Car Batteries Average 2 Years Before Dying In SW Oklahoma
As manufacturing has shifted to China throughout my lifetime, it's easy to develop the thought that "they don't make things like they used to." It's practical American hyperbole but there's also a lot of truth to that.
One example I've believed showed this for years is how long the battery lasts in my vehicle. My hometown had an Autozone so I've been buying the Duralast mid-tier batteries for twenty-something years. While I trust these batteries having used them for so long, I also know the odds they'll last over 18-24 months is slim, and after reading an article about batteries and the weather, I now know why.
Having lived my entire adult life in the Southwest United States and Oklahoma, I've swapped many batteries in my day. Turns out the reason isn't (mostly) that "they don't make things like they used to..." batteries are better manufactured now than they've ever been. It's actually the weather that creates a short life expectancy.
Depending on the climate where you live, an automotive battery will last anywhere between one and six years. The further north you live, the longer a battery will last. I was genuinely shocked to read a subreddit this weekend where people claimed their batteries were nearly ten years old, still holding on strong. They lived in Montana.
In what turned out to be a great discussion with some interesting links to various articles, the gist of the story was that the further south you live, the shorter your batteries will last. Remembering that summer I lived in Corpus Christi where I experienced a world-class heat wave - 22 straight days above 115° - I remember the line of people at the service counter asking for batteries was abnormally long.
Here in Southwest Oklahoma, the average life span is right at two years. What a bummer.
So what can you do to extend the life of your battery? Well, nothing. Nobody can change the weather, but you could shop around for a better warranty.
The cheaper the battery, the shorter the warranty period tends to be. So while you may think you're saving a hundred dollars on that 1-year warranted juice box, if you have to buy two in three years, you would have been better off just buying the more expensive one with the better warranty.
I looked into it and it turns out, the best car battery warranty out there is four years... but it's going to cost you a lot upfront.
As far as I can find, Interstate Batteries MTZ series is guaranteed for a full 48 months. If at any time in that period the battery fails, they offer a replacement at no cost to you. With a premium warranty though comes a premium price.
A normal Duralast Gold battery for my vehicle is $199+tax. The identical Interstate MTZ batter is $379+tax. Even if it goes dead around the normal two-year mark and I get a new battery, the savings is merely marginal.
Walmart does offer a three-year full replacement, two-year pro-rated, five-year total warranty on their Everstart Maxx series if you purchase the additional warranty... but after reading tons of stories about how difficult it can be to get the retailer giant to honor their own warranty, it's hard to say if that too-good-to-be-true warranty is valid.
If you've ever wondered why your battery doesn't last very long living here in the depths of hot Oklahoma, now you know. Best of luck to you.