Are Optimas worth the price?
I guess it depends on how you use them and what problem you need to solve, if any. For a limited use vehicle that may kill batteries or a car subjected to high temperature conditions that kills batteries or a race car/truck/boat that vibrates batteries to death… I’d say yes, you are probably money and time ahead.
Even if the Optima is twice the price of a budget 36 month battery, over 72 months of life pays for it.
There are some great warranties out there… Sam’s Club Duracell car batteries that give a 3 year no-pro-rate warranty that could solve the money issue of cars that are hard on batteries. But you have the time invested and maybe a jump or tow when it dies.
So like always… it depends!
I completely agree with @Mustangman on this. Sure, every battery deteriorates with age, but it seems to me that deterioration happens because of adverse environmental conditions like heat, cold and vibration. Filthy dirty battery cases seem to make batteries die sooner, too, maybe because the grime is slightly conductive? The battery in my Miata is 16 plus years old and still starts the car, but it lives in the trunk, the car is always garaged, and it’s used maybe once every two weeks. The temperature is always between 50 and 75 in there, and the case is completely clean because of where it is.
My guess is that a lot of batteries are discarded that could be recharged. People just don’t maintain the connections so they are clean, and if it fails one day someone will eagerly tell them they need a new battery.
In states like MA, you would have to first turn in your license plates. Insurance company will not remove liability and associated coverage until you do that. The cost of applying for new plates/registration/emissions&safety inspections and general hassle involved may outweigh the savings for a short period of inactivity. So it can depend on your local jurisdiction…
I have several cars that sit for extended periods. I don’t do anything special to them. My Camry routinely sits for months at a time. It’s a 2003. I had to replace the OEM battery in 2014. YMMV.
I just had to replace an AGM battery just under 3 years old. I paid more to get what I hoped to be a more durable battery in the hot climate in which I live. Nope.
The CCA had dropped nearly 2/3rds although the battery would take a charge and read 12.6 volts. The 3 year no pro-rate warranty got me a brand new one from Sam’s. The bigger cost was re-initializing the radio to the car because the battery had been out overnight to charge before taking it to Sam’s. Never had that problem the 4 times the battery has been replaced before… But it’s a Saab… waddya gonna do?
I try to always hook up a charger to the cable ends before I disconnect the battery clamps and then leave the charger on the cables while you swap batteries. That way the current continues to flow enough that the radio and such don’t reset. No idea how many amps is enough to maintain those things, but it’s not much. Of course if you only have one charger then you can’t do this unless you charge the battery while it’s still connected up. You could probably use jumper cables and connect the cable ends to another battery while yours is completely out.
A charger with no battery in the circuit can output some high voltages, depending on the charger design. Enough to damage electronics, perhaps.
I’d consider this a risky thing to do.
Safer to hook up a 9V battery between the + and - cables before disconnecting the car battery. Be sure doors stay closed - you don’t want to drain that 9V battery by asking it to power interior lights or anything but the car’s memories. It is adequate for that, and low risk.