What is Battery life ? | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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What is Battery life ?


Well-Known Member
December 11, 2004
Reaction score
City, State
Kamloops British Columbia
Year, Model & Trim Level
1994 XLT
Recently I got a flat while I was out Chrstmas shopping and when I took the ex to the tire shop they did a free inspection and said that although my battery was fully charged my battery life was at almost zero. What does this mean? Do I need a new battery?

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maybe they meant by the expiration date. Some batteries have little months and years you can scrape off and I guess they calculated the years on it and said its probably time for a new one. I would say its up to you; if you have good strong starting, then you should be fine. If it is slow to crank, then you might want to look into a new battery. A battery can be fully charged (12.66v) all day long, but when a load is put on it, it shouldn't go below 9.5-10 volts. Good luck


It means they had a salesman working that day.
They want you to spend more than 10 bux, and everybody hates a dead battery.
Go to o'reilly's or autozone, they'll check it for nothing, and explain better. Then it's your choice. If it has been more than three years, I'd consider buying one.

I don’t see why a battery cant last more than 10 years, but each time it gets very drained (ie leaving lights on all night) it adds a big nail in the coffin as it wont hold its charge as well every again.
Also the main causes of battery failure is are really the alternator and regulator. Replace the battery and the real cause may still be un-fixed.

Batteries don't fail because the vehicles alternator aren't producing what they should -- Batteries are chemical reactions (lead and acid). The lead can fall apart, eat away, which will cause a lot charge. The acid changes into water and the chemical change that makes electrolyte will no longer be able to create as much due to acid changing to water. Optimas (which are gel type batteries) last way longer than convential batteries. Batteries that last longer/better quality cost more money. Most people won't fork out a lot of money for a battery. In turn, the life span of their battery is less. So if you get 10 years out of your battery -- you bought a great battery. If you get 3 years out of one, you got your moneys worth probably.


I just replaced my original Motorcraft at five years. The winter did me in. Replaced with Interstate.

drake437 said:
The winter did me in.

That brings up a good point. Why does winter kill batteries? Because of what I said before, the acid changes to water. Water freezes easier than sulfuric acid.

WARNING: I can't stress this enough, DO NOT DO NOT try to charge/jump a frozen battery. Bad things can happen from this!


See the following (top 2 hits from google):

Key points:
The first most common cause of premature failure...
Is due to a build-up of sulfate on the plates, which interferes with the charging and discharging of the battery.

This build-up is accelerated by the following:

high temperature -- over 70 degrees;
discharging the battery below 10.5 volts;
storage without charging

Even what you were saying about acid relates to low change as per to following:
A common cause of battery failure is acid stratification. The electrolyte on a stratified battery concentrates on the bottom, causing the upper half of the cell to be acid poor. This effect is similar to a cup of coffee in which the sugar collects on the bottom when the waitress forgets to bring the stirring spoon. Batteries tend to stratify if kept at low charge (below 80%) and never have the opportunity to receive a full charge. Short distance driving while running windshield wiper and electric heaters contributes to this. Acid stratification reduces the overall performance of the battery.
Figure 3 illustrates a normal battery in which the acid is equally distributed form top to bottom. This battery provides good performance because the correct acid concentration surrounds the plates. Figure 4 shows a stratified battery in which the acid concentration is light on top and heavy on the bottom. A light acid limits plate activation, promotes corrosion and reduces performance. High acid concentration on the bottom, on the other hand, artificially raises the open circuit voltage. The battery appears fully charged but provides a low CCA. High acid concentration also promotes sulfation and decreases the already low conductivity further. If unchecked, such a condition will eventually lead to a user-induced battery failure.

Allowing the battery to rest for a few days, applying a shaking motion or tipping the unit over tends to correct the problem. A topping charge by which the 12-Volt battery is brought up to 16 Volts for one to two hours also reverses the acid stratification. The topping charge also reduces sulfation caused by high acid concentration. Careful attention is needed to keep the battery from heating up and losing excessive electrolyte through hydrogen gassing. Always charge the battery in a well-ventilated room. Accumulation of hydrogen gas can lead to an explosion. Unlike many other gases, hydrogen is odorless and can only be detected with measuring devices.

I am guessing they tested it with a Hydrometer and the reeding’s came up in the red for most of the cells, a hydrometer is the only true way to find out a battery’s heath, a voltmeter tells you nothing about the heath of the battery.