Automotive

Car Batteries - FAQ, General Information, Tips & Tricks

  • Last Updated:
  • Oct 11th, 2018 4:50 pm
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Deal Fanatic
Jan 27, 2006
8839 posts
3055 upvotes
Vancouver, BC
drumultaberei wrote:
Aug 17th, 2018 4:32 pm
My original battery died after 5 years on my Acura RDX, which was a big surprise for me. I previously had a 2002 Toyota Camry and the dealer recommended to change the battery after 9 years as the winter was coming, but I know someone that changed the battery after 12 years.
Was the Acura a poor quality battery or this is the norm nowadays?
Short answer.... no, but people will blame the battery as being cheaper these days anyways.

Long answer.... still no. Car batteries have been around since drivers didn't have to crank their cars to start them so there are very few surprises or advancements (or reductions as the case may be) to make the batteries lighter or cheaper that basically hasn't been done, or isn't being done in the past 50 years.

What has happened is the cars have changed. Not only are cars drawing more power, many of the newer/newish cars, in an effort to save gas, are starting to not charge the battery like they did in the past (ie a dumb charger that keeps charging the battery at all times regardless of the condition of the battery or the load on the engine). The latest thought process is for the car not charge the battery all of the time and in fact use the charge in the battery during normal operation of the car and turn the alternator OFF during these times in an effort to lower the load on the engine. In theory, this makes sense from a fuel economy point of view as the lower the load, the better the fuel economy. The problem is that car batteries like to be fully charged all of time for maximum life but the newer/newish cars won't do that anymore. To add insult to injury, most cars will drain the car battery to much lower levels than they did before in an effort to keep that alternator off for as long as possible resulting in the battery developing sulphates in the battery which will reduce the battery's capacity and starting ability.
Jr. Member
Apr 7, 2003
113 posts
20 upvotes
Newmarket
My "TIP"is to buy your battery from Costco. They are of decent quality and have a good no hassle 100 month warranty. I think the recommended interval is 5 years for replacement now, and I just returned my 4 year old Costco Kirkland battery that had signs of boiling, and didn't have any issues. Got 50% of the value back towards a new one (Prorated)
[OP]
Deal Guru
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Dec 23, 2003
12308 posts
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Toronto
There really is no set interval for battery replacement as I have had OEM batteries fail in 2 years. I am a fan of keeping the battery connections clean and getting it tested every November. Parts Source and some Walmart locations perform free in-car battery testing. Once the battery health drops below 40%, that is a good sign that you may experience a battery issue on cold days.
Deal Addict
Jun 15, 2012
1207 posts
123 upvotes
MB
drumultaberei wrote:
Aug 17th, 2018 4:32 pm
My original battery died after 5 years on my Acura RDX, which was a big surprise for me. I previously had a 2002 Toyota Camry and the dealer recommended to change the battery after 9 years as the winter was coming, but I know someone that changed the battery after 12 years.
Was the Acura a poor quality battery or this is the norm nowadays?
My original Toyota battery was Made in Japan and lasted me 12 years
Original Toyota battery purchased from dealership only lasted 5 years
"I will tell you how to become rich. Close the doors. Be fearful when others are greedy. Be greedy when others are fearful."
- Warren Buffett
Sr. Member
Jul 13, 2007
684 posts
229 upvotes
Toronto
FYI: Walmart's online stock checker will almost always say "Limited Stock" for batteries, because they say that when there are 1 to 6 units left.

The dude on the phone said that "Limited Stock" doesn't mean 0 stock, but it could if their inventory is off.

That system makes sense for canned beans, but not for car batteries.

Watch the stickers/date codes. I saw some old ones there!
Are you sure you wish to carry out this operation? You betcha.
[OP]
Deal Guru
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Dec 23, 2003
12308 posts
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Toronto
HammerRFDer wrote:
Oct 9th, 2018 11:33 pm
FYI: Walmart's online stock checker will almost always say "Limited Stock" for batteries, because they say that when there are 1 to 6 units left.

The dude on the phone said that "Limited Stock" doesn't mean 0 stock, but it could if their inventory is off.

That system makes sense for canned beans, but not for car batteries.

Watch the stickers/date codes. I saw some old ones there!
Thanks for the info. Looking for a fresh battery is very important as they work better under charge vs. degrading on the shelf. Personally, I make sure that the battery is not more than 1 month old. It is also a good idea to bring your volt meter as well to make sure that the battery registers as close to the 12.72 volts as you can get. Nothing worse than getting a new battery that is low or has a bad cell. It is rare but it does happen.
Member
Nov 20, 2004
267 posts
97 upvotes
Vancouver
Need some input on this battery/electrical issue I'm have with a 1964 Oldsmobile Cutlass. I had the battery tested at CT and the results came back as this:

