When I lived in Phoenix I never got one to last more than 2 summers. I've
been in Flagstaff 4 years and haven't replaced a battery yet!
The green eye isn't a positive indicator of battery condition. Any chain
store that sells batteries will test it for free, and they are usually
honest about it. I think the battery is toast.
Battery output capability is determined by the surface area of plates
and amount of total electrolyte available in the battery.
Battery life is determined by two factors. First, the amount of space
left by the manufacturer below the bottom of the plates and bottom of
the battery casing. This is where the lead sulfate particulate matter
accumulates over time. The second is the rate of lead sulfate
accumulation. The latter can be strongly influenced by how much power
is used from the battery on a regular basis (lots of starts, short
trips, heavy battery demands - airconditioner clutches, etc) all
Most batteries "die" when the lead sulfate finally reaches the level
of the bottom of the plates and shorts out one or more cells. You can
have a fairly new battery and experience this if you drive up a very
steep hill or tip the vehicle in some way....the lead sulfate can move
down and short a cell.
Manufacturer's always calculate the space to leave in a way that the
average battery will "die" about 1 year to 6 months prior to the
battery warranty ending. You will most likely go get another of their
batteries to claim the small amount of warranty left. You get locked
in, so to say, to a warranty cycle.
Your best bet is to buy a long life battery and plan to automatically
replace it 12 months prior to the end of life, regardless of whether
it is performing OK at that point. This is assuming you drive the
typical 12K miles a year or more and have the usual amount of local
driving and airconditioner use. Hotter climes will tend to make this
cycle a bit shorter.
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