aren't all car batteries

 

Made by 2 cos. in the USA?

JCI and Exide?

On one car, the battery is 4 y.o. and when the car sat 5 weeks, dead.

Just Friday, my wife's car sat 6 days and dead. All kinds of problems service stabilitrak and service airbag as a result.

Luckily I have the scanner which does ABS and airbags so I was able to read, document, and clear. The airbag issue was lost communication to the passenger front seat sensor (to turn airbag off when nobody sitting in it).

the battery was only 2 years old--went back to Costco no questions asked and gave us a new one with $1.06? Said the price dropped by $1? Also warranty shortened from 42 free replace to 36. Here's the real oddity, tech told me warranty starts all over, 36 mos. from Friday. I saw a complaint on walmart.com that their everstart battery while it has a 36 mo. warranty, it failed in 2 years and person said what good does the warranty do me when this fails in another 2 years....I guess alluding to the fact that it's known the battery won't make it 36 mos. so it equates to one free replacment then buy a new one year 4...

When I look online, there were 4 other brands of batteries that look identical (have caps over posts, with the vent tube plug, same handle). Walmart, Autozone, Costco, and DieHard. All from what I can find made by JCI under different brands.

It's weird--original batteries that come with the cars seem to last 6+ years. Replacements vary from 2-4, from my limited experience. At least Costco is a no hassle replacement. Advance auto was ridiculous, as was the three stooges. Sears was fine too but not sure they're even open anymore.

once I got 10 years

I think auto battery lifetime can vary not only with the design and construction of the battery, but also with the usage conditions such as frequency and length of drives and temperature. Further the details of the charging system installed in a particular brand of automobile have an influence as well.

I had a 1975 BMW that only got two years each from three successive batteries until finally I replaced the faulty voltage regulator which meant that the battery was being charged to about a volt less than the replacement. I got four years out of the next one.

More surprisingly, I got 10 years out of a Sears Diehard I put into my 1987 BMW. When it became weak and I went to replace it, the only battery document I could find in the glove compartment was clearly the wrong one, as I knew for sure no lead acid auto battery would last 10 years of service. But when the tech at Sears pulled the battery and checked the manufacturing date code, he assured me that I really had gotten 10 years out of that battery.

--
personal GPS user since 1992

speaking of BMW

archae86 wrote:

I think auto battery lifetime can vary not only with the design and construction of the battery, but also with the usage conditions such as frequency and length of drives and temperature. Further the details of the charging system installed in a particular brand of automobile have an influence as well.

I had a 1975 BMW that only got two years each from three successive batteries until finally I replaced the faulty voltage regulator which meant that the battery was being charged to about a volt less than the replacement. I got four years out of the next one.

More surprisingly, I got 10 years out of a Sears Diehard I put into my 1987 BMW. When it became weak and I went to replace it, the only battery document I could find in the glove compartment was clearly the wrong one, as I knew for sure no lead acid auto battery would last 10 years of service. But when the tech at Sears pulled the battery and checked the manufacturing date code, he assured me that I really had gotten 10 years out of that battery.

I stupidly replaced my BMW battery at the dealer when the car was almost 5. I wanted to take advantage of a coupon where it would be done for $280. $280? lol Yes, there were people online paying as much as $500 at the dealer. But to be fair, the dealer did ask me, why do you want to replace the battery, it tests fine. I kept the old one as well and still have it. It is a size that most do not make, 94R. Physically huge. The stuff attached to it I didn't want to mess with, and it requires reprogramming and at the time my software wasn't working right to do so.

the original is German, the one the dealer installs is made by Exide--they look identical other than where they are made. My wife's aunt bought a 2006 330i new in July 2005. She finally replaced the battery in 2015. BMW requires programming and a couple of guys fried their cars DIY, so I avoid. I know this is being wimpy considering the things I have fixed on our cars, but oh well....it could very well be that the algorithm on the BMW where as the battery ages, it doesn't get charged as much, lengthens its life.

btw my wife's GM SUV does have some intelligence (battery is a H6). In the summer sometimes the volt meter is barely 13V. On the same trip it will drop from about 14.25 to 13. Then when restarted, it goes back up. In the winter it tends to be higher. What I mean is the car is managing the charging. When the battery is beginning to fail the voltage is way up...then one day some of the settings are gone like mpg, avg mph, as hints the battery cut out. But Friday was weird, 8 volts and the airbag warning that was totally new, never seen that.

The other thing is my BMW is a 3 series. It has the largest output of our cars, at 180A, 10A more than my wife's, and my wife's is a SUV with 3 rows, AC outlets, etc. The BMW doesn't even have navigation. My full sized Japanese car has lots of bells and whistles and only 130A alternator and 24F battery.

p.s. it looks like JCI is an Irish co. and Exide went bankrupt this year for the 3rd time in its history.

