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Carol McKenzie ASKED THE GUIDE

Battery life in Jeep Renegade

How long should a car battery last? The one that came as original equipment in my low kilometre short-trip 1999 Jeep Wrangler Renegade has just given up the ghost after 11 years. My husband, who is a car nut, showed me how to prize the cell caps off the top of the battery to check the electrolyte. Even though it was supposed to be maintenance-free it still needed topping up every now and then. Also, the car came with an insulation blanket around the battery, is this to keep it warm or cool? Would any of this extend the life of a battery, or is it just good luck? My husband replaced the battery with a new Optima Spiral Cell, which he said will most probably outlast the car.

You've done well in getting eleven years from a battery; they often give up much earlier than that. No doubt checking the electrolyte and keeping it topped up would have helped to keep the battery going for longer. The insulation blanket would also help to keep it at a more consistent temperature and make it more effective, particularly at low temperatures. It's also important to understand when replacing a battery that you buy one that has the power your car needs, simply buying a cheap battery might mean another visit to the battery store in quick order when it proves unable to do the job.

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