Should the battery in a 2 year old vehicle go bad?


John Paul, AAA Northeast’s car doctor, answers a question from a reader dealing with a dead battery in a 2020 vehicle.

Honda HR-V Sport. Honda

Why. I have a 2020 Honda HR-V and had to call AAA yesterday because of a bad battery. The car has about 4,500 miles and I didn’t drop anything. It was cold yesterday, but won’t the battery work in cold weather when the car is not that old?

a. The average life of a battery in the North East is about five years, and I expect your 2020 Honda to start the battery in any weather. The issue may be how little you drive the car. If you are driving a short distance, the battery may not be fully charged after each trip. Running the same multiple short trips over time can cause the battery to discharge. The best thing to do at this point is to fully recharge the battery and then test it. Drive the car for at least 30 minutes once a week to keep the battery fully charged.

Why. I have a 2007 Cadillac SRX. About a year ago the key didn’t go into a lock position where it could be removed. When I parked the car I had to disconnect the battery, otherwise the battery would run out. I brought the car to a local repair shop for repair and paid about $300 to $400. Now doing it again and the key won’t come out of the ignition switch. I originally thought it was a linkage adjustment issue. The shop said it was an electrical issue and there is only so much they can do. any idea?

a. It will not be easy; The vehicle should be checked for the computer code first. If codes are found, a very specific procedure needs to be followed to troubleshoot the problem. The problem could be caused by the ignition power feed into the car’s computer. There is a need to check voltage in many circuits. Intermittent problems can be caused by a faulty relay or even a faulty computer.

Why. I recently inherited a 2010 Chevy Malibu with 6,000 original miles. The car is essentially all original with the exception of the battery. The tires look brand new, but based on what you’ve said in the past, I think I should replace them. What else should I do?

a. Replacing 12 year old tires makes sense for both safety and ride quality. I will also check all vital fluids and make changes as needed. If it were my car, I would change the brake fluid, coolant, thermostat and drive belt. Also, I would check the brakes and lubricate the caliper slides. Repairing very low mileage cars is not common. As other services are being performed, have the technician inspect the car thoroughly to see if there is anything else that needs attention.

Why. I am in the market for a small SUV, I have friends with Audi Q5 and BMW X3. I have driven them both out and they are not for me. I recently read about the Cadillac XT4. Have you driven this SUV, and what did you think?

a. The Cadillac XT4 is a very nice, small luxury SUV, but not quite right. Although beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I thought Cadillac absolutely nailed the style. The interior is well designed, with plenty of room for a small vehicle with comfortable seats and good controls. Cadillac did a great job of having the “right” number of buttons combined with a very intuitive touch screen. The engine has a lot of power, but it makes a little noise when pushed hard. The ride was comfortable but a bit irritating on uneven roads. Overall, the Cadillac SUV is a capable, comfortable compact luxury SUV.

John Paul is AAA Northeast’s car doctor. He has over 40 years of experience in the automotive business and is an ASE-Certified Master Technician. E-mail your car question [email protected] Listen to Car Doctor on the radio every Saturday morning at 104.9 FM or online,

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