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4/22/2019 5:32:20 PM
Posted: 12/28/2003 12:48:17 AM EDT
All right....my worthless post for the year. LOL. That post on the battery acid corrossion got me thinking....

What is your experiance on battery life? You know, how long does your "automotive battery" last (in the daily driver)? And other batteries (lawn tractor/ boat)?

For me...

I've had good experiance with Sears Die Hard, in the past. One battery lasted about 6 years, with proper cleaning and such. Also had good luck with Motorcraft batteries (ya know, what Ford/Lincon/Mercury dealers sell). The one in my car lasted 7 (or 8) years, can recall. It was a maintanace free one (can't check water). From the people I know, Motorcraft batteris are great. Keep most of the batteries charged up for long term storage (less frequently used vehicals) and they stay good. If I recall, my uncle's Chev pickup battery lasted 5 or 6 years (factory battery). Put a Sears Die Hard in it.

For equipment, John Deere tractors, I had lousey luck with the John Deere batteries (back in the late 80's). I couldn't keep a battery in the tractors for more then 3 years, TOPS. Got mad at this problem...and that was w/ proper cleaning and such too. So I went over to the dry cell battery (Optima). First one went in in 1996 and is still in the tractor. It's showing some signs of age now...as the tractor hast to be plugged in to start (use to just crank it over fine in the winter). I've used Excide batteries also... the ones from an Auto store, the heavy Excides. Not the little light ones. Those have lasted about 5 years in the stationary engines (little use, but lots of abuse)...assuming the battery doesn't grow legs.

There are some other brands of "wet" cell batteries that I've tried that I can't recall, but got tired of cleaning the terminals and such. That's why I switched to the Optima dry cells...yes, pricey, but I think it's worth it. Have them in just about everything now.... some of the wet cells I use to get were in the $70.00 range, so getting the Optima wasn't that much of a big deal...Heck, Costco sells them now.

So, what is your experiance with "automotive" batteries? How long do they last in your vehicals? Is price your main concern in a replacement or how long it lasts?
Link Posted: 12/28/2003 1:11:59 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/28/2003 1:12:16 AM EDT by mattja]
Oops, that reminds me, I haven't checked my battery water in 4 years. [BD]
Link Posted: 12/28/2003 1:23:19 AM EDT
Link Posted: 12/28/2003 2:34:20 AM EDT
It's amazing, the stock battery in my wifes Toyota lasted 5 years (it had a 5 year warrenty). It was made by some Japanese company. I replaced it with an Interstate battery, it has been in there for 4 years and it is going strong. The stock battery in my Nissan lasted almost 4 years, it was made for Nissan by Delco. Hmmm. I replaced it with a maintenance free Optima battery this year. No problems. When the Interstate battery goes in the wifes car it will get an Optima too.
Link Posted: 12/28/2003 3:03:29 AM EDT
I've had good luck and bad luck with batteries. In my Wife's Camaro and Caravan we've gone 7-9 years. My cars 4-5 yrs. I usually end up buying the battery where ever I can find an auto parts store open. Last one was from Autozone to replace the original battery in our 7yr old Jetta. I've had so-so luck with batteries for our tractors couldn't keep a battery more than a yr in my Farmall Cub got them from NAPA and for our Craftsman tractor we got the batteries from Sears didn't last more than 1 season of mowing. BobK
Link Posted: 12/28/2003 3:29:42 AM EDT
I've had good experiance with Sears Die Hard
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Like everything else Sears sells, they didn't make it. Shop around and you'll find a battery dealer that sells the Die-Hard under another name (applies to most other "name brands"). Same battery, same warranty at a lower price. Eddie
Link Posted: 12/28/2003 3:48:58 AM EDT
To echo some of the other posters here, japanese OEM batteries last forever, in my Honda over 7 yrs. Sears die hard-the first one 3months, second one 6months, after that I used Interstate batteries, which last almost forever.
Link Posted: 12/28/2003 4:06:30 AM EDT
I've had good luck with the Champion batteries. Just replaced the one in by Bronco II after more than 7 years. The only batteries I've ever really had problems with were Interstate but I haven't had one in years so I don't know if there are still problems with them or not.
Link Posted: 12/28/2003 5:33:03 AM EDT
Depends on the climate I think, in Ohio they are good for 2-4 years depending on the brand, in Ca. I think they would go longer.
