battery maintenance/lifespan?

superba1st superba1st at
Mon Aug 25 09:42:31 EDT 2003


My last battery was an AC-Delco that lasted over 10 years of daily driving
under all kinds of circumstances;  I bought it because it cost half the
dealer battery price, it fit, and had a vent tube port.  It was
inadvertently discharged a number of times by different things;  a shorted
radiator fan switch was the culprit several times.  I think it might have
gone longer, but I didn't want to keep calling for a jump.

If you want to know how to determine if your battery is good or bad, look in
the Bentley.  It will also help you to determine if your battery is
hopelessly sulfated.

You may want to know WHY your battery failed if you don't know already.  No
battery will withstand a faulty charging circuit for long.  The simplest way
to tell if the charging circuit is bad is to expose the battery, start the
engine, and use a digital multimeter to measure the voltage at the postive
post to ground.  It should be about greater than the nominal voltage of the
battery.  You might also want to test to see if something is drawing current
when the car isn't running with the ignition switch and all consumers,
radio, blowers, etc turned off.  Connect an ohmeter in series with the
ground strap to frame ground.  If the current draw is much more than 10ma,
you ought to start looking for something that's drawing current and
shouldn't be.  The 10ma may be different for your car;  your clock, radio,
etc. require current to keep alive.

When I went back to Costco to get another AC-Delco, they no longer sold
them, but AC-Delco dealers sold them at a much higher price.  I talked to
the wrench that worked on my car when needed for over 10 years, and he told
me that they no longer installed batteries with vent tube ports.  I went to
my local Sears store, and I suspect Boulder has one, and got the battery
group 41 that was supposed to fit the hole, but the mounting lip was too
big.  So, I returned it and got a group 42 that was a little smaller, fit in
the hole, and could be secured with the bracket.  You can get a battery size
chart on the internet that gives the dimensions of the group sizes.

The common car battery is lead acid and years ago they outgassed some, but
most of today's batteries are "maintenance free" or semi "maintenance free".
You can also get a sealed gel battery that costs 2 to 3 times as much, but
the performance reviews I read were mixed.

The Sears Die Hard I installed has worked perfectly so far, about 6 months,
and I've had no battery gas explosions yet.



Jim Jordan

>  Message: 1
>  Date: Sun, 24 Aug 2003 11:37:24 -0600
>  From: Benjamin Weste Pearre <bwpearre at>
>  To: quattro at
>  Subject: battery maintenance/lifespan?
>  Reply-To: bwpearre at
>  Hi all...
>  Looks like my battery is dying.  It won't hold a charge overnight,
>  even unplugged from the rest of the car.  Before I go poking around:
>  * How long should batteries last in a 200?
>  * Is there any maintenance to be done - filling with water
>    (distilled?) etc?
>  * Any recommendations on where I should go to buy one?  I assume
>    shipping charges on a battery make the dealer more useful?  Any
>    specific recommendations for Boulder, CO?
>  Thanks much!
>  -Ben

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