Battery blues

I just had to replace another battery in my '09 Honda CRV. This is now the fourth battery I’ve had to put in. I know heat is a battery killer, and I live in Las Vegas, but I don’t hear my friends and colleagues talking about having to replace a battery all the time! The Honda battery says it has a 100 month warranty, but this time they charged me to replace the battery because “corporate” was complaining that they were “giving” batteries away. Should I get a different brand battery next time? Will a “regular” battery fit in my Honda? The Honda battery looks to be smaller than the batteries I’ve used in the past.

Four batteries since 09 seems excessive but maybe that’s normal for where it gets that hot. Heat does a job on them.
Sure, aftermarket batteries will fit fine. Just make sure the terminals are on the correct side (ie same as your old Honda batteries) and the size is close so the hold downs work well.
FWIW, I’ve had good luck with the batteries NAPA sells.

First off…Honda doesn’t make batteries. They are made for them by a battery company. Both my wifes Accords (87 and 96) came with AC/Delco batteries.

There are only a handful of battery companies…and they ALL make a battery for your vehicle. They’ll be as good or better then a Honda labeled battery. Sears die-hard batteries always seem to be on sale. Or check with Wallmart. Any battery that is designed for your Honda will work.

It stays plenty hot here in OK and battery failures are not that common.

Maybe there’s some misdiagnosis going on and quite frankly, I’m surprised that a battery was covered under warranty that many times in such a short time frame.
A couple of failures and questions are often asked; usually followed by denial of warranty and someone up the chain eating the cost of denials.

It seems to me that there must be a reason that these batteries keep dying. Do you make a lot of extremely short trips? Do you run the accessories a lot with the car off? Has the charging system been thoroughly tested?

Have your alternator tested. It may be putting out too much voltage and cooking the battery.


I suspect there may be a parasitic draw

FWIW . . . a LOT of the batteries (aftermarket and OEM) are made by Johnson Controls

Take a volt meter and test it with the car OFF, you should read about 12V, now run it with the engine ON, you should run about 12 to (possibly) 14, if anything higher that 14 (and again thats the most I’ve seen on a car) there is something else wrong. Like Jesmed said could be cooking the battery.

…and if you suspect a problem with the charging system, you can get one of these gadgets and plug it into your cigarette lighter. They’re inexpensive but can be quite useful in diagnosing a problem:

If you have a 100-month warranty, it doesn’t matter what “corporate” says. They can’t invalidate a contract just because they are losing money on it and feel like changing the rules like spoiled children that aren’t winning a game. I’d consider contacting whatever regional rep you can if the dealership is not willing to honor the warranty.

That said, perhaps a different brand of battery would do better. I guess if you go that route and the new brand fails early, then you both know that the problem is with the vehicle’s charging system, and you’ll be starting the warranty process again with another company.

That amount of batteries changes isn’t right. Along with heat being a battery killer so is AC voltage. Have the alternator checked for AC ripple voltage which should be under .1 volt AC while the engine is running around 1,500 RPM. If someone does this they need to verify the meter they use blocks DC voltage while in the AV volts mode. By check the AC volts while the engine isn’t running the meter should show zero volts if the DC is blocked. Some meters require you add a capacitor in one of the probe leads in order to block the DC. If a person isn’t aware of the meter operation they could get fooled by the reading in the AC mode. I assume the DC charging voltage has been checked already and it doesn’t exceed 15 volts.

@cougar, Multimeters really are not equipped to measure anything over 100 Hz so you wouldn’t get a true AC measurement. Measuring higher frequency AC with a DVM or mechanical meter may be an indication of AC being there but you’d have a hard time determining whether it is real or not.

I just happen to have a Fluke 79 handheld sitting nearby, looked up the specs: VAC 45 Hz to 1kHz, 400mv range, accuracy is within 100 uVAC; 4V range is +/- 1 mV AC

Lol, okay. You’re good to go, @TwinTurbo.


I’d put my money on a chronically low charge state until the OP reports back otherwise on the typical usage. Heat + lots of short hops is a real killer scenario. Not saying it couldn’t be other scenarios and they are worth checking to eliminate, but since the dealership didn’t find anything (I like to give them the benefit of the doubt), my next suspicion is not running enough to make up lost charge due to heat and frequent starts…

@RemcoW, meters are limited in AC bandwidth but even a old common analog meter like a Simpson 260 is very capable of reading AC ripple voltage. Some of the newer digitals are real good. My old Fluke 8060 DMM could go higher than 100khz in frequency.

@cougar, yup some certainly can measure higher frequencies very nicely. You are absolutely right.
Flukes are great. They are the best, no doubt about that… I have one that has a scope built in.I’m waiting for a scope on a rope. We’ve come a long way. Where does it stop?

I just mentioned it because the cheaper multimeters cannot and that’s when people get confused.
A cheap meter may be able to measure a 120 Hz sinusoid AC ripple and you may see something at higher frequencies and different wave type (like at 6-700 Hz square wave; it being the idle of a car). A classic mechanical d’Arsonval movement can certainly measure a 120 Hz AC sinusoid ripple because that’s what they were made for but it will be way less reliable when measuring a squarewave.
Whatever it is reading on cheapies may not truly representative of reality because it likely is aliasing like crazy. Sure, it’ll integrate what it is seeing so it is in some proportion of what’s there but it may not be real, way less than what it actually is.
That’s all I’m saying.

I’m curious on the ramifications of AC ripple, and why anything over 0.1v is unacceptable.

My (non-expert) understanding is that 2 volts of AC ripple was acceptable back in the pre-electronic carburetor days. Then 1 volt was acceptable when fuel injection showed up. And now 0.5v is max acceptable.

I understood that the worries of AC ripple in the above ranges were primarily with the vehicle’s electronics and not with keeping the battery charged.

I agree that if you lose a diode, then you get excessive ripple and keeping your battery charged will be a problem.

But assuming your car’s electronics aren’t showing any ill effects (which may be related to ripple), how can a 0.2v or a 0.3v ripple cause a battery to not charge properly - especially if the DC charging voltage is in the proper range?

I use .1 volt as a mark since good working charging systems should have less than that value. A battery will have no trouble charging with .3 volts of ripple added on it but it will add extra noise to the electrical system. When you get into higher ripple voltage values it is usually a sign the alternator has some bad diodes inside it. It could also be a sign of a bad battery.

Thanks @Cougar.