On the radio I heard a Toyota ad (I’m assuming other manufacturers too)that they specifically engineer their batteries for their autos. It stated that purchasing a “non-Toyota” battery isn’t as good as a Toyota engineered battery. Is this marketing hype or true? If it is true, would that also apply to my 2005 Ford Focus?
Marketing hype. The only batteries manufactured to car specific standards are the Hybrid battery packs. For 12V auto batteries, these designs are as old as the automobile and no car-specific engineering goes into them any more. The only thing to worry about when selecting a replacement 12V auto battery is the case size and the minimum CCA. Personally, I avoid anyone selling a battery with less than a 7-year warranty and a 2-year free replacement warranty.
Just buy any aftermarket battery.
There are a few models like Honda FIT that do not have any aftermarket since it uses a glorified motorcycle battery.
If you are shopping for a replacement batttery, check the offerings at Costco.
Their batteries, made by Johnson Controls, have the exact same specifications as the Sears Diehard Gold battery, which is also made by Johnson Controls–ergo the same battery.
The only differences are that the one at Costco sells for approximately half of what Sears charges for their battery, and the Costco warranty is longer than the Sears warranty.
Does that cost include the Costco membership.
Closest Costco to me is about 25 miles away. Not worth it for a standard membership…and NOT worth it just to buy a battery.
There are some batteries that come close to be car specific. The ones in my Lincoln LS’s are an example. The specific thing about them is that they are sealed and have a connection for an external vent tube. This is because they mount in the trunk, and not under the hood. This little difference makes them more expensive because it is very hard to find them anywhere but the Ford dealer. I know that GM has some cars that have the battery mounted under the back seat. They must have a similar venting issue.
Most cars have batteries that are one of several standard sizes. In these cases the “Honda” or “Toyota” brand batteries are good, but not necessarily any better than a good battery from just about anywhere.
There are some cases where the mfg has specified a “non-standard” battery. I own such a case. My '04 T’bird (and all '02 to '05 models as well) locates the battery in the trunk of the car. So far, the only replacement available is from Ford. The issue is either the size, or special venting (perhaps even non-venting) that is different that other normal batteries. It is an expensive replacement so I’m doing all I can to make it last.
There are lots of options for your Ford Focus when it is time for a new battery. You can get a price from Ford, but most likely a Walmart battery will be just fine for a bunch less money.
Of course that doesn’t include the annual membership fee.
However, when you factor in the incredible savings on staple goods, gourmet foods, wines, liquor, gardening supplies, office supplies, clothing, books, software, electronics and appliances, plus their prices for tires, and the generous rebate that they give me annually on my purchases, I save a huge amount of money each year by doing bulk shopping there about once a month. I even bought my new snow blower from them recently, for a saving of over $100., as compared to Home Depot and Lowe’s.
Obviously I would not suggest joining just to buy a battery, but you already knew that.
“. . .but most likely a Walmart battery will be just fine for a bunch less money”.
I agree. There are only a few manufacturers of batteries–Johnson Controls, Exide, Delco(?) so most batteries are the same. We have a battery shop in my community and one of my friends bought a battery there. The battery didn’t have a name on it. He asked the proprietor what kind of battery he was buying. The proprietor opened his desk draw which contained a bunch of different labels and asked my friend, “What kind of battery do you want it to be?”
I buy batteries from Walmart because our Walmart store has a high turnover of batteries and I have a better chance of getting a fresh battery.
Even motorcycle batteries have an aftermarket.
Generally, it is marketing hype, but as you can see from the other posts, there are some exceptions. Those exceptions are model-specific, not brand-specific. I am pretty sure your 2005 Ford Focus will be just fine with an aftermarket battery. I am also sure the aftermarket battery I installed in my mother’s Toyota Sienna will work just fine.
For what it is worth, I have a Lincoln LS 2003 and I recently bought a replacement battery at O’Reilly Auto Parts. Just thought I would mention it as most stores did not have the battery I needed.