Link Posted: 12/28/2003 5:36:57 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/28/2003 5:55:41 AM EDT by offctr]
Consumer reports did an comparo (Nov 03)of all of the major battery types on the market this year and pointed out that most were made by only two or three companies and quality did not vary too much from one retailier to the other but only one battery matched its advertised CCA number in tests.Most of the batteries rated good or very good with t he dieHards at the top AC/delcos and duralast's in there about average or better and only the wal-mart brand "ever start" rating under "good" at "poor" or "fair", the "nascar" brand (not exides nascar offering) NXDT34 is the one that matched its CCA rating of 770 and a "kirkland" brand apparently avialable at Costco was thier best buy at $60 for a 900CCA group 34/78 battery with a 36 month free replacement & 100 month prorated warranty. I know GNB/Exide is one and there was one other major manufacturer in the US I believe. The only battery I have had a problem with is the optima in the jeep which has stopped taking a charge due to it not being used for over a year and I think my charger may have "cooked" it as it gave off a strong sulfur smell the last time I tried to give iit a good charge. Same thing used to happen to old chryslers when the alternator diodes died putting out too much voltage or AC and toasting the battery.
Link Posted: 12/28/2003 5:39:56 AM EDT
Interstate & Die Hard good. NAPA not worth buying. They back them up, but who wants to change a battery every year. Battery rule of thumb: buy 6 year batteries and replace them every 4 years. That way, the only place you replace them is in your own driveway and not some parking lot where it dies. Hoses rule of thumb: same as batteries. Replace them every 4 years.
Link Posted: 12/28/2003 5:40:43 AM EDT
My Toyota Battery was made in 8/98, and is still going good. I'd be surprised if it lasted until spring. Jay
Link Posted: 12/28/2003 5:48:49 AM EDT
In the AZ heat I haven't had a battery last over 3 years.
Link Posted: 12/28/2003 5:53:37 AM EDT
Hey offctr, not a shot at you but I'd NEVER purchase anything based on Consumer Reports. I work (20 years) in an industry that is regularly rated in their rag. Their ratings of the products are so far off as to be ridiculous. We even find their prices to be way off on the high side.
Link Posted: 12/28/2003 6:05:46 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/28/2003 6:33:24 AM EDT by offctr]
Hey no problem, I just found thier test to be pertinent in this case as a good place to start. I used to buy all sears batteries myself so if I had a problem wherever I was in the country I could get it replaced. But now that sears treats thier customers like dirt I have stopped spending my money there. To be fair I have had brand new batteries last two days and batteries pulled out of junkyards that lasted forever so whos to judge ? BTW I have pic here somewhere from the aftermath of 9/11 behind 140 west st when we went to survey the damage and see what it would take to get the CO up and running agian,It was about 3 days afterward and there was a partially crushed Verizon van behind the CO wich had had its lights on since it had been pinned under the debris and destroyed when we got ther the lights were still on! Now thats a battery ! Found it![img]http://photos.ar15.com/ImageGallery/Attachments/DownloadAttach.asp?iImageUnq=20972[/img]
Link Posted: 12/28/2003 12:04:47 PM EDT
Originally Posted By innocent_bystander: In the AZ heat I haven't had a battery last over 3 years.
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That's a good point. Heat is the biggest battery-killer. Some vehicles have considerably higher engine compartment temperatures than others, and some vehicles have the battery placed too close the exhaust manifold. Want to make your battery last longer? Buy a battery relocation kit (available from most speed shops) and mount it in the trunk. GNB, AC Delco, Exide, Interstate, Deka/East Penn, and Optima are just about the only major American manufacturers of aftermarket car batteries anymore. Most other brands are actually made by GNB or Exide. (Trojan and Concorde/Lifeline are a couple more companies that specialize mostly in marine/deep-cycle batteries.)
Link Posted: 12/28/2003 12:14:41 PM EDT
Link Posted: 12/28/2003 12:16:09 PM EDT
In all my automotive experience and training... there is no such thing as maintnance free. Keep your battery and cables clean and use distilled water to replenish lost electrolite. Don't go cheap on batteries, get the highest CCA you can afford. Do a cranking voltage test in addition to the charging voltage test. If when cranking the battery voltage drops to around 9 volts, replace it if the charging voltage is around 13.8 volts running. Danny
Link Posted: 12/28/2003 12:23:04 PM EDT
Globe Battery Co. makes the batteries for Sears (& Sawbuck).
