When buying a new automobile battery, how old a battery (according to the manufacture date) would be acceptable?

  • Welcome to Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair! Dec 2, 2017 at 18:47

4 Answers 4


There is a difference between the date of manufacture and the date a battery is put into service. Many batteries are supplied “dry charged” as this reduces the weight ie no liquid. This is done to reduce transport costs...

Then, they are filled with acid / water mix at the correct concentration and can be used directly or given a “topping up “ charge if necessary.

  • I have read "Don't buy a battery over 6 months old". I went to buy a battery from our Subaru dealer, but they were 12 months old. They told me it was OK because they charged their batteries. Have you ever heard of a retailer doing this? Aug 19, 2020 at 3:17
  • I used to fill and charge batteries as part of my apprenticeship. The charger could charge about 60 batteries at any one tine.
    – Solar Mike
    Aug 19, 2020 at 4:03

Well you can always ask the dealer about when was the liquid filled in the battery.

They keep a fair record of it and if not then assuming that battery was filled on the manufacturing date, don't accept old batteries.

  • note sealed / maintenance free batteries are always filled by the manufacturer
    – agentp
    Dec 3, 2017 at 2:41

Stores don't keep merchandise on the shelf for long these days of lean business practices, so unlikely to find a battery more than a few months old. I would not buy any that required a top-off charge to start the car unless I had no good options.

  • asuming they do a good job of rotating their stock.
    – agentp
    Dec 3, 2017 at 13:28
  • The store battery racks I have seen load from the back; stock is rotated by default. Dec 3, 2017 at 16:49

What kills batteries is the number of charge/discharge cycles (starting the car) and operating in dismal weather (parked outside in the cold). Just sitting on a store shelf won't adversely affect the health of the battery other than the charge will drop slightly. It can always be topped off.

  • I have bought a battery and realized I did not need one right now, so I am wondering if I could just keep it for a while (a year, let's say) without it losing its quality / functionality. Your answer suggests I could, but unfortunately there are no upvotes, so I am not sure I can trust it. Could you provide any reference, please? Thank you! Jan 17, 2018 at 19:45
  • Richard Hardy theglobeandmail.com/globe-drive/culture/commuting/…
    – tlhIngan
    Jan 18, 2018 at 4:35

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