New Battery -- Help Me Choose

Oct 30, 2004
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So, I gassed up last night at a grocery store gas station and then my car wouldn't start at the pump! (It just made clicking sounds.) I pushed it into a parking space and left it overnight and then came back the next morning with my wife's car. I borrowed some jumper cables, and tada, my car started up immediately (and better than it has for a couple months). So I drove it home and parked it in my garage. It has been struggling to start some recently, sometimes making the clicking noise.

The dead battery is a Costco Kirkland battery that lasted only 3 years and it had decent specs on it if I remember correctly. (We don't have a Costco membership at this time.)

So, I need a new battery. I don't have too many choices in my area.

Driving conditions:

  • Cold climate, as in North Dakota cold.
  • Mostly 1.5 mile commutes to and from work.
  • Total of about 2500 miles/year.
Choices:

Sams Club Energizer $82
CCA: 700
CA: 875
Reserve: ???

Champion Pro with Powerframe Grid
$95 at Wallymart
CCA: 700
CA: ???
Reserve: ???

Everstart Maxx $85 at Wallymart
CCA: 700
CA: ???
Reserve: ???

Sears DieHard Gold
$105
CCA: 690
CA: ???
Reserve: 100 mins

AutoZone Duralast Gold Battery $110
CCA: 700
CA: 875
Reserve: 100 mins

OReilly Auto Parts Superstart Extreme $110
CCA: 690
CA: 820
Reserve: 90 mins
 
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mvbighead

Diamond Member
Apr 20, 2009
3,793
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I went autozone with my last, as it had a 20% off coupon I could use at the time, and seemed to be well reviewed.

I had an Everstart Maxx that died within a few years prior to that. I can't tell you how well this new one will last, but the price was fair.

Sams Club might be a good bet too. Especially if they are reasonable on returns and such.

EDIT: One final point is that many here suggest that most of your batteries come from the same manufacturers. What that leaves is picking a place based on price, return policy, and customer friendliness.

Most car places are pretty friendly, in my experience, and offer similar warranties. All that leaves is price.
 
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Vetterin

Senior member
Aug 31, 2004
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For the price, the Wallymart Everstart Maxx has gotten some pretty good reviews.
 
Oct 30, 2004
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Do you guys think the 1.5 mile commute and cold temps is what kills it?

Is there such a thing as a battery that's optimized for that?

Is the Champion battery with the "Powerframe" tech better than the others?
 

Throckmorton

Lifer
Aug 23, 2007
16,830
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I would get an Optima. It's not much more expensive than what you listed but is a better battery that requires no maintenance.

Odyssey is better but even more expensive.
 

Zivic

Diamond Member
Nov 25, 2002
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I have had good luck with duralast golds.
1st choice - duralast gold
2nd choice - sears diehard
 

Zivic

Diamond Member
Nov 25, 2002
3,505
38
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I would get an Optima. It's not much more expensive than what you listed but is a better battery that requires no maintenance.

Odyssey is better but even more expensive.

optimas are not what they used to be. definitely not worth the premium in price... and a sears diehard platinum is a rebadged odyssey. Not sure either would be worth the premium
 

Charles Kozierok

Elite Member
May 14, 2012
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Do you guys think the 1.5 mile commute and cold temps is what kills it?

IME the only things that really kill batteries are discharging too deeply, or the battery just being crap to begin with.

I'd go for whatever gives the greatest warranty length to price ratio.
 

phucheneh

Diamond Member
Jun 30, 2012
7,306
5
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A 1.5 mile commute won't kill your battery. You're not using the much juice to accomplish a normal start, so it's not like the charging system is working in overdrive to charge to capacity during your drive. Yet it still probably recoups the lost juice in that amount of time.

If you wanna be sure, throw it on a trickle charger once a month or something.

Who knows who makes any of those batteries...one guess is probably going to be as valid as another. I would lean torward the Energizer or the Diehard merely with the hopes that the brand name still means it's a decent battery. And avoid the Duralast and Walmart (I know, Sam's is Walmart, but the latter doesn't sell Energizer-branded car batts).

edit: I was curious and looked around a bit...almost that whole list is Johnson Controls. A couple may be Exide (...they still exist, right?).

But I would certainly not assume the specs that one manufacturer gives to JC are the same as another. It's very possible that two of the 'same' batteries made by them for different brand names could have different parts in them. In the case of Duralast, I would bet they ship in mostly-pot-metal plates from China or something for use in assembly. Would not trust a Duralast 'red top' as far as I can throw it. Dunno about the 'gold' line; I rarely see them.
 
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Oct 30, 2004
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Energizer...that's a name brand for small electronic batteries...but car batteries? However, since they're basically all Johnson Controls batteries, I'm not sure the names mean anything.

I'm intrigued by the "Powerframe" in the Champion.
 

phucheneh

Diamond Member
Jun 30, 2012
7,306
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Energizer...that's a name brand for small electronic batteries...but car batteries? However, since they're basically all Johnson Controls batteries, I'm not sure the names mean anything.

I'm intrigued by the "Powerframe" in the Champion.

My thought is that Energizer usually sells things that are decent, but often not the best value. I dunno if they would want bad rep from slapping their name on the el cheapo line from Johnson, so perhaps it's a good battery. Same with Diehard...that's a big name for Sears; if their batteries started to get universally condemned as crappy, it would be pretty bad for them.

LOL@'powerframe'. Basically, that's what all battery plates look like, except the grid is usually more square/symmetrical. They've used special 'spider web geometry' to supposedly make it better, I guess.
 

