Car battery lasted 11 years?

I replaced the battery in my 80 year old mother's '93 Gran Prix, which she putts around her small town in. It was an Interstate battery, and when I removed it I was surprised to see the date: the month was June,
and the 'year' digit was 6, indicating -- so I thought -- June of 2006.
But I was quite sure she hadn't replaced the battery in it in the last year, and she had no recollection of it either -- nor could she find any reciept for a battery with all her other car reciepts. Plus it looked older than 1 year anyway -- it's located under the washer tank, and the way she putts around a 1 year old one would still look new.
Her local service station guy (Interstate dealer, whom she's known forever) was sure that the battery was way older than that also.
Could that battery actually have been installed in June of 1996 and lasted 11 freakin' years? From what I've seen most people never get much more than 5 or 6, and usually less.
I'm pretty sure that battery actually is 11 years old. My question is, if it's even _possible_ for one to last that long, why don't the other 98% of them last even half that?
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My Grandparents still have the original battery in there 1997 Chevy Lumina. It only has around 72,000 Km's on it, and is used like your Grandmother's car. Basically only around town.
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James Goforth wrote:

Weather, driving conditions, storage conditions and luck of the draw all matter. A mild climate where the car spends most of the time in an attached garage is going to be easy on the battery. Heat, extreme cold, heavy vibration and deep discharges are all battery life reducers. I can believe that a battery might have made it 11 years under ideal conditions. It is interesting, however, that the implication is that the original battery only made it 3 years.
John
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John wrote, "...It is interesting, however, that the implication is that the original battery only made it 3 years." ***************************************** I thought the same thing, although the car was likely built and sold in '92 as the "new" '93 Gan Prix, with the battery having been manufactured even before the car. etc... which would make the battery probably around 4 years old before it died in June of '96. In the dead of winter that car would get started up and driven literally one block (to church) and then shut off...or to the coffee shop, which is 3 blocks, etc... So a car driven under those conditions wouldn't have been a likely candidate for the battery to have an extraordinary life span in the first place. Car had 66K miles in '95 when she bought it and has about 130K on it now.
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My 93 Intrepid had the original battery, and it was pretty much as good as original, until an accident at 7 years. In some regards, it's the luck of the draw.
But batteries today do last longer.
Some of it is the technology. I've heard the Sear DieHard have an incredibly bad reputation for infant mortality. But if you past the first 6 months, they seem to last forever. Heck, I had a Yaseu battery in my CBX and it lasted till 1988.
But todays cars are much 'softer' on batteries than cars used to be. No more '2-step' charging. It's all variable field alternators now that give a battery what it needs in a nice smooth stream, as opposed to the old 'cook for a while' regulators.
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Really?
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well.
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It's possible, even here in the harsh WNY where we get extremely cold winters and very hot/humid summers, I've averaged about 7 years a battery. Hell I've even picked up some cheapo Interstate blem's that have lasted a long time also!
-GV
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