The pandemic

The pandemic and the lockdown have drained the batteries in our GPSs and in our cars. Members have often heard my plea to get a wall charger and keep the GPS battery charged, especially before a firmware or map update.

All modern cars have parasitic drain where electricity keeps various car computers on standby while they sleep, even if the engine is off and the car is parked. If this goes on for 5 or 6 days, it is seriously draining the battery. It was already mentioned that a failing battery can mess up car systems. A trip to dealer service might be needed.

Car batteries are mostly lead-acid, either the traditional liquid acid or the modern dry equivalent, AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat). If the battery is constantly partially discharged, this will hurt the battery permanently and shorten its life.

I recommend a trickle charger while the car is not being used. Get a good one since it will be a switching power supply rather than a transformer-based power supply. This is better for the battery since it will be pure DC rather than pulsating DC.

I believe most batteries are made in other countries because battery manufacturing byproducts have to be dealt with as hazardous waste. Lead fumes or machining is bad for factory workers. If the batteries were made in the US or Canada that translates to higher prices.

The last three batteries I have bought were Bosch brand. If your car can fit a Bosch battery group size, I recommend Bosch. They are more expensive and I don't know where they are made. Even so, after 4 or 5 years start thinking about replacement or have the battery load-tested.

dobs108 smile

Batteries are made to fail

If Costco has your battery it is the way to go. Mine died on the last day of the 3 year warranty. Took it in and got a new one no questions asked. Prices are usually 2/3 the cost of most auto parts stores too. Interstate used to be a great battery but to keep prices low and sell volume the quality has gone down.

Most made here in USA

dobs108 wrote:

I believe most batteries are made in other countries because battery manufacturing byproducts have to be dealt with as hazardous waste. Lead fumes or machining is bad for factory workers. If the batteries were made in the US or Canada that translates to higher prices.

dobs108 smile

Consumer Reports that of the batteries available in the United States, about 95% are made by three companies, Johnson Controls (which supplies more than half of the market), Exide; and East Penn Manufacturing.

--
John from PA

I have

dobs108 wrote:

The pandemic and the lockdown have drained the batteries in our GPSs and in our cars. Members have often heard my plea to get a wall charger and keep the GPS battery charged, especially before a firmware or map update.

All modern cars have parasitic drain where electricity keeps various car computers on standby while they sleep, even if the engine is off and the car is parked. If this goes on for 5 or 6 days, it is seriously draining the battery. It was already mentioned that a failing battery can mess up car systems. A trip to dealer service might be needed.

Car batteries are mostly lead-acid, either the traditional liquid acid or the modern dry equivalent, AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat). If the battery is constantly partially discharged, this will hurt the battery permanently and shorten its life.

I recommend a trickle charger while the car is not being used. Get a good one since it will be a switching power supply rather than a transformer-based power supply. This is better for the battery since it will be pure DC rather than pulsating DC.

I believe most batteries are made in other countries because battery manufacturing byproducts have to be dealt with as hazardous waste. Lead fumes or machining is bad for factory workers. If the batteries were made in the US or Canada that translates to higher prices.

The last three batteries I have bought were Bosch brand. If your car can fit a Bosch battery group size, I recommend Bosch. They are more expensive and I don't know where they are made. Even so, after 4 or 5 years start thinking about replacement or have the battery load-tested.

dobs108 smile

Have both a 1.5A and 3.0A version of the Battery Tender. Costco again.

What I notice about batteries as they age as I have a tester....the CCAs go down (the 730 CCA battery from Friday read 885 CCA at 46F....I've seen over 900 as I recall 2 years ago as it was summer temps), the voltage goes down ever so slightly, and the resistance goes way up...of course v = ir from high school.

Here's what I really would like but look at the price tag--

https://www.amazon.com/Schumacher-INC100-Battery-Charger-Sup...

So what I would do is to get this one

https://wfcoelectronics.com/product/wf-9875-75-amp/

These are perfect for coding the car, or, just frankly powering them when they are not running. You know, like when a car dealer has a car on display and let people go in and out and play the stereo etc. They key is that the power is clean. On a $100 battery charger that can start the car, it's risky....car wants 70 amps suddenly the volts go to 16.5 and system fried!

The one I would get powers 12V RV appliances and charges the battery. A poor man's version of the expensive power supply. Granted the power supply is only needed for coding cars' computers...many tasks if the power failed (like when I was doing the ABS brakes), it only means start over. But it's critical stages such as when a laptop's BIOS is getting upgraded and you don't want the power to be removed, same with the cars.

p.s. I noticed I have a quad 20A outlet in the garage--noticed only today! If 15 A, one cannot go higher than the 55A version of the RV battery charger....

agree

Frside007 wrote:

If Costco has your battery it is the way to go. Mine died on the last day of the 3 year warranty. Took it in and got a new one no questions asked. Prices are usually 2/3 the cost of most auto parts stores too. Interstate used to be a great battery but to keep prices low and sell volume the quality has gone down.

