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Just came back from service for 2004 Camry. Service tech said my battery (just under 3 yrs old) failed the cranking amps test, and she could install a new on for me for a mere $96. I declined.

So why did if fail? My guess it was because the temperature was 4F, and the reduction in battery cranking amps was normal, given the temperture. Batteries normally last 5 years in my experience.
 

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OK, I'm not a physics teacher but I do have a degree in electronics...

Your supposition that an ambient air temperature of 4 degrees (F I suppose) having an affect on the CCA is very much correct. That being said, you still should have had enough reserve capacity to successfully complete at least one battery test. If you didn'y have that capacity...well, time to replace the battery.

Also...you almost certainly have a sealed cell battery. These are VERY different than the older "open cell" batteries that I grew up with (jeez I feel old all of a sudden).

The process of charging / discharging the battery will generate (among others) hydrogen gas. This gas, in the "old style" batteries would vent the gas into the atmosphere around the battery...basically into your engine compartment. No worries...the level of H being generated is actually rather low and unless you are using a butane lighter for a flashlight, you'll likely be safe. That does not mean to lessen the occasional really big failure of the battery from a faulty electrical connection under the hood generating a REALLY BIG spark that detonated the battery. messy.....

A sealed cell battery will vent the excess gas into a chamber that is built around the "wet" portion of the battery. Think of it as a double skin.

Once the specific gravity of the battery acid reaches a certain (designed) level...or if the gas pressure builds to a certain point...the battery is rendered virtually inert. Yep...

Therefore...yes, even a 3 year old battery can be good one day and be dead the next.

Just my $0.02
 

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When I worked for Nissan, I saw batteries in new cars on the lot that were no good even after slow charging overnight. I've also seen batteries that lasted eight years. Some testers compensate for temperature and some do not. I would have preffered the results seen after a slow charge of the battery, if not at room temperature. There's no exact science, unfortuantely, to how long a battery will last...much like any other part on a car or truck.
 

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Just came back from service for 2004 Camry. Service tech said my battery (just under 3 yrs old) failed the cranking amps test, and she could install a new on for me for a mere $96. I declined.

So why did if fail? My guess it was because the temperature was 4F, and the reduction in battery cranking amps was normal, given the temperture. Batteries normally last 5 years in my experience.
Other problems can cause battery failure, i would check alternator and then replace with a diehard, they are still a quality battery.:)
 
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