When should a battery be replaced in a car?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Jul 01, 1996

Dear Tom and Ray:

When should the battery be replaced in a car? My husband says that I should
get a new one for my '89 Olds Cutlass Supreme that has 71,000 miles. Since
the battery has never acted up, is it really necessary? -- Marilyn

TOM: This is really a lifestyle question, Marilyn. Are you the kind of
person whose day would be ruined if you got stranded somewhere, or would
breaking down be a little adventure in an otherwise dull and dreary life?

RAY: If you got seven years out of your current battery, you've done very,
very well. And you probably should expect it to die in the relatively near
future. How soon? Who knows? It could be tomorrow, it could be a year from
tomorrow. But it's certainly near the end of its useful life.

TOM: The question is, do you want to drive around with a brand-new battery,
secure in the knowledge that your battery is not going to die and strand
you? Or do you want to get every drop out of this battery and take your
chances that some morning you'll come out and the battery will be dead? For
some people, getting stuck like that is a terrible, awful experience, and
they want to avoid it at all costs.

RAY: Then there are people like my brother's wife who look forward to it.
She figures the next breakdown might be her chance to meet a handsome young
tow-truck driver and finally dump my deadbeat brother!

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