I think so, the key is hassle free....I bought an 84 mo. battery from Advance Auto in 2005. In 2009 it failed--it was beyond 36 mos. but was still within 84 mos. They told me the warranty expired. I tried to dummy it down--I bought this in 2005. It is 2009--does that sound like 7 years have gone by? The clerk took out a calculator, subtracted, and it showed 4. Now I said do you agree 4 < 7? He said I don't know all I know is your warranty expired and if you want a new battery you have to pay $89.95. I knew I wasn't going to get anywhere so I decided to have some fun and acted like Jack Nicholson in Five Easy Pieces.

Available in the US or made in the US

John from PA wrote:

Consumer Reports that of the batteries available in the United States, about 95% are made by three companies, Johnson Controls (which supplies more than half of the market), Exide; and East Penn Manufacturing.

East Penn is the only one with all operations in Pennsylvania. They are a small company compared to others. I have used East Penn golf-cart batteries for the last 15 years for our sailboat. They last 5 years before needing replacement. They are expensive.

Clarios Corp. makes all Johnson Controls auto batteries. Johnson Controls website says:

“Johnson Controls' recycling system has helped make automotive batteries the most recycled consumer product in the world. Globally, 15,000 employees develop, manufacture, distribute and recycle batteries at more than 50 locations.”

https://www.johnsoncontrols.com/media-center/news/press-rele...

Wikipedia:
“Exide Technologies is an American multinational lead-acid batteries manufacturing company. It manufactures automotive batteries and industrial batteries. It is based in Milton, Georgia, United States.

It has both manufacturing and recycling plants. The former are located throughout the U.S., Pacific Rim, Europe and Australia.

Recycling plants are located in Canon Hollow, which is north of Forest City, Missouri, and Muncie, Indiana. Two recycling plants in Frisco, Texas and Vernon, California have been closed in 2012 and 2013.[1] The plants in Reading, Pennsylvania and Baton Rouge, Louisiana have also been closed.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exide

Two Years Maybe Two and a Half

I live in Florida and do a lot of crank and stop driving. Between the multiple cranking and the heat, I don't seem to ever get more than two to two and half years out of a battery. This goes back a good 20 years now.

Used to be,

batteries would give you some warning before they died. With the new batteries, you get no warning at all. Just the other day, I went out to start my truck. Slow start. Just a couple of starts later, nothing!

--
It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible. ----George Washington

Had to buy one recently

Unfortunately it was a semi emergency situation and I had to purchase it at the closest place to me, O'Reilly Auto Parts. If I had my druthers I would have gone to Costco or Sears but that wasn't an option at the time. Oh well, crossing my fingers this one will last a while.

I think Johnson Controls

I think Johnson Controls makes their batteries for NA in Mexico. They moved years ago and the Optima when made in the US was one of the best batteries made but is sub par now and overpriced.

that happened

BSideTheCSide wrote:

Unfortunately it was a semi emergency situation and I had to purchase it at the closest place to me, O'Reilly Auto Parts. If I had my druthers I would have gone to Costco or Sears but that wasn't an option at the time. Oh well, crossing my fingers this one will last a while.

To me and a buddy in the 90's, car broke down upper East Side in NYC, waited 2 hours for AAA, and he paid about $140 for a $50 entry level AC Delco battery. My buddy has his limits too. He asks a tech if he can borrow an adjustable wrench and screwdriver, and the guy goes $20. Without missing a beat he tells me, "Help me push my car to the pumps where we'll wait for AAA, could take hours." The implication was we'd block the gas pumps--shoulda seen how quickly that gentleman whipped out a wrench and screwdriver.

About 6 mos later the battery failed and even with a receipt an AC Delco retailer (auto parts counter) refused to honor the warranty. So I will stick with Costco probably forever. Again, Sears honored them too. But not the three stooges and advance auto, flat out rejected a valid warranty.

warnings also depend on car

maddog67 wrote:

batteries would give you some warning before they died.

We own a Toyota Prius. On a Prius the 12 volt battery does not twist the engine to get it started. That job belongs to the main traction battery. But the 12 V battery powers all the little controllers that are required to make almost anything work. The 12 V battery also has one big responsibility: supply about a 50 amp jolt to energize a relay that actually connects the traction battery to the rest of the car. For safety reasons the traction battery is disconnected when the car is not active.

This combination of circumstances means that none of the symptoms we grew up with for low 12 V battery capability apply. No audibly slow rotation of the engine before ignition. No clatter without rotation when the battery is just a bit lower yet.

