Does a Volvo’s 3-year-old battery really need charging?

Q: There is a 3 year old battery in my husband’s Volvo S40. After the dealer did an oil change, they mentioned the battery could use a recharge (two hours and $15). Did they just want to add another $15 to our bill? Can you clarify and give us your opinion?

A: We see many batteries that, when tested, “charge” and “retest”. The alternator (generator) does a pretty good job of keeping the batteries serviced, but in some cases it’s not quite enough.

Could this have been a way to add $15 to the bill? Maybe, but with COVID more people working from home and driving their cars less, battery voltage can drop below normal.

A fully charged 12 volt battery has approximately 12.5 volts; the one with a 50% state of charge has 12.2 volts; and the one with 10.5 volts is in the zero state of charge. A fully charged battery is essential for the proper functioning of any newer vehicle.