Link Posted: 12/28/2003 1:52:19 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Skibane: Heat is the biggest battery-killer. Some vehicles have considerably higher engine compartment temperatures than others, and some vehicles have the battery placed too close the exhaust manifold. Want to make your battery last longer? Buy a battery relocation kit (available from most speed shops) and mount it in the trunk.
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If what you claim is true, why don't I get long life on my boat batteries? I have outboard motors. My boat batteries don't last any longer than my car batteries.
Link Posted: 12/28/2003 2:03:14 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Striker: Owned an 87 Escort for 10 years. Still had the original battery in it when I sold it. Have an AC Delco battery in my Caprice that's going on 7 years. 2 tips for long battery life. 1. Buy a battery with sufficient cold cranking amps for the engine. When I worked at Crappy Tire we were told 1 cranking amp per cubic inch of engine. I doubled that. So for a 350 cu I sold the customer a battery with 700 CCA's. 2. Keep your cables corrosion free and your charging system up to spec. A battery in a continuous low charge condition will eventually develop sulfated plates. Then your into dead cells, internal shorts,etc.
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Doesn't work in AZ. Heat, and the low humidity, kills batteries here. 36 months from a 84 month battery is all you can expect. If you read the fine print on battery warranties, you will find a exception for areas where the average summer temperature is over 90deg.
Link Posted: 12/28/2003 2:13:50 PM EDT
It is interesting to see what goes on with people's batteries. I was tired w/ dealing w/ cleaning the terminals on the tractors when I needed them. That is why I swithced to Optima. Granted, all I have to worry about is the lead oxidation (if that's the right term) forming on the post and the clamp...when it gets loose, if it does. The new Optima's are rated about 900 CCA or so...but when tested, they go well over 1000.
Link Posted: 12/28/2003 2:25:58 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/28/2003 2:40:49 PM EDT by Skibane]
Originally Posted By TheCommissioner:
Originally Posted By Skibane: Heat is the biggest battery-killer. Some vehicles have considerably higher engine compartment temperatures than others, and some vehicles have the battery placed too close the exhaust manifold. Want to make your battery last longer? Buy a battery relocation kit (available from most speed shops) and mount it in the trunk.
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If what you claim is true, why don't I get long life on my boat batteries? I have outboard motors. My boat batteries don't last any longer than my car batteries.
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Let me rephrase that - Heat is the biggest killer of AUTOMOTIVE batteries. With boats, it's about a toss-up between chronic under/overcharging and vibration. If the boat isn't run regularly (and how many private watercraft really are?), the battery doesn't receive a regular recharge (which causes plate suphation and premature battery failure). Also, many outboards don't have have a particularly powerful alternator, so it requires many hours of continuous run-time to fully replenish the battery. Some boaters try to compensate for this by leaving the batteries connected to a AC charger all the time, which often leads to overcharging, water loss and plate erosion (unless a top-quality charger is used). Vibration is something you can't do much about, except for buying good-quality marine-rated batteries. Generally, standard automotive batteries have thinner plates, which are more prone to cracking. Also, some boaters deeply discharge their batteries, which will quickly kill any battery that isn't specifically designed for deep-cycle service. In fact, using deep-cycle batteries is a good idea for just about any marine application – they don't have quite as many cranking amps, but have beefier plates (often wrapped in protective sleeves for even greater durability), and will really take the abuse. An even better choice is 6 volt golf-cart batteries (use them in series-connected pairs to obtain 12 volts). There is NOTHING that is harder on a battery than golf cart service, and these batteries are specifically built to endure 500-750 complete charge-discharge cycles. At under $60 apiece for a top-quality Trojan or Interstate model, they provide unbeatable bang for the buck – if you've got enough room to install them, that is.
Link Posted: 12/28/2003 2:29:37 PM EDT
If you are getting oxidation on the post/terminal use a little No-ox or Contax oxide inhibiting compound on the connection to protect it. Contax is made by thomas&betts and should be avialable at Graybar or possibly Home depot in the electrical section. We use no-ox or contax an all the power connections and especially the battery connections in central offices and I have never seen one corrode use it under the hood of the cars an dit keeps the connections/bolts nice and clean. I have seen some folks use petroleum jelly for the same thing not sure how effective it is though. You can use the spray on terminal protectant but it is a pain to clean off when you need to get at one of the terminals.
Link Posted: 12/28/2003 2:36:45 PM EDT
Link Posted: 12/28/2003 2:38:26 PM EDT
Link Posted: 12/28/2003 2:53:14 PM EDT
My 95' Nissan P/U still has the factory battery in it. And Im amazed it still works Ive thought about putting another factory battery in it but Ill probably put an optima in.
