I used purchase car batteries at Sam’s Club before I decided not to renew my membership. They usually lasted one year. Last October, I purchased an Interstate car battery at Costco and 6 months later it died. They didn’t have my group size (24) available in October, but the salesperson said group size 25 would work, so I purchased it. I’m not sure if that affected the longevity of the battery or not. I know they have a three year free replacement warranty, but it’s annoying to have to replace a battery every 6 months to a year. My alternator and everything work well. I drive the car once every 2-3 weeks. I live in a hot climate (Arizona). When I went to bring the dead battery back today, I ended up buying a Group Size 24 that was $20 more. When I got home, I noticed there was no date code on the battery indicating when it was manufactured. Is this a problem?
The group size 25 battery is 9.5"W vs the Group Size 24, which is 11"W. The group size 25 is about $20 less and has 500CCA vs 700CCA and I think a different Ah.
What brand and store has the best value batteries for a hot climate and a car that doesn’t get driven much?
I’ve had good luck with Walmart. I also get 2-3 or more years, live in Dallas. You might want to have your charging system checked if you go through batteries that rapidly.
You can’t let a modern vehicle sit for an extened period of time and not expect to have the battery drain down. The vehicle has to driven on occation to keep the battery charged.
If you don’t plan on driving the vehicle for a while, disconnect the battery. But doing that could lead into a whole 'nother issue.
In the South West, you can sometimes find “tropic” batteries that use slightly more dilute acid which helps them survive high temperatures…But heat kills batteries quickly. Disconnecting your battery when not in service will extend its life and so will connecting a “Battery Maintainer” a controlled trickle charger which will keep it fully charged…Your battery hold-down must be secure…Batteries will not tolerate being bounced around…
The problem is not the batteries; it’s your driving habits as Tester mentioned. Driving a car only once every 2-3 weeks is tough on batteries.
You might consider having someone wire a quick disconnect into the car and attach a battery tender to it.
Buy an Optima battery. Expensive, but the “dry cell” technology should last much longer for you.
The hot climate is not a factor. Check with your friends and neighbors and you will find that they all get a normal 5+ years of life out of their car batteries. It must be your own driving habits.
There is no particular brand of battery that will do significantly better than any other. Follow the above suggestions of battery maintenance to compensate for your situation.
You might consider getting a battery tender, as others have suggested. There are also solar chargers that you can get, which will do essentially the same thing, and your climate there would be perfect for one.
As far as a good brand, I’ve had good luck with batteries manufactured by Deka/Douglas.
My '04 4Runner has a Panasonic (original) battery, and my '01 Jetta has an original as well (it’s buried under covers, and hard to get at). They’re both driven every weekday, and sometimes on weekends. We try to actually spend time together on the weekends. She (Jetta) drives 14 mi round trip to work, I do 74. I’d have her use the truck (mileage) but she’s not comfortable in it.
We’ve lived in the South (S. FL), then in far North (N. ND), now in South Texas. We’ve both worked in different directions/distances at all times and climates haven’t seemed to play much of a part in anything, really, except for the first 30 seconds or so after start-up, and the first couple minutes of driving.
Just info. Not sure if it’s helpful or not, but I would propose that the type of battery doesn’t make much difference (you do need to match the cars required CCA, Ah, etc). The care given it, however, does, and there are lots of suggestions above.
In addition to all the good advice above, I would add this, get a battery with removable caps so that the electrolyte can be topped up with distilled water. In hot climates, this should be done annually.
Now I see that you don’t get a year from your batteries, so next, I recommend that you stick to the LOW END of the battery scale, that is the cheapest batteries with the lowest CCA in that size group. For some reason, I have always had better luck with these, they way outlast the high end batteries with tons of CCAs. I’m not sure why, but I suspect that they have fewer plates in them, thus the lower CCAs but the plates are thicker so they last longer.
I think you can find a solar battery charger that sits on the dash and plugs into your power adapter (cigarette lighter) to maintain your battery and that should also add years to the life of your battery.
Although I live where it gets very cold in the winter, most mechanics here say it’s the heat that kills the battery, but you don’t find out about it until it turns cold and you need those extra CCA on a sub-zero morning.
"I think you can find a solar battery charger that sits on the dash and plugs into your power adapter (cigarette lighter) to maintain your battery and that should also add years to the life of your battery. "
That is good advice, as long as the OP’s mystery vehicle has a cigarette lighter socket that stays “hot” when the ignition is turned off. More and more vehicles nowadays do not have power running to that cigarette lighter socket when the ignition is turned off, and if the OP doesn’t check out this detail beforehand, he/she is going to waste money by buying a solar battery charger.
The longest lived car batteries are ones w/caps you can add distilled water to, as long as you check them and add as needed. I’ve seen quite a few VW TDI OE Varta batteries (w/caps) go 8 yrs. and/or 100-200k mi.
Keith is on the right track.
According to a meeting I had with the Deka company a few years ago the higher the CCA in batteries of the same group size the more likely they will have trouble with high temperatures. Higher CCAs are gotten by packing more plates into the battery, more plates require less space between them.
High temperatures within the plates can make the plates warp and it is possible for the plates to break through their “envelope” and come into contact with each other and short out the battery, this is more likely to happen in batteries in which the plates are closer together.
In a hot climate it might be more desirable to have a battery with a lower CCA rather than a higher one. Keep in mind that there are not a whole lot of different battery manufacturers, they all have a number of different brand names associated with them.
Contrary to what the people who live in a cold climate might believe the heat is what kills a battery. Sure the battery’s badness might not show up until it’s 10 degrees below zero but the damage was done in the summer.
I also vote for a battery tender. With your driving habits, it’s needed.
That is why someone else suggested hard wiring a plug-in for a trickle charger, which will also work for a solar panel if they buy deviceswirh the same connector.