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Had to Jump My Car Battery Today
Old 04-29-2010, 04:46 PM   #1
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Had to Jump My Car Battery Today

Well, the car battery died today on my car. Luckily, I had a battery jumper (the portable battery jumper type with the positive/negative battery clamps). After jumping the car, the battery still wouldn't hold a charge (died as soon as I turned off the engine).

It just so happened there was a Walmart closeby so I jumped the car, drove it to the Walmart auto service and had them install a new battery.

The battery was over 5 years old, so it was about time anyway.

This got me thinking, do you wait the your car battery gives out, or replace it more frequently. Last time I didn't had a jumper, so had to call AAA. Now, the jumper came in real handy (it wasn't even fully charged beforehand).
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Old 04-29-2010, 04:57 PM   #2
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I wait, I have an auto assistance plan through AARP. So even if someone isn't around to give me a quick jump, I can get a tow truck to come for free to jump my car or take it to a garage within 5 miles. Dead batteries also give off signs when they are close to dying, the cars electric locks will start locking slowly, keyfobs will require a much shorter distance to be used, and the battery will very likely be jumpable a few times in a row before it completely dies. Aside from oil problems, most car problems still allow the car to limp along well enough to reach a station, at least until cars become mostly electric (if something critical grounds out in electronics, there is no way to turn it on until it is fixed).
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Old 04-29-2010, 05:00 PM   #3
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I generally replace my car battery about a week to 10 days before it fails.
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Old 04-29-2010, 05:03 PM   #4
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I used to wait, but on my new car I plan on changing the battery every 4 years. I don't particularly enjoy being stranded (as happened way too often with my old car).
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Old 04-29-2010, 05:04 PM   #5
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My car's battery was showing signs in that the corrosion was there around the terminals. It actually was the first time I used the portable jumper. Very convenient not having to flag down a stranger or wait for AAA.
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Old 04-29-2010, 05:11 PM   #6
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It is true that quite often batteries will give off warning signs before they die. Mostly, you will notice that the starter cranks the engine a bit slower than usual. That said, I have had a couple of batteries going kaput on me without any warning whatsoever.

About the portable battery jumper, I have not owned one, but they look like they have a small portable battery inside. It works when new, but if you have had it for a few years, what is the chance of finding it also dead when you really need it?

I'd say you need to keep a portable Honda generator in your trunk ($1000), and remember to run it once a month to keep the carburetor from gumming up.
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Old 04-29-2010, 05:15 PM   #7
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It is true that quite often batteries will give off warning signs before they die. Mostly, you will notice that the starter cranks the engine a bit slower than usual. That said, I have had a couple of batteries going kaput on me without any warning whatsoever.

About the portable battery jumper, I have not owned one, but they look like they have a small portable battery inside. It works when new, but if you have had it for a few years, what is the chance of finding it also dead when you really need it?

I'd say you need to keep a portable Honda generator in your trunk ($1000), and remember to run it once a month to keep the carburetor from gumming up.

I had a couple of the portable batteries... you had to charge them on a regular basis.. they recommended every 90 days... it became a pain to haul them out, plug them in to charge and then put them back... and there is not a convenient place to put them in most cars..

However, I did use one of them... twice...

BTW, the one I had said if you used it the life expectancy was cut in half..
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Old 04-29-2010, 05:16 PM   #8
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In my case today, there was no real sign..maybe just a blip, then no energy. Yeah, was worried about the portable jumper not working as it's about five years old, and I haven't charged it up for about 6 months..but it still worked like a charm today.
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Old 04-29-2010, 05:17 PM   #9
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It just so happened there was a Walmart closeby so I jumped the car, drove it to the Walmart auto service and had them install a new battery.


Does Wally World do that for the price of the battery or is there an added charge?
I am thinking the wife's battery is going to need to be replaced (and the one in the car too)
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Old 04-29-2010, 05:20 PM   #10
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All wally world charged me for was the battery and battery disposal fee, no extra charge for installing. After tax, total was about $80. My battery was drained at the lot. I think they just installed the battery outside where I was parked.
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Old 04-29-2010, 07:01 PM   #11
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I replaced the battery in my car yesterday, it was still working fine but
was 8 years old so thought it was a good time to put in a new one before
it died in a inconvenient location.
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Old 04-29-2010, 07:45 PM   #12
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I used to wait, until all 3 batteries in our cars died within 10 days. Now I replace mine every 5 years regardless. Then I don't worry.
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Old 04-29-2010, 07:51 PM   #13
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This got me thinking, do you wait the your car battery gives out, or replace it more frequently.
Every four years, and it's on the tickler list.

It's just too much hassle, especially if one of the drivers in your house happens to leave the interior lights on after parking the car...

Our Prius is coming up on four years in a couple months. Last time I checked PriusChat.com a couple years ago, those aux batteries were $150 and tough to swap. Hopefully the price and process have become a bit easier.
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Old 04-29-2010, 08:13 PM   #14
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Here in Florida, the heat takes a big toll on batteries. Three years is a good life for a typical battery. The battery I have now is coming up on three years old and may be time to replace it. I was wondering how the 5-year warranty works if you just walk in and want a new one. Would they still prorate it?
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Old 04-29-2010, 09:09 PM   #15
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In regular use, I've gotten up to 7-8 years out of a battery. When one starts to fail first thing I do is pry up the caps and see if it's dry. If so top it up with water and you may get another 18mo to 2 years from it.

Dryer sheets..that's nothing
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Old 04-29-2010, 09:43 PM   #16
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It is true that quite often batteries will give off warning signs before they die. Mostly, you will notice that the starter cranks the engine a bit slower than usual. That said, I have had a couple of batteries going kaput on me without any warning whatsoever.
Yeah my last one just gave me a couple of barely slow starts before sudden death at exact battery expected life.

Fortunately we were towing it with the RV and had just disconnected at an RV service place, so a mechanic just wheeled their portable battery bank out the the car and jump it for us. Chrysler Jeep was across the highway - quick run over (just before closing) to buy a new one. Lucky!!!!

It's funny - we don't carry a portable battery jumper or even jumper cables. We do carry a marine charger though that plugs into 110.

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Old 04-29-2010, 09:52 PM   #17
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We do carry a marine charger though that plugs into 110.
This is just in case you happen upon a marine who needs charging?
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Old 04-29-2010, 09:59 PM   #18
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This is just in case you happen upon a marine who needs charging?
Hey, LOL!, you never know!

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Old 04-29-2010, 10:39 PM   #19
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One thing about RVs is that even a standard class C like mine has 3 batteries plus a generator. A toad would add the 4th battery. It is unlikely an RV'er would ever be stranded because of battery problems. Comments?
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Old 04-29-2010, 11:30 PM   #20
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Every four years, and it's on the tickler list.

It's just too much hassle, especially if one of the drivers in your house happens to leave the interior lights on after parking the car...

Our Prius is coming up on four years in a couple months. Last time I checked PriusChat.com a couple years ago, those aux batteries were $150 and tough to swap. Hopefully the price and process have become a bit easier.
How many miles on it, or doesn't that make any difference to the battery life? My Prius is about the same age as yours but pretty low mileage since I bus to work.
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