to move to a cooler part of Texas is you can find it.
There is a lot to that.

When I lived in South FL, batteries never lasted for anyone. 4 years was a miracle.

Northerners complain because when it is -20F, it won't crank, but the battery is just part of that ugly equation.
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Old 10-29-2015, 08:59 AM   #25
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In Texas they're called "battrees"...
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Old 10-29-2015, 01:14 PM   #26
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I have several Battery Tenders like the one REWhoo linked to. I used them on my mower, and two scooters. I also use on to charge the battery on our Honda Pilot. It took over night but it worked. I use them mostly in the winter. They are used mostly on small gel batteries, and they do seem to keep them up through the winter.
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Old 10-29-2015, 01:20 PM   #27
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I don't have any experience with them but a quick look on Amazon showed the most popular units are priced between $70 and $130. I was thinking of something MichaelB mentioned earlier- a battery tender. They are less expensive and will keep the battery charged when the car sits for several days:

Amazon.com: Battery Tender 021-0123 Battery Tender Junior 12V Battery Charger: Automotive
The one you linked is the one I use. It was recommended by the auto mechanic we use. He explained that auto batteries need to remain fully charged, their lifespan falls sharply when they discharge / recharge. I was surprised at how quickly our new Subaru loses charge.
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Old 10-29-2015, 01:34 PM   #28
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He explained that auto batteries need to remain fully charged, their lifespan falls sharply when they discharge / recharge.
He's right. I forget the exact chemistry involved but if it is allowed to run completely down that greatly degrades the battery life span.

The manual for my 2003 GMC truck says use a tender if it is going to sit for longer than two weeks.
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Old 10-29-2015, 02:37 PM   #29
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I got caught in a major traffic stoppage on I-81 last week. Stopped dead and had no way to get out where I was at. It wasn't long before I shut off the engine, but left the key in the ignition. I leave the headlights in the On position in my year and a half old Subaru because I don't like how dark it gets before they'll turn on in Auto mode, and they'll turn off when the key is removed. But they stay on if the keys are in. Oops. After about an hour and a half things started to move, and I tried to start it and got nothing. Fortunately the guy behind me that I'd been talking to was willing to pull in front of me to give me a jump but I felt really dumb continuing to block traffic that had been stopped for so long.

"Luckily" traffic immediately stopped again, for another hour, so I didn't really inconvenience anyone. I had to keep the car running and turned everything else off since I knew it wouldn't recharge until I got moving at highway speeds again. Maybe I don't need to do that anymore with newer cars, but I wasn't about to test it out, and I did have a full tank of gas. When the wreck was finally cleared, I drove a couple more hours and all was fine, but I'm sure I probably shortened the life of the battery.

Lessen learned to pull the key completely out when stopped for any length of time.
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Old 10-29-2015, 02:41 PM   #30
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Oh, another thing I do is have the shop run a load test on the battery when I get the annual inspection done. That has caught several before they went totally dead.
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Old 10-29-2015, 02:42 PM   #31
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I got caught in a major traffic stoppage on I-81 last week. Stopped dead and had no way to get out where I was at. It wasn't long before I shut off the engine, but left the key in the ignition. I leave the headlights in the On position in my year and a half old Subaru because I don't like how dark it gets before they'll turn on in Auto mode, and they'll turn off when the key is removed. But they stay on if the keys are in. Oops. After about an hour and a half things started to move, and I tried to start it and got nothing. Fortunately the guy behind me that I'd been talking to was willing to pull in front of me to give me a jump but I felt really dumb continuing to block traffic that had been stopped for so long.

"Luckily" traffic immediately stopped again, for another hour, so I didn't really inconvenience anyone. I had to keep the car running and turned everything else off since I knew it wouldn't recharge until I got moving at highway speeds again. Maybe I don't need to do that anymore with newer cars, but I wasn't about to test it out, and I did have a full tank of gas. When the wreck was finally cleared, I drove a couple more hours and all was fine, but I'm sure I probably shortened the life of the battery.