Rated CCA: 535
Measured CCA: 371
Voltage: 12.75

When the battery is in the car the radio, interior and exterior lights works fine and are bright, but there's no crank, no start. With the measured CCA being <20% (rule of thumb?) of the rated CCA, would the result be no crank, no start? Or is the CCA sufficient enough and there's another underlying issue (bad ground?) at hand? I'm not very proficient with car but I'm slowly learning. Any pointers are greatly appreciated.
[OP]
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Dec 23, 2003
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flameboy54 wrote:
Oct 10th, 2018 2:15 pm
Need some input on this battery/electrical issue I'm have with a 1964 Oldsmobile Cutlass. I had the battery tested at CT and the results came back as this:

Rated CCA: 535
Measured CCA: 371
Voltage: 12.75

When the battery is in the car the radio, interior and exterior lights works fine and are bright, but there's no crank, no start. With the measured CCA being <20% (rule of thumb?) of the rated CCA, would the result be no crank, no start? Or is the CCA sufficient enough and there's another underlying issue (bad ground?) at hand? I'm not very proficient with car but I'm slowly learning. Any pointers are greatly appreciated.
Before I say the battery (which it could be), could you please do the following:

- Put a volt meter on the battery and see what voltage you get (12.75 seem like it may have a surface charge)
- Turn off all the car accessories (lights, radio, etc.) and put the key into the on position but don't start the car to see where the voltage drops.
- Try to see if the car cranks. If you just hear a click, it could be a starter. If it starts and sounds very weak (i.e. woo wooo wooo) and the voltage drops below 9.6 volts it sounds like a battery issue.

The thing with old cars is that their starters are not very efficient and are HUGE. The need LOTS of juice to turn over whereas modern cars are more efficient. If your engine is similar to this, you need a battery with LOTS of power: http://www.automobile-catalog.com/make/ ... /1964.html

FYI, the lights and radio don't suck much power on those old cars but that starter sure does. Here is a video that talks about battery shopping. Note that they are showing a starter from an old car vs. something more modern like a 2010 Camry

Deal Fanatic
Jan 27, 2006
8839 posts
3055 upvotes
Vancouver, BC
flameboy54 wrote:
Oct 10th, 2018 2:15 pm
Need some input on this battery/electrical issue I'm have with a 1964 Oldsmobile Cutlass. I had the battery tested at CT and the results came back as this:

Rated CCA: 535
Measured CCA: 371
Voltage: 12.75

When the battery is in the car the radio, interior and exterior lights works fine and are bright, but there's no crank, no start. With the measured CCA being <20% (rule of thumb?) of the rated CCA, would the result be no crank, no start? Or is the CCA sufficient enough and there's another underlying issue (bad ground?) at hand? I'm not very proficient with car but I'm slowly learning. Any pointers are greatly appreciated.
If you are getting no cranking (ie the starter motor doesn't sound like it's moving), there's a good chance that you have a bad starter. Even poor performing batteries will typically turn the starter motor while not starting the car. The bright lights you have are a good indication that the battery is working.

CCA is a measure of Cold Cranking Amps. Since it's still way above 0C in Vancouver, CCA isn't really applicable now but CA (Cranking Amps) are. And no, a battery that has 'lost' 20% of it's CCA (vs rated) isn't an indication of a battery and it should cause a 'no crank, no start' situation. Besides, unless you use the factory equipment in factory conditions, a CCA measurement isn't calibrated to any standard (ie. a battery may measure 500CCA on one piece of equipment, while another will show 450CCA under identical conditions).
Sr. Member
May 3, 2008
548 posts
190 upvotes
Markham
craftsman wrote:
Oct 11th, 2018 2:35 am
If you are getting no cranking (ie the starter motor doesn't sound like it's moving), there's a good chance that you have a bad starter. Even poor performing batteries will typically turn the starter motor while not starting the car. The bright lights you have are a good indication that the battery is working.

CCA is a measure of Cold Cranking Amps. Since it's still way above 0C in Vancouver, CCA isn't really applicable now but CA (Cranking Amps) are. And no, a battery that has 'lost' 20% of it's CCA (vs rated) isn't an indication of a battery and it should cause a 'no crank, no start' situation. Besides, unless you use the factory equipment in factory conditions, a CCA measurement isn't calibrated to any standard (ie. a battery may measure 500CCA on one piece of equipment, while another will show 450CCA under identical conditions).
For my dead battery last time, lights and radio will turn on fine but no cranking at all. It is a 2009 car tho so the car may be smart enough to not trying to crank at all due to low voltage from the battery.
Deal Fanatic
Jan 27, 2006
8839 posts
3055 upvotes
Vancouver, BC
savemoresaveoften wrote:
Oct 11th, 2018 9:06 am
For my dead battery last time, lights and radio will turn on fine but no cranking at all. It is a 2009 car tho so the car may be smart enough to not trying to crank at all due to low voltage from the battery.
There's a slight difference here... the battery was tested by CT and I'm assuming it passed. One thing CT is known for is selling batteries so I would assume that if the battery was at all marginal, CT would have stated that the battery needed to be replaced. Besides, the radio and the lights generally don't need that much power for them to seem fine... the question is - were the lights bright or a bit dimmer than normal?

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