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Any battery brands better than the others?

I know there are premium batteries like the Concord and such but was curious if there are any run of the mill wet cell batteries that are better than the others. I always buy the premium or gold grade at the parts store and usually don’t have any issues. I have run through several of the Everstart brand gold models from Wal-Mart and know several others with similar complaints. I looked at who makes these and it is Johnson Controls. They also make the battery I bought at the parts store that hasn’t had any problems. I am pretty sure the vehicle charging system is fine as I had it tested and even replaced the alternator for good measure as there was a period I went through a battery a year or more.

I work on computers and know someone who works on lawn equipment. Both of us complain about the quality of the disposable products made just for Wal-Mart. Yes, they often have specific model numbers just for this retailer. Auto parts stores and Wal-Mart both sell three grades of batteries and I would assume they are pretty much the same across the lines. Is this true of not?

I also have a friend who suggests purchasing the OEM battery if possible. This would be like Ford Motorcraft or GM AC Delco and the like. O’Reilly sells Motorcraft batteries and I purchased one on the suggestion of my friend who used to be a mechanic and is a big Ford guy. This was bought for my 1997 Ford truck which came to me with an older battery that was failing. It would start great unless it sat for a few days, then it was stone cold dead. I wasn’t sure if it was the battery or a slow drain from the truck but battery eventually got to the point I didn’t want to deal with it anymore and bought this battery. The truck can sit for months without being started and it fires right up with the same gusto as if it had just been turned off after a long run.

Another friend recently had the original battery fail in his 8 year old Dodge Caravan. He figured 8 years was pretty good out of the factory battery so he went back for another one. Anyone else agree that the OEM battery is usually of better quality than most aftermarket replacements?

I’ve had good luck with Interstate batteries.

Lead acid batteries have been around for over 100 years. They are not new technology and there are only a few ways of making them. Battery manufacturers make them to spec and put whatever label the retailer wants. Die Hard and Interstate get good reviews from Consumer Reports.

The number of major manufacturers of car batteries here in the US can be counted on fewer then one half the fingers on one hand. Little to debate about.

To me the cca (cold cranking amps) is the indicator of a good battery. When I shop for a battery that is how I rate the worthiness.

Is there any difference between the “value”, “mid-grade”, and “premium” lines other than a longer warranty on the more expensive models? I will say I have only a couple experiences with the “value” line and that is that these seem to go dead on me one month after the year warranty is up.

As for mainstream battery makers, they all seem to be made by Exide or Johnson Controls from what I see around here. Like everything else, I was just wondering if different brands call for better specs in terms of quality and such. I know this is pretty old and low-tech technology but some do seem to provide better service than others.

I have also heard that care during handling makes a big difference in the service you get from a battery and that one that is handled roughly can have its life shortened a great deal. Maybe some distribution channels are better about this than others.

Yes the Difference is probably CCA as stated previously. Handling I have never heard to be an issue.

Always seemed to me the OEM battery lasted the longest all things being equal-Kevin

Visit your local public library and find the most recent Consumer Reports article on car batteries. They found in their testing the preferred battery varies by what group (size) your car needs. Last time I purchased a battery for my Corolla, I think it takes group 35, CR said at the time the Kirkland brand was the best. I purchased one at Costco, and it has been working fine so far. Costco’s price was very competitive with other group 35 brands on the market. One thing I’m not sure about is whether Costco will install the battery for you or not. If you don’t plan to do the install yourself, that’s something to inquire about before making a purchase.

I always get the OEM now which is Delco if possible. They have about a 6 year warranty and I think three year free replacement. I used to buy Walmart because you could trade them in 24/7 but now you have to go through their auto shop. I’ve never gotten more than three years out of a WM battery and one only lasted a year on a mostly parked car. It wouldn’t even turn the starter over but took me an hour dealing with the auto shop to finally replace it. Delco costs maybe $125-150 but that’s what I do. A bad battery at -20 sitting at the airport is not fun.