Link Posted: 12/28/2003 3:08:49 PM EDT
My '92 miata has its original battery,made by Panansonic.
Link Posted: 12/28/2003 4:03:57 PM EDT
Between work, relatives, and neighbors, I maintain close to 40 cars, so I have too much experience with this topic. I've had great luck with the batteries that come in Toyotas. I've got several 7 year-old ones that still have the original battery! If you could buy them for a decent price from the Toyota dealers, I'd never buy anything else. The Fords seem to have average battery lives of 2 to 2.5 years. The Delco ones (that come in GM's) are garbage. I've had several fail in less than a year, and not a one, since I started keeping track of individual vehicle maintenance at work in a spreadsheet in 1993, has lasted three full years yet. As to replacement batteries, I don't have much long-term experience with anything except Diehards. We get average, 2 to 3 years, life out of them. Since I got tired of screwing with them (and since the guys I hire seem to be less and less mechanically inclined and can't handle putting a new battery in their own truck), I've been buying Optimas for the past four years. I haven't had one go bad yet. We're hard on batteries. Some of our vans are started 25+ times a day and spend more time with their flashers on than not during the work day. I buy the deep-cycle yellow ones since the guys often run the batteries down. The disadvantage is that those cost about $160. The yellow Optimas have made my life easier.z
Link Posted: 12/28/2003 7:36:37 PM EDT
I have two Suburbans and a Tahoe. I get two years. I put a new after market alternator on one of the Suburbans and the battery has lasted a bit longer.
Link Posted: 12/28/2003 7:48:56 PM EDT
About 15 months ago I bought a 1989 BMW 3 series. It still have the original, factory, battery. Still worked fine, but I replaced it just because it was something like 13 years old... I bought a Napa battery for the replacement. I once had the car shut off, but still using about 800 watts of power off the batter, for a good seven hours. Car started right up.
Link Posted: 12/28/2003 7:57:42 PM EDT
I've had batteries go tits up at two years, and then again, I've had them last for six Motorcycle and lawn tractor batteries are the worst, IMHO. Vibration seems to be the big killer of those.
Link Posted: 12/28/2003 8:02:16 PM EDT
#1 battery killer: Morons who leave lights/stereo/etc on... As for my experience, any old batteries work... My first Firebird had a 'Batteries Plus' 'basic' battery that lasted 7yrs...
Link Posted: 12/28/2003 8:05:10 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Waldo: I've had batteries go tits up at two years, and then again, I've had them last for six Motorcycle and lawn tractor batteries are the worst, IMHO. Vibration seems to be the big killer of those.
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That, and the fact that M/C batteries are very easy to let run out of water...
Link Posted: 12/28/2003 9:00:09 PM EDT
So, while we're on batteries, how does the the Optima stand? (Lets say 4X4 use where there is a lot of vibration)
Link Posted: 12/29/2003 4:47:52 AM EDT
I just replaced my interstate battery in the jeep 2 months ago, It was 5 years old. I put in an optima. They are leak and shake proof. I left my glove box door ajar all night and the battery didn't go dead unlike when it happened the interstate battery.
Link Posted: 12/29/2003 4:53:42 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Waldo: So, while we're on batteries, how does the the Optima stand? (Lets say 4X4 use where there is a lot of vibration)
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They are top notch. The spiral core system will survive just about anything you throw at it. Your 4x4 can't stand the amount of abuse the optima's will blink at without colapsing plates.
Link Posted: 12/29/2003 6:07:29 AM EDT
IMO, the Optima batteries are well-built, but overpriced. From what I've heard, they don't last any longer than a top-quality flooded-cell battery, even though they cost almost twice as much.
Link Posted: 12/29/2003 4:30:45 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Skibane: IMO, the Optima batteries are well-built, but overpriced. From what I've heard, they don't last any longer than a top-quality flooded-cell battery, even though they cost almost twice as much.
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Well, one pays for convienace. The Optima's don't have any liquid to worry about 'boiling off' and no battery acid forming on the terminals. Only oxidized terminals. The hassel of not cleaning terminals when I need to use the equipment/vehical or worry about checking battery fluids (sometimes in an area hard to get to, farm equipment) is a plus. It's personal choice. As I said, so far I have one that's been in the tractor since 96 and another in my pickup since 97.
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