N/A Automotive Batteries N/A

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by Skip Miller, Nov 16, 2022.

  1. Skip Miller

    Skip Miller Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    I was at the Dealership the other day and the report came back that the battery was down to 40% of capacity. I did not buy the dealer's offering, figuring that I could get a better battery elsewhere. Hence the question: What is the go-to battery for automotive use these days?

    Back in the day, when dinosaurs were battery powered, the answer used to be Sears DieHard. Then Sears sold the DieHard brand. So who do you like?

    -Skip
     
  2. Jeff Oslick

    Jeff Oslick En-Route PoA Supporter

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    I honestly think it is a crap shoot these days. Something has gone wrong with car battery (I'm talking standard 12V, not EV batteries) manufacturing in the past few years. I know a lot of folks, myself included, who have had car batteries from good brands that are only 2-3 years old having problems. Seems like they used to last 4-5 years.
     
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  3. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Not Interstate.

    Every Interstate battery I have dealt with leaks.

    For my diesel it seems that the batteries I get from CarQuest last longest. The Gold series. My truck is 17 years old and on its 4th set of batteries. And every couple of weeks I put the battery maintainer on overnight to keep the charge up. Several short trips every day really wears down the battery.

    A lot of folks have good luck with Optima batteries.
     
  4. flyingbrit

    flyingbrit Pre-takeoff checklist

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    If you like Diehard, they are still available from several suppliers including the ubiquitous Advance Auto Parts.

    Several years ago, I went to a Sears warehouse to pick up a new Diehard for my wife's car. When I got there, I was amazed to see scores of old (and presumably dead) Diehards lying on the floor. Had a good chuckle. The wife's battery is still going strong though.

    I generally follow my old high school auto shop teacher's advice which was to divide the price by the guarantee period and pick the lowest.

    My current vehicle (a 2007) is still on its original battery complete with GM part number. Guess they forgot to put the lifetime reducing stuff in that one!

    I am a believer in running batteries until failure to crank. 90% of the time it will be in the morning at my house where I can diagnose the problem properly, be it battery/alternator/parasitic draw.
     
  5. Gary Ward

    Gary Ward Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    I buy my battery's from a local battery/parts dealer for my business and personal for many years. I trust what they recommend.
    Most of the battery's I buy are either labeled motorcraft or AC delco, pretty much original equipment. They last 5-7 years I'd say.
    https://www.kahny.com/public_html/billsbattery/
     
  6. Dan Thomas

    Dan Thomas Final Approach

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    I think the recycling of the lead and other stuff in the battery results in contaminants in the plates of new batteries, contaminants that reduce performance and life. If they're just grinding up whole batteries and mechanically separating the plastic from the lead, some plastic inevitably gets into the smelt and will introduce elements that don't belong there. There is also steel(?) reinforcing screen in the plates that could maybe cause trouble.

    I found aircraft batteries suffering, too. Gills especially. Maybe the same issue? Dunno. Aircraft stuff should be made from virgin components. We pay enough for that.
     
  7. Daleandee

    Daleandee En-Route

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    Years ago when I sold auto parts we would watch for the first real cold snap of the year. When it coming it was time to load up on the battery inventory ...
     
  8. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator Final Approach

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    Do you want great? Odyssey. (DieHard Platinum used to be made by Odyssey, dunno about current production) Good? Optima. OK? Any parts store brand. I've had no problems getting Wally World EverStart batteries to last 5-7 years in other vehicles.
     
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  9. Half Fast

    Half Fast Touchdown! Greaser!

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    WalMart batteries have worked as well as anything else for me. Can’t see much reason to pay more.
     
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  10. Dan Thomas

    Dan Thomas Final Approach

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    Much of the success or failure will be affected by where one lives. Here in the frosty North, batteries that are getting even a little bit tired won't start the car on a cold day. In Oklahoma they likely won't complain much. The chemical conversions taking place in the battery are seriously slowed by low temperatures.
     
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  11. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator Final Approach

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    You do realize that excessive heat kills batteries more than cold, right? While it doesn't stay down below 0F much in OK, the winter lows are typically in the 20's, with a few weeks of single digit lows. It's not like it never gets cold here. Things that affect battery life include overall environment as well as the health of the charging system and frequency of use. I have lead-acid batteries in boats/jet skis/lawn equipment that stays on a trickle charger all year long and fires up just fine even after 4-5 years of light duty. I have AGM batteries in my vehicles that are driven every day and they run great. We've had batteries in equipment that didn't have a trickle charger and the batteries were lucky to last 3 years because it would discharge too much in between uses.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2022
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  12. SkyChaser

    SkyChaser Pattern Altitude

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    I think there were Walmart batteries in both of my cars, and the only two times I ever had to jumpstart the car was when I forgot to turn the lights off the day before, and the day when it got to a low of -40ishF the night before. I didn't replace either of them, and at least the first one said 2016 or 2017 on it, so it was still working fine four to five years later.
     
