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Discussion Starter #1
I read the sticky post about using a voltmeter to check, but I think I need further advice.

I have a 2005 Federal Elise and I'm not sure if the battery has been replaced before.

About 2 weeks ago, after sitting in sub-zero (about -4 to -10C) temperatures for 1.5 weeks, the battery did not have enough power to start the car. The radio, alarm, etc all worked fine.

I put a trickle charger on the battery and it was charged the next day, and the car started with no problem. I then waited a few days (no charger attached) to see if the battery could handle a few days without a charge (weather was slightly warmer too). It started fine after sitting for 3-4 days.

I've ordered a Battery Tender so I'll be using that from now on. I don't think I'll have issues with starting the car from that point, at least while it sits in my garage where I can plug in the Tender.

My concern is how to know the battery is ready for replacement. What I want to avoid is if I take the car out of town for a night, and can't start it in the morning (assumption is there will be no place to plug in a Battery Tender in the place I stay overnight).

Should I just ask the dealer to let it sit for a day and put a voltmeter on it, or is there some more certain test they can do? I'm not against spending the money to replace the battery (seems like AGM is the safest/best option from what I read in this forum) if it means I won't have to risk being stuck out in the countryside with a dead battery, but if there is some accurate way to determine if this is likely or not, that would be helpful. No use in replacing the battery if it's not necessary.

I will visit the dealer in a few weeks' time to have them put the summer tires back on, so I could have them deal with battery stuff at that time as well.
 

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A voltage test can be a good indicator that the battery may be failing, however the best test is to use a load tester on the fully charged battery to see if it still has enough of the CCA capacity left that it had when it was new. If it fails a load test or is weak, buy a new one.
 

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Given your year, I'd replace the battery anyway. Use the link Michael posted to choose a battery, but I'd do it now if I were you, as you're on borrowed time.
 

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Cold weather simply inhibits the chemical reaction that generates the electricity making it appear the battery has gone flat. In fact the cold also affects the normal drain of a battery increasing it's standby time.

Charging a battery also has the side effect of creating heat in the unit which brings it back into working order. As long as the electrolyte doesn't freeze there should be no problems or damage to the battery. I've got a dead car started on a snowy morning using a hair drier (no charger around) to heat it and 10-15 mintues later it started and ran fine.

Agree with above - volt test on batteries is not much use to gauge the state of the unit.
A battery can hold volts quite easily but it's amps you need to crank an engine.
 

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Well, a rough test:

With voltmeter attached to a fully-charged battery, crank the engine. If voltage < 10.5, battery is ng.
 

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Actually, it is quite normal to see 9.6V at the terminals of a fully charged battery while cranking ;)
Well, a rough test:

With voltmeter attached to a fully-charged battery, crank the engine. If voltage < 10.5, battery is ng.
 

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Like the OP, I don't want to be stranded somewhere when my stock battery fails. Anyone have any idea how long the OEM battery should be expected to last? Of course there are many variables but I'm just talking in general for someone who takes reasonable care of the car. My Murano came with a wet battery. It lasted for 4 years before it kicked the bucket.
 

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I just replaced my "second" battery.. The first owner replaced the OEM battery with an Odessey PC680, so I assume new one was there for 3 years or more. What are the "symptoms"? The Odyssey PC680 would not keep the charge for two days, even though I used a Battery Tender. When I unplugged the battery tender, when the '05 Elise was unused for two days, the battery would not the car, only clicks could be heard.

So I relpaced it win a new Odessey PC680. It took me all of five minutes.
It did not affect the alarm or settings that I was concerned about.

Now the car starts everytime! :D

By the way: Battery Plus stores stock Odyssey batteries.

-Hal
 

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I just had mine replaced for the first time after 23k miles and 4.5 years of ownership.
 

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thanks for the quick responses. maybe i'll wait another 2 years and then replace it...unless i'm looking for some easy weight reduction. ;)

I hope the OP doesn't think I'm hijacking his thread.
 

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Actually, it is quite normal to see 9.6V at the terminals of a fully charged battery while cranking ;)
well...sure in that pc of crap British car you drive....oh....wait....:D
 

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I've ordered a Battery Tender so I'll be using that from now on. I don't think I'll have issues with starting the car from that point, at least while it sits in my garage where I can plug in the Tender.
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If you want to recondition the battery (desulfate it), you should get a Battery Minder, not a Battery Tender.
 

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Like the OP, I don't want to be stranded somewhere when my stock battery fails. Anyone have any idea how long the OEM battery should be expected to last? Of course there are many variables but I'm just talking in general for someone who takes reasonable care of the car. My Murano came with a wet battery. It lasted for 4 years before it kicked the bucket.
I'd say for a normal battery, > 4 yrs = borrowed time. But, much longer if you use Battery Tender.

You guys all carry jumper cables, right? I bought some really compact ones at a nat'l auto parts store yrs ago, gave a set to lwein here. They go into a little bag that is maybe 6" x 7". Used them to start a friends m/cycle, but don't remember any other application.

You may need them; others* may need help, so carry jumper cables in that voluminous trunk we have.


* could be some sweet young thing.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
If you want to recondition the battery (desulfate it), you should get a Battery Minder, not a Battery Tender.
I did consider that.. but the Battery Minder website didn't seem very oriented towards taking orders outside North America. Battery Tender has distributors in Europe so I ordered directly from their main distributor in Germany, paid by SEPA (EU wire transfer), paid no value-added tax or import duties (since it's intra-EU), and the shipping costs weren't too bad either since it's not coming from too far away. It will come with a European-style plug which makes things easier as well. So I guess it mostly came down to time/hassle on my part. I got the Plus version of the Tender, which also adjusts based on the temperature at the time. I felt this was important since the car is stored in a cold environment.

From what I read on the forum, the Battery Tender has been working well for a lot of people, so I'm hoping the Tender in combination with a new battery I've decided to put in based on the responses in this thread will work well for me for many years to come.
 

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If you want to recondition the battery (desulfate it), you should get a Battery Minder, not a Battery Tender.
I'm under the impression that batteries sulfate when not on, say, a trickle charge such as Battery Tender, i.e. when they are allowed to discharge for some time. If true, desulfating in my case is not likely to be necessary.

Is this impression correct?
 

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Sulfation, is the natural progression in the "death" of a battery, think of it like "cholesterol" in a human. Your battery will eventually become sulfated, no matter how well you treat it and die, but certain conditions will make it worse. Regular de-sulfating is a highly recommended procedure to prolong battery life. Most batteries only last about half the expect life because of sulfation. The makers of Battery Minder make a device that connects permanently to the battery that continuously de-sulfates.
It's relatively easy to determine if a battery is deteriorating, if it does does generate sufficient voltage at a full charge, you can feel confident that it's on it's way out.
 

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Someone outta set up a poll on here to see how long OEM batteries lasted under regular use and "sitting in the garage" use, as well as ones that had been on certain various trickle chargers.

I had to replace the OEM in my 2005 model when i bought it in summer of 2007, so guess it only lasted a few years+. But the car was mostly garaged and I suspect the original owner didn't have the battery on a trickle charger and may have let it sulfate/deplete.

I'd say 4 years +/- is about right for most car batteries from my experience.

If you can let the car sit for a few days off the charger, and it'll still start after that, you might be perfectly fine for awhile in overnight situations.

Fortunately, most people discover their batteries have gone to crud after their cars have sat overnight in their own driveways. But if you're pushing it, storing some jumper cables in the trunk is good for peace of mind (or be prepared to call AAA)
 
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