I have a 1995 Crown Victoria built in 1994 with the original
(maintenance free) battery.(I keep the electrolyte acid at its proper
level with distilled water and keep the terminals clean.)
A dealer suggested replacing the battery as it is producing only about
284 cold cranking amps and someone else told me I could be harming the
I just tested the battery and it is at 12 volts and the car starts
easily at -8 degrees F.
Other than the obvious reason of replacing the battery because it could
fail at any time........am I hurting the vehicle?
My battery is about that age also, and I don't intend to replace it. I
don't see how an old battery would harm your alternator, unless it has an
internal short. Did you ask this person to explain how an old battery
will harm an alternator?
If anything, I think a weak battery might harm a starter. The weak
battery would cause too much voltage drop when starting the engine, which
will harm an electric motor. Ok so I made that up, but at
least I gave a supporting reason!
Funny you bring that up.
I was just thinking the other day that I still have the original battery in
my 95 Grand Marquis and it's still going!
2 weeks ago it seemed to have died, since for about a week I had it in the
garage but with a cellphone charger plugged into the cigarette lighter
socket all that time, but I gave it a jump start and it's been fine ever
since. Even while parked out all night in temps in the low teens.
Come to think of it, I have the original exhaust too. All with 173K+ miles.
Been thinking about changing car brands but this car has been very little
maintenance. Well except for the window regulators that all seemed to have
gone in about a 4 month span.
Depending on what is happening inside the battery, there is a chance that
alternator damage is possible but I've never seen any real proof on the
matter. It could be that some alternator failures simply "happen" at roughly
the same time. OTOH, low battery capacity can and will eat starters for
Much depends on how you view the utility of your car.... a breakdown, to me,
would be a major inconvenience. The tow or boost, the timing of the
breakdown (am I in a rush to be somewhere today? am I in my good clothes and
now they are work clothes? have I missed an important
engagement/errand/deadline?). If the thing craps out at the wrong time, will
you and your car be featured on the 5:00 news with 20 miles of traffic
I prefer to maintain my units in a manner that assures me the least chance
of inconvenience (and given my craft... embarrassment).
These days it seems battery failures come much sooner than they did many
I manage to keep batteries for a long time too. I do what you outline,
and in addition make sure that the case between the
poles is very clean. We go so far as to use a soda/water paste after
cleaning well. This will neutralize the acid that might
still be there. Acid will conduct, and will discharge a battery if it
is powerful enought, even though it looks like dirt.
This can be proven by using a dc meter. Positive lead on the positive
pole, then drag the negative lead from the negative pole through the
dirt and there might be a reading. If there is a reading, there is
leakage between the poles on the outside of the battery.
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