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  13. mondtster

    mondtster En-Route

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    There are only a handful of battery manufacturers. The batteries simply get private labeled for different customers but they come from the same sources. Because of this, I don’t get worked up about what “brand” the battery is. What I have found is that AGM batteries seem to be much more durable than the traditional old liquid batteries. The price on them sometimes hurts but they are worth the expense to me.

    The dealerships can have competitive battery prices. I wouldn’t dismiss them without checking first. I absolutely will not buy an Interstate though; I have had nothing but bad luck with them in every application (they make their own batteries).
     
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  14. Rich Holt

    Rich Holt Line Up and Wait

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    PSA: My homie on the inside told me that car battery prices are expected to increase to almost double in December. They are a parts store manager, so the intelligence may be credible.
     
  15. asicer

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    Costco, but scan/photograph the receipt, test regularly as the warranty nears the end, and keep a jump handy. This choice is more about the vendor service than the battery itself.
     
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  16. GaryM

    GaryM Pattern Altitude

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    I've had warranty replacements on two Costco batteries-one in month 59 of the 5-year full replacement warranty they used to offer. WooHoo! Free battery! The second one was pretty far into the now-shorter warranty they offer, but the replacement still only cost me $12.

    Anyway, in neither case did I have the receipt, but they just scanned my membership card, quickly found when the battery was purchased, and honored the warranty claim.
     
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  17. midwestpa24

    midwestpa24 En-Route

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    All batteries are probably produced by 2 or 3 factories, so brand isn't as important as it used to be.

    One thing to keep in mind, a lot of new cars now have Battery Management Systems that actively track battery age and capacity and adjust the vehicles charging system to compensate. It isn't as simple as just swapping the battery out and reconnecting the terminals anymore. The BMS has to be reset so it knows there is a new battery. Failing to do so could cause the car to cook the new battery by over-charging it. Depending on the manufacturer, you may still need the dealer or a computer to do that.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2022
  18. Skip Miller

    Skip Miller Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    @midwestpa24 the mvehicle in question is a 2015 model. I think I am OK.
    But thanks for the info...

    -Skip
     
  19. Skip Miller

    Skip Miller Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Go to YouTube and watch Mr. Annoying's video... search for 'Car Battery Test'. Looks like the answer for me is Walmart...

    -Skip
     
  20. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator Final Approach

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    Who?
     
  21. kgruber

    kgruber En-Route

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    The computer sits directly below the battery in my car. If it leaks it is BIG money. AGM only for me.
    [​IMG]
     
  22. Lindberg

    Lindberg Final Approach

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    Walmart. Most last past the warranty period. The few that don't, they replace.
     
  23. Brad W

    Brad W Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    I was impressed with Batteries Plus...only because they are the only place I have ever seen that has trickle chargers that they rotate through the batteries on their rack.
    If buying form a place with fast turnover so the batteries are pretty much right of the truck then it wouldn't matter.... but how would you know?

    Otherwise I recon that there may be some exceptions with extreme outliers but most are more or less the same among lead acid batteries anyway. Probably only 1 or 2 factories that make them all.
    It was probably like that back in the day too, but we all bought into the Sears' marketing
     
  24. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator Final Approach

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    Batteries have the date of manufacture on them. I don't think I've ever purchased a battery from Walmart or the local auto parts store that was more than 2 months from manufacture.
     
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  25. Grum.Man

    Grum.Man En-Route

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    Walmart here too. They always perform the best in test especially for the price. They are all I buy now and have never been let down.
     
  26. Sac Arrow

    Sac Arrow Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I made the mistake of getting an AGM battery for my motorcycle. It lasted about a year. I suspect they are more vulnerable to long periods of inactivity than normal lead acid batteries are. Once it started going south I invested in an AGM compatible trickle charger to revive it.

    It didn't work. It charged it enough to start, but the battery didn't last long enough to restart after a ride.
     
  27. mondtster

    mondtster En-Route

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    They actually seem to tolerate inactivity better than a typical liquid type battery. What an AGM will not tolerate is being allowed to sit in a discharged state for more than a short period of time. If they go dead there isn't much chance to successfully revive them.

    The typical motorcycle charging system can be quite hard on batteries however, so that may have been a contributing factor in the early demise of your battery.
     
  28. Cap'n Jack

    Cap'n Jack Final Approach

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    No, because the smelt removes those impurities, same as starting with ore. The plastics are just more carbon to reduce any oxides during the smelting process. There are no steel reinforcing screens- you may be thinking of the separators that are made of glass or plastic. I've heard of issues with Gill batteries from the time I learned to fly, so it isn't a recent issue.
     