Throckmorton

Lifer
Aug 23, 2007
16,830
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optimas are not what they used to be. definitely not worth the premium in price... and a sears diehard platinum is a rebadged odyssey. Not sure either would be worth the premium

They shouldn't even be making the old style batteries anymore. They leak gases and they require maintenance... Have fun opening it and and pouring some water into a tub of acid. Optimas are only slightly more costly, and they last longer. I'm familiar with the quality control issues but I remember reading a few years ago that they fixed that. My dad's Grand Cherokee has had a Red Top since 2007 and it still works fine, even with infrequent and short trips
 

jaedaliu

Platinum Member
Feb 25, 2005
2,670
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at 3 years, you probably get a partial rebate on your battery if you get your next one from costco. You could go ask at the store, then find a neighbor with membership if you do indeed qualify for a discount on your next one.
 

phucheneh

Diamond Member
Jun 30, 2012
7,306
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They shouldn't even be making the old style batteries anymore. They leak gases and they require maintenance... Have fun opening it and and pouring some water into a tub of acid. Optimas are only slightly more costly, and they last longer. I'm familiar with the quality control issues but I remember reading a few years ago that they fixed that. My dad's Grand Cherokee has had a Red Top since 2007 and it still works fine, even with infrequent and short trips

Oh noes, battery acid.

KISS philosophy here, folks. You use a solid battery in your phone or your TV remote because you don't want to risk leaking acid on your hands. This is why the car's battery is not mounted in your lap. Stacked plates and liquid electrolyte are used because it's cheap, reliable, and serviceable. Batteries require pretty much no maintenance (just keep the terminals free of corrosion; not difficult) and should not emit gases under normal conditions. Significant production of hydrogen gas comes from massive overcharging. Stay away from anything with a swollen case or blown well caps and you'll be fine.
 

Throckmorton

Lifer
Aug 23, 2007
16,830
3
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Oh noes, battery acid.

KISS philosophy here, folks. You use a solid battery in your phone or your TV remote because you don't want to risk leaking acid on your hands. This is why the car's battery is not mounted in your lap. Stacked plates and liquid electrolyte are used because it's cheap, reliable, and serviceable. Batteries require pretty much no maintenance (just keep the terminals free of corrosion; not difficult) and should not emit gases under normal conditions. Significant production of hydrogen gas comes from massive overcharging. Stay away from anything with a swollen case or blown well caps and you'll be fine.

How does the case swell when the battery isn't sealed? You have no way of knowing if the unsealed outdated battery is bad

To me KISS = use a battery that's slightly more expensive, lighter, doesn't require any maintenance, and isn't affected by vibration
 

WilliamM2

Platinum Member
Jun 14, 2012
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How does the case swell when the battery isn't sealed? You have no way of knowing if the unsealed outdated battery is bad

To me KISS = use a battery that's slightly more expensive, lighter, doesn't require any maintenance, and isn't affected by vibration

70% to 80% more is slightly more expensive? My last Duralast battery was still going strong after 8 years when I traded the car in. The one in my wife's car was 7. No maintenance ever. And these weren't even the "Gold" model, but the cheaper red top model with the 60 month warranty.

I've never seen an Optima last that long.
 

JulesMaximus

No Lifer
Jul 3, 2003
74,459
854
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Do you guys think the 1.5 mile commute and cold temps is what kills it?

Is there such a thing as a battery that's optimized for that?

Is the Champion battery with the "Powerframe" tech better than the others?

Powerframe tech sounds more awesome... so I'd go with that. o_O

Seriously, I'd bet money they are all made by the same freaking company.
 

Zivic

Diamond Member
Nov 25, 2002
3,505
38
91
They shouldn't even be making the old style batteries anymore. They leak gases and they require maintenance... Have fun opening it and and pouring some water into a tub of acid. Optimas are only slightly more costly, and they last longer. I'm familiar with the quality control issues but I remember reading a few years ago that they fixed that. My dad's Grand Cherokee has had a Red Top since 2007 and it still works fine, even with infrequent and short trips

if yours is good after 5 yrs consider yourself lucky. they are like twice the money for a battery that has known quality issues.. no thanks. the old style batteries have served me well. I have one in my Z that is just about edit: 9 yrs old that will need to be replaced this year. It gets abused pretty bad sitting and freezing for long periods of time (months).

We can all point out instances that favor our argument, but the fact you state you are aware of quality control issues would steer me clear of them. You can get other sealed batteries than odyssey or redtop... again, just not worth the price premium
 
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Soccerman06

Diamond Member
Jul 29, 2004
5,830
5
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My jeep has a group 86 battery stock battery that lasted almost 12 years and when it finally wouldnt start the vehicle anymore it was 100% voltage and 77% (~400a) amps with a blown cell. My vote is for oem but I suppose that varies based on brand. I live in MN and it saw sub 0 weather every year I had it.
 

LTC8K6

Lifer
Mar 10, 2004
28,520
1,575
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My jeep has a group 86 battery stock battery that lasted almost 12 years and when it finally wouldnt start the vehicle anymore it was 100% voltage and 77% (~400a) amps with a blown cell. My vote is for oem but I suppose that varies based on brand. I live in MN and it saw sub 0 weather every year I had it.

Tough to believe it was 100% with only 5 cells. That would be 5 seriously overcharged cells.
 

imagoon

Diamond Member
Feb 19, 2003
5,199
0
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How does the case swell when the battery isn't sealed? You have no way of knowing if the unsealed outdated battery is bad

To me KISS = use a battery that's slightly more expensive, lighter, doesn't require any maintenance, and isn't affected by vibration

They are sealed with a high pressure release valve. If you don't over charge the pressure release will not open to release said pressure. Batteries with a the releases will swell until the release opens. Otherwise testing an battery can be done with a $5 voltmeter. It isn't exactly rocket science.

I haven't had a maintenance battery (in a car) since my 1979 Pontiac. My Harley doesn't have a maintenance battery either. My sport bike does however.