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Vehicle Battery

Our 2005 Grand Caravan is in need of a replacement battery. It was replaced in February, 2013 at Sams, and several years later, even with the auto door light cutoff, the battery would go dead when one or more doors was left open for more than 20 minutes.
Does it pay to buy somewhere else like Sears or Interstate Batteries?

There is not a lot of difference between battery brands. They should last 4-5 years or more. You need to investigate why you are going through batteries so quickly. Get someone to measure the current drain on the battery when the engine has been off for an hour (parasitic drain). It should be less than 50 mA.

Has the battery been totally discharged anytime? that is, before it recently started to die early? Each time you totally discharge a battery, it is damaged. do that a number of times, and you need a new battery.

Are you saying when you leave a door open, with NO internal lights on, it discharges the battery? that is a problem right there.

FWIW, Costco now sells Interstate batteries . . . that’s where I would go

If you’re in the habit of leaving the doors open, you’re insuring that NO battery will have a long life

My brother does the same thing, and his batteries don’t last very long

How often are you leaving these doors open? Car batteries aren’t meant to be deep-discharged, so you don’t want to do this on a regular basis.

I judge battery value by cca and price.

I have a 2005 T&C a clone of the Dodge. Leaving the door open for 20 minutes should not kill a good battery. The dimmer switch can be used to turn the lights off completely so they will not come on if the door is open. Are you loosing the battery @ 21 minutes or is it much longer - are your kids are telling you ’ but dad, it was only open for 20 minutes’ when they leave it open for hours every day? Like Bill says, check for other drains because something else must be going on to drag your battery down. This may have nothing to do with the lights being on, your charging system should be checked. Most auto parts stores like Advance etc can check it for you for free.

When purchasing a battery, there’s three things you want to check.

First. How old is the battery? Some battery’s can sit on the shelf for months. The longer a battery sits on the shelf, the more likely chance that the battery has begun to sulfate. When a battery sulfates, it reduces the life of the battery. Find a battery that is no more than three months old.

Second. Get a battery with highest Cold Cranking Amps for your vehicle. CCA indicates how long you can crank the engine at zero degrees before the battery goes flat.

Third. Get a battery with highest Reserve Capacity for your vehicle. RC is the ability for the battery to operate electronics on the vehicle if the charging system should fail. Or, how long the battery will keep a dome light on before the battery goes flat. This is measured in minutes. So 120 reserve capacity means that the battery can operate the vehicle for up to two hours if the charging system should fail.


@Tester I will have to add reserve capacity to my future recommendations. Never even was aware or cognizant of that factor. Nearing a need for a new battery, next year or 2 looked at AZ, and noted some disparities.

740 Cold cranking amps (925 cranking amps)***. 115/60 reserve minutes.

800 Cold Cranking Amps (1000 Cranking Amps) ***. 110 reserve minutes.

660 Cold cranking Amps (825 cranking Amps) ***. 115 Reserve minutes.

700 Cold cranking Amps (875 cranking Amps) ***. 120 reserve minutes.

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This choosing a battery all of the sudden got more complicated.

I believe your vehicle has had problems with the radio causing a drain.

Car batteries are like everything else. You get a bad one now and then. Sometimes cars have a short circuit that’s almost OK. You will know if the next battery is good or bad soon. Where you buy it could mean nothing. I liked the batteries from Auto-Zone but that could be more useless advice.

Besides looking at the date, when I go to get a battery I carry a voltmeter and compare voltage on a few batteries and pick the highest one.
Last time I went to WalMart they had 3 batts, all dated for that month.
Two were 12.7V and one was 12.5V, so the choice was clear.

The last battery I bought was a Sears battery agm, absorbed gas mat. Consumer Reports rated it number 1. Agm batteries require 0 maintenance and can be discharged and recharged without damage.

If you live in a hot climate, like Miami or New Orleans, expect to be replacing your battery every 3 years. Colder climates they’ll typically last a little longer, 4-6 years. I’ve had good luck with batteries that are highly rated by Consumer Reports. They publish a battery rating about once a year. The best vendor depends on what battery group size your car uses. Sears might be best for one group size, Costco the best for another, and Motocraft the best for yet another.

...absorbed gas mat.

That would be glass mat.

Optima Yellow Top AGM battery. Bought in Sept 2007, at 60,000 miles. Still in the car at 109,000 miles in 2016. Spent its last 3 summers in the sub-tropics. Much like cockroaches, you just can’t kill 'em, Much prettier tho…