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I have a battery in a vehicle that is running low. It has not failed, but I measured the voltage, and so I know it's running low (11.6V). From what I've read, a 12V battery should really be well over 12V.

I bought a new battery, and placed it in the vehicle (not connected), with the necessary tools and supplies to perform the replacement.

I'm not concerned about the inconvenience or safety of having to replace the old battery when it finally fails.

The vehicle requires some body work, which is scheduled in about a month, and will take 5-8 days. Although I can ask, I cannot force the body shop to disconnect/reconnect the battery each time they keep doors/trunk open for an extended period of time.

My thinking is to wait until the old battery fails to replace it, up to a maximum of 6 months. I'm thinking 6 months, because I don't want the new battery to run low without being charged (the new battery is currently at 12.78V). I do not have access to a battery charger.

Does my plan sound good? My goal is to maximize the life of the new battery, so that I minimize the environmental and financial impact of using the vehicle. I also don't want the new battery to get damaged (by getting drained) when the vehicle is having body work performed.

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The new battery will not be drained over 5-8 days time period. If it does, you have much bigger issues to worry about. Change the battery now and be done with it. This will also ensure the body shop won't have any issues while they are working on your car as well. The worst things about batteries is they tend to die when you least expect it and at the worst possible moment. You know the old battery is on it's last leg and you have a new replacement. Just do it and be done.

  • Thank you for your answer. But if the body shop leaves the trunk or doors open while they work, the lights inside (some of which cannot be turned except by finding and pulling a fuse) will likely drain the new battery after 5-8 days, thus damaging it (lead acid batteries don't like to get fully drained). – RockPaperLizard Apr 13 '15 at 4:21
  • @RockPaperLizard ... body shops have been through this rodeo before. If they are going to leave a trunk lid or door open, they will disconnect the battery. You will get a perfectly healthy battery back from them, believe me. They don't want to replace it for doing something stupid like that, especially when it is completely preventable. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Apr 13 '15 at 10:58

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