Berkeley Auto Repair

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New car batteries are failing sooner - JD Powers

JD Powers did an annual survey of vehicle owners, and results were quite interesting - newer cars are having more problems with batteries.

It turns out auxiliary car batteries are failing sooner. Normally you would expect a good quality battery to last 5 years or so but now they are failing at an increased rate after two or three of years of use.

As it turns out the culprits are info systems, entertainment systems as well as the modern key fobs.  Info and entertainment systems are known power hogs because software updates and telemetry communications that occur while the car is parked create additional drain on the battery – not terribly surprising.

But the key fob is an interesting story.  It turns out many fobs are part of a proximity key system (that allows an owner to unlock and start the car while keeping the key fob in his or her pocket or purse).  This function can also drain a car battery’s charge at an accelerated rate when the activating key fob is kept within close distance or left in the car. The reason is the fob and car communicate at frequent intervals and this communication uses battery power.

Batteries need to be fully discharged and fully charged to achieve optimal lifespan. Partially drained batteries partially recharged during commute result in decreased battery lifespan.  Experts suggest taking your vehicle for an extended highway drive (at highway speeds) at least once a month so the alternator can fully charge the auxiliary battery.

The problem appears more pronounced with luxury cars which tend to be loaded with the latest bells and whistles. At Berkeley Bob’s we always check your battery whenever you bring your vehicle for a service. So if you drive a Lexus, Acura, Volvo or an Audi you can rest assured your battery will be checked during every regular service maintenance interval.  

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