  29. Cap'n Jack

    Cap'n Jack Final Approach

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    That should be built into the capacity requirements by the automobile manufacturer. Cars are left outside all the time. I still got ~4 to 5 years on a battery when I had to leave a car outside. Just use a larger battery to allow for cold and reasonable aging of the battery.
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2022
  30. Dan Thomas

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    I had a cut-apart Gill battery in my Aircraft Systems classroom. It had reinforcing screens in every plate. Those plates are made of spongy lead and lead peroxide and have nearly no mechanical strength. However, it turns out that the screens aren't steel. They're made of a stiff alloy of lead, calcium, and sometimes include silver or antimony. Extensive description here:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lead–acid_battery

    And a quick video on their construction:
     
  31. Cap'n Jack

    Cap'n Jack Final Approach

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    That "stiff alloy" are some of the plates themselves, not "reinforcing screens", as per the video ~1:13 minutes.

    In any case, I see no contradiction to my earlier posts, merely affirmation.
     
  32. Dan Thomas

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    I picked the lead off those screens. Have you ever had a battery apart?

    Edit: that video clearly shows the lead paste being forced into the grids, or screens. This video has more detail on the manufacture of the screens:

    In the Gill they weren't expanded metal; they were square mesh. And they were stiffer than pure lead.
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2022
  33. Cap'n Jack

    Cap'n Jack Final Approach

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    Gee whiz, dude....what's your point? There's different ways to make those batteries.

    My points were that:
    • Smelting removed the impurities you thought were in recycled batteries.
    • The batteries didn't use stainless steel to stiffen the plates as you first thought.
    I don't see anything that disputes those points.
     
  34. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 Final Approach

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    :yeahthat:

    I learned this the hard way on my F-150. The procedure for mine was to hit the high beam switch so many times and then tap the brake so many times. It reset the new battery and I haven't had any problems since. I bought the battery that died from Walmart and it was still under their three year warrantee so it didn't cost me anything but the time it took to google foo or read the manual which I didn't do the first time. I've heard a lot of people just disconnect the sensing wire from the battery but I figure that its there for a reason so I didn't.
     
  35. cowtowner

    cowtowner Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    I sell my own brand of AGM batteries for industrial use. I private label manufacture them in Asia. I also resell American made batteries from all the big manufacturers

    Since I have to warranty my own batteries, I've learned a few tricks to make my batteries last longer than the competition.

    Lead content and the purity of the lead is key. Lot of manufacturers will weigh a battery down with impure lead, some even will put crushed glass in an AGM to make weight.

    The American manufactures use virgin pure lead. Their batteries are the best in the world, but they come at a price.

    Flooded batteries are a low margin business and the rush to the bottom in quality is amazing to me. Every factory will tell you they make a battery for every price level

    There are a lot more than 2-3 manufacturers of batteries in the world. Well over 2,000. Each with its own quirks and quality. Most battery manufacturing has moved out of China due to tariffs and the Chinese government cracking down on pollution (it's a very dirty process). Vietnam and Thailand have gone to the top of the list, with Indonesia and India stepping up their game of late.

    Walmart has the ultimate buying power and can demand a lot of their manufacturers, including the factory having to warranty any failures. Therefore, they have some very good batteries.

    Heat and cold will kill a battery. Cold tends to kill my batteries more often as it coincides with lower sun in the sky and shorter days (solar setups). I will sell more batteries in January and February than May-September.

    Never let a lead acid battery get below half charge. It will die and never come back.

    Also, something I learned from farmers. Never leave your key in any modern piece of equipment or vehicle. When the key is inserted the computer activates and a current is drawn on the system slowly draining a battery.
     
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  36. Dan Thomas

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    Thanks. That's what I suspected.
     
  37. bnt83

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    I've been buying Walmart ones and once a year cleaning/washing, top charging, and servicing with distilled water. Hope to get at least 5 years out of them.
     
  38. weilke

    weilke Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I have had good service out of yellow top Optimas.
     
  39. cessna182b

    cessna182b Line Up and Wait

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    Several years ago I bought a motorcycle battery from Walmart. It seemed OK at first, but after a month or so it would not crank the engine. I returned it for a refund, then bought a Duracell brand battery from
    Batteries Plus. The new battery cranked the bike better than any I have seen - and has lasted just fine.

    I have bought Walmart EverStart automotive batteries in the past, but lately find that the stores stock only the premium models (at significantly higher prices). So I look elsewhere.

    Dave
     
  40. SoonerAviator

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    I believe the EverStart Maxx models generally have higher cranking amps.