Lessen learned to pull the key completely out when stopped for any length of time.
The pull-out method...
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Old 10-29-2015, 10:15 PM   #32
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I religiously keep a charged jumper box in my trunk. The way I figure, once a car battery is about 3 years old, all bets are off as to when the battery decides to not work. I'm sure one can routinely test the battery to make sure there is enough juice left. But I'm fine with just keeping a working jump box handy.
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Old 10-30-2015, 07:49 AM   #33
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I religiously keep a charged jumper box in my trunk. .........
I try to refrain from religion and politics in my posts, but I keep a pair of good quality jumper cables in my SUV. I'd never remember to charge a battery jumper and it would probably kill me in a collision.
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Old 10-30-2015, 08:19 AM   #34
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I religiously keep a charged jumper box in my trunk. ....
For a lot of people, that would only help them if they had a dead battery on Christmas or Easter!

I know someone who is active in their church, does a lot of ushering - they call those people the "Chreasters".

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Old 10-30-2015, 08:40 AM   #35
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I try to refrain from religion and politics in my posts, but I keep a pair of good quality jumper cables in my SUV. I'd never remember to charge a battery jumper and it would probably kill me in a collision.
To remember, what I do is post a checklist on my fridge that every two months I charge the battery.

Also on the checklist is to replace the water filter for the water pitcher in my fridge. For the water pitcher, without the checklist, 10 months later I'd scratch my head and think "Is it time to replace yet?" .
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Old 10-30-2015, 08:43 AM   #36
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For my daily drivers, I change the batteries out every ~three years, if I keep the vehicle that long. For any collectable, I'll keep them a little longer or until I start to "suspect" problems. I can "usually" (not always) tell when a battery is nearing end of life. For my tractors, I'll wait until their batteries die. Since jump starting a tractor is not really inconvenient nor will they leave me stranded somewhere away from home. Last year one of my tractor batteries would not hold a charge but I could jump start it and it would run all day. For about a year I just jump started it whenever I want to run it. (Just to lazy to swap it out)
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Old 10-30-2015, 08:53 AM   #37
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REW,
...

I'm considering purchasing a lithium ion jump starter battery to be carried in the trunk. Any thoughts on this?
There's a bunch of brands of the lithium ion jump starters available. Was watching on Youtube of a guy reviewing one by Stanley that you either plug into the cigarette lighter or hook up directly to the battery. This one, needed some time to start a car whereas some you starts up the conventional way.

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Old 10-30-2015, 11:49 PM   #38
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Heat kills batteries, you need to move to a cooler part of Texas is you can find it.
Oddly enough, I have found automotive battery life here to be significantly longer than when I was a Northerner. As a Northerner, I would try not to let a battery exceed 4 years old, because they would crap out on below-zero mornings when you really need a lot of power to crank a stiff engine. Here, it's instant starts and the load is light.

Here, I have to try to remember to check the date code sometime when I have a hood open, and often get surprised, as ER'd, the years seem to just fly by! (I remember buying that battery, what, two years ago? It can't be six and a half years already, can it? Yup!)

We have standardized on AutoZone's Duralast Gold, the Southern version of it (DLGS, the "S" on the end is for Southern). It is constructed differently, and has different ratings than the full-distribution Duralast Gold (DLG). The Southern version has thicker plates and thicker inter-cell connectors to better resist heat effects. Because of the internal volume taken up by this, it has a lower CA (Cranking Amps) and CCA (Cold Cranking Amps) ratings and usually a somewhat shorter Reserve time (time discharging at a load rate x with no alternator recharging it). But who needs high CCA and CA around here?

This is not an ad for AutoZone... about the only thing I buy there are the batteries! (O'Reilly and RockAuto are my auto parts places).
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Old 10-31-2015, 07:24 AM   #39
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My battery in my Az car lasts maybe 2 years. I always keep it on a battery tender, but I'm not sure if the tender extends the battery life or not. My last battery had a blown cell - started fine after a couple months of inactivity on the tender. Then wouldn't start the next day.

I've been reading about batteries exploding while on battery tenders. Think I'm going to take batteries out of vehicles when I put them on tenders from now on.
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Old 10-31-2015, 08:31 AM   #40
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Oddly enough, I have found automotive battery life here to be significantly longer than when I was a Northerner. As a Northerner, I would try not to let a battery exceed 4 years old, because they would crap out on below-zero mornings when you really need a lot of power to crank a stiff engine. Here, it's instant starts and the load is light.
I lived in CT for many years and the reason for cranking problems in the cold temps of winter are attributed to thick oil, terminal corrosion, but not the batteries cells themselves being killed by the cold. Battery life in TX is much worse in my experience due to those 100 degree summers. See:Hot Weather the True Culprit Behind Car-Battery Trouble - Be Car Care AwareBe Car Care Aware - CarCare.org
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