The aftermarket AC Delco batteries with the blue label (over the counter) are absolute crap, in my opinion

The factory AC Delco batteries with the gray label (the ones that are in the truck when you buy it new) tend to last 7 years in Southern California

I strongly suspect they’re not built at the same factory

I’ve never found any brand of battery to be more contrary than any other out there. My personal batteries have pretty much come from Wal Mart over the last 20 or so years and I’ve had maybe 2 that had a short lifespan.
One of my cars currently has 4 year old WM battery and another just got a new WM battery after the old WM battery finally gave up at around 8 years of age.

The only thing I look at other than price is the production date, the CCA, and the weight of the battery.

The most common battery failures I’ve seen both on personal vehicles and in a shop setting are Die Hards for some reason. Maybe they sit on the shelf sulfating due to lack of traffic in the Sears stores… :slight_smile:

I’ve always used Die Hards, and had excellent results. The one in my 2001 Regal is approx 6 years old.

Since I refuse to step foot into a Walton’s World, those are not an option for me. Another local car nut that lives down the street swears by Interstate.

At Advance Auto Parts, the grade is only an indication of the CCA. Higher grade = higher CCA.

I’m not knocking Die Hards; just pointing out that they’re the ones I’ve seen the highest number of failures with. That number could be influenced by any one of a number of reasons that have nothing to do with quality.
The one that I bought and which died completely on me the next day was pretty lousy though…

The reason I buy from Wal Mart is because my wife worked in the WM office for a long time and as an employee she was issued a card for 10% off on anything. Due to the amount of automotive stuff I buy that card really added up as far as discounts go.

I’ll go a little off topic here . . .

Everybody’s free to shop wherever they choose

I’m a civil servant, and in a big union, and I don’t set foot in Walmart, because they are rabidly anti-union

Plus, I don’t like a lot of other things they do and stand for

Walmart is certainly trying to improve its image, but I have a pretty good memory

Many of my colleagues do shop at Walmart, claiming “They have no choice” because of the low prices

I counter them by saying “There’s always a choice”

When they tell me about something they bought at Walmart, my head politely nods, but my brain refuses to process what they said

Now I’ll balance it out by saying a kind thing about Walmart. Their batteries often score very highly in the Consumer Reports battery ratings

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The way I look at it, Wal Mart doesn’t treat their employees any worse than countless other employers out there; both large and small.

WM, Target, K-Mart, AutoZone, PC and software tech support, or even the mom and pop store down on the corner; employees are pretty much cannon fodder.

My wife worked in the WM cash office, out of sight and out of mind, and the garbage goes on there also.

On the flip side, Wal Mart has a big shrinkage problem and most of it is employees snagging stuff.
At the store where my wife worked huge losses in the automotive department were due to a security guard who had been hired to make sure there were no losses there. A night shift assistant manager was eventually caught loading stuff up by the pallet into a buddy’s van in the middle of the night.

Even worse, a few weeks ago a police officer here was arrested after stealing from Wal Mart. He was altering bar codes by substitution and using self-checkout to haul stuff out on the cheap.

Yeah, some of my experience has been that the Wal-Mart batteries last a year and then die. This last one didn’t do anything when I went to start so I took it to Wal-Mart and told them this. They hooked it to the quick tester and told me it had 0 volts and 0 cold cranking amps. This kind of result told me the battery was dead but they had to do an extended test they told me might take up to an hour. Well, I am glad I was with a friend and not waiting for the battery so we went elsewhere. They called me two hours later and told me the battery was dead. It was still reading 0 volts and 0 CCA after two hours of charging and testing. I guess Bing has a similar experience with battery replacement at WM. Either way, I bought the gold or premium one which has 3 years free replacement like 20 years ago and have never even made it close to that time before it is replaced. This just made me wonder if there really was a difference as I know Wal-Mart and other large retailers have models made just for sale in their stores.

I also understand that most batteries are shipped empty of acid and this is added once they are at the destination, then the clock starts ticking. Is this still true? The only time I have ever had to add the acid was on a motorcycle battery.

20 was meant to be 10 years ago. Either way, I have had a lot of batteries replaced free but why this many?

I like Interstate batteries because I’ve sold thousands of them when I worked at large RV dealer in my area. We never had one returned because of a failure. They were however…all deep cycle batteries which may be the reason they are so reliable. There are a couple of brands that I avoid…Diehard and Everstart just because of personal experience. My brother swears by Optima batteries from Autozone but they are way too expensive for me.