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Battery

Is there a brand of battery that you guys would recomment I buy? The battery in my 2003 Grand Am is passing on. I believe it may be the original battery.

Check Consumer Reports magazine. They did a battery test not too long ago.

When I need a battery I usually go to my local “Battery World” store and buy one that fits my car. I’m not worried so much about the name on the battery.

I’ve been using the ‘Maxx’ ones at WalMart. Had one with a bad cell just last night, they replaced it no charge, not quite 3 years old. These also were rated pretty well by CR.

Automotive batteries have pretty much become a consumer commodity. You get what you pay for…

A bathroom scale is a good tool to use when shopping for a battery…Buy the heaviest one you can find…This works well for tires also…

I buy the biggest one that fits in my car from Costco. Great value for money and they last 7 years or so.

There are only a handful of battery manufacturers, and the Sears Diehard, for instance is the same as the Costco Kirkland unit, but costs a lot more.

The advice of weighing one, if you can, has some merit. In the final analysis, the amount ofm lead is also an indicator of potential life.

There’s no Costco in Fort Wayne, IN. Of course, there are many wal-marts.
I guess I should also ask, how much is too much to spend on a battery then? The company I work for can get discounts on NAPA batteries (not sure if that means anything to anyone), but the cheapest one is still almost 90 bucks. Too much?

Yes, that’s too much… NAPA gives “commercial accounts” 30%-40% off that price.

The Walmart one I got is $77, not much difference.

Crap. Scratch that. I can get the cheapest one for almost $70 (exchange). There’s a 6 year warranty on this one.
Or I can get the “really good” one for almost $90 (exchange). There’s a 9 year warrenty on this one.

I wouldn’t count on nine years from any battery, regardless of price.

I switched from buying ‘the best DieHard I can get’, big $$, to Walmart when I found no difference in overall reliability. I had a DieHard Gold battery go after 2 years (bad cell, covered by warranty), so no real difference with the $77 Walmart.

I used to sell Interstate batteries. I averaged about 50 a month. In a year, I might have 1 or 2 returned for warranty. That’s reliability.

More like “1 or 2 of the number submitted, recieved warranty consideration” of course that is just speculation on my part.

OP simply because you see a battery has a “7 year warranty” do not conclude this means that if your battery is determined to be “bad” (and just what makes up “bad” is a completly different thread) at 6 years and 11 mths after installation date that you will recieve anywhere close to the purchase price of your old battery via the warranty program.

missileman, I agree. I have sold many different brands of batteries over the years and Interstate batteries seemed to have the least amount of issues in my experience.

Exide batteries seemed to fail way more often. It seemed like I always had a shelf full of warranty Exide battery returns.

Again this was just my experience.

Warning: Anecdotal advice follows…

If there’s a “Deka” or “Douglas” brand near you, I’ve had two cars that I bought used with this brand of battery and they just lasted and lasted. Every Interstate battery I’ve had has been lousy. There’s a local chain near me called “Battery Wholesale”, which seems to have excellent batteries. I’m on year 6 with the one in my car and no problems whatsoever in Ohio winters. The last one I had from them was just as good too.

Definitely don’t buy the cheapest you can find, and get the most powerful that will fit your vehicle if you can afford it.

So far, I am on year 8 for a 95 F350, Walmart’s Maxx line. No issues so far.

I got my best deal at NAPA, CCA, warranty etc. turned out a better battery and warranty. There were a few choices available and the parts guy ended up recommending one that was the best deal at the time. 40 bucks less than the next best deal anywhere.

If we discount Delphi (they’ve been spun off, reaquired by GM and through so many bankruptcies, that one needs a PhD in history just to keep up with them), these days, there are only 2 major manufacturers of car batteries: Exide and Johnson Controls (JCI). Virtually ALL batteries in the USA are made/distributed by these 2 giants under a variety of brands. The rest of the story is all marketing mumbo-jumbo, so do not fall for any DieHard vs Interstate ploy.

Johnson Controls (or Exide) manufactures several types/levels of batteries-level 1 (silver), level 2(gold), level 3(platinum), etc, etc…the higher level being the one with the best materials and technology, hence a better warranty can be offered by the retailer. These levels dictate which “warranty class”, a battery will fall under. The very same level/“warranty class” of battery, is sold by different retailers under different brands and monikers; any differences are mostly cosmetic-color of plastic, stickers, etc, etc. Any technical differences are so minute that they are insignificant in the grand scheme of things, and are simply transparent for the end user. Those minute tech differences are there, simply for the filling of marketing materials.
Some of the Johnson Controls brands are: Interstate, DieHard (Sears), Duralast (AutoZone), Kirkland (Costco), EverStart (Walmart/Sam’s Club), Motorcraft (Ford), etc. They even bought out Optima Batteries back in 2000 or so.

To simplify matters, there are only 2 things a consumer needs to focus on, when buying a car battery:

  1. -purchase the cheapest battery in the same warranty class (that means identical full replacement AND prorated period of time), irrespective of brand. This equals least outlay of capital for the best battery you can afford.
  2. -make that purchase at a relatively strong/healthy retailer; someone you suspect will still be in business several years down the road, so that they can stand behind said warranty.

I carry a voltmeter with me to make sure whatever battery I get is recently charged (>12.3V).

12.3 = 50% charge. You want at least 12.6 on a new battery and 12.8 if you can find it…