Instead the symptom is one from an oddball assortment of possibilities: it all depends on which controller in your particular vehicle is least able to operate at lower than proper 12 V voltage during nonoperating time. It can be trouble recognizing the key fob, but it also can be many other things. The whole situation is quite puzzling. But it has nothing to do with the battery itself.

--
personal GPS user since 1992

Related, good time to clean terminals

On a related topic, sometimes starting issues are caused by corrosion on the battery terminals, which you may or may not see as many cars not have protective terminal covers. Just lift them and take a peak.

With winter coming it is a good time to clean the battery terminals. Just make sure you have all the needed information that may be required after reconnecting; things like the radio code for instance.

--
John from PA

I always

John from PA wrote:

On a related topic, sometimes starting issues are caused by corrosion on the battery terminals, which you may or may not see as many cars not have protective terminal covers. Just lift them and take a peak.

With winter coming it is a good time to clean the battery terminals. Just make sure you have all the needed information that may be required after reconnecting; things like the radio code for instance.

Put those NOCO battery terminal protectors, they're felt I believe and have some oil on them. I don't bother to add the pink spray protector except on our two Japanese cars. The reason is 2 of our cars have the batteries inside, one in the trunk, the other under the passenger's feet. the other two are under the hood, outside, and there I spray them.

One thing I learned with my 1998 Nissan. The first time I replaced the battery, I went from group 24F to 35. My car had the cold weather package so it came with a larger 24F. Salesman sold me the smaller battery. So when I did it, I threw away the plastic protective sleeve. I then went back to the 24F, etc.

Flash forward to 2015. The front fender rusted out at the front left corner. Asked my uncle what he thought. He said I bet you that your battery is in that corner, and you threw away the plastic sleeve at some point. DOH! gassing

My other Japanese car the battery is on the pass side firewall, located near the windshield. I made a point to retain the plastic sleeve. Imagine rusting out the firewall and fender on the door side....

Old vs New

"Back in the day" batteries lasted much longer. There was absolutely nothing putting a drain on the battery when the car was just sitting. Now there is all kinds of stuff eating away at the battery. Cars used to be much simpler.

--
GPSMAP 76CSx - nüvi 760 - nüvi 200 - GPSMAP 78S

absolutely

thrak wrote:

"Back in the day" batteries lasted much longer. There was absolutely nothing putting a drain on the battery when the car was just sitting. Now there is all kinds of stuff eating away at the battery. Cars used to be much simpler.

imagine now there's all this "stuff" hanging off of the positive terminal and harness if you will. On a BMW it has an IBS aka intelligent battery sensor. Sometimes I wonder how much malfunctions when power is taken away? Ordinary cars now (I don't have one) routinely have adaptive cruise control, park themselves, etc.

malfunctions

My jeep and Kawasaki both acted funny when the battery is near replacement. Both would throw codes while driving. The jeep would do weird stuff like make the gages go wild while driving.

wife's

car seems to be ok with the new battery. Thing is, after jumping the car, there was nothing wrong with the old battery after I tested it. I wish I had an explanation, like in the old days, left the lights on (I think only my 1998 can do that, the 3 other cars cut them off). Plus my wife's, and the BMW have battery saver modes where they shut off accessories when the battery reaches a certain level (I have witnessed both in cold weather when listening to the stereo). So I don't know what caused my wife's car to be dead. It parked from Sat. night to Thu. AM and was fine--with the new battery.

Reminds me of a BMW story. I went to my car and listened to tunes at work, back when we parked outside in a parking lot. There was a weird symbol on the dash and you know how Germans like to use symbols and sometimes they're cryptic. A coworker walked right by my car cutting through the lot and waved.

When we got inside, he said hey your car was lit up on only the right side, did you know that? I told him huh, that's what those weird symbols meant on the dash, almost reminded me of rabbit ears turned sideways. I guess German cars can activate half of the parking lamps, with the idea that you're parked on a narrow street and so the side facing traffic lights up, and not the other side lol and somehow my knee hit the knob activating that. I remember the first time I discovered my car had cornering lamps I thought they were so cool, reminded me of 1970's caddys

Could have been corrosion

johnnatash4 wrote:

car seems to be ok with the new battery. Thing is, after jumping the car, there was nothing wrong with the old battery after I tested it. I wish I had an explanation...

Sometimes it is just some corrosion on the terminals which when disturbed, then you can start. And of course when you remove the battery it will test OK. In the old days AAA would suggest you turn on the headlights for about 30 seconds, then turn them off and then try to restart the car. Turning the headlights on would often "burn" through the corrosion just enough to enable a start. These days AAA would rather sell you a battery.

Personally I clean the terminals every fall since winter can take a toll on the battery.

--
John from PA

Welds in the battery are the

Welds in the battery are the weak point...
Yuasa Makes motorcycle batteries, and years ago they made a bunch of batteries with bad welds in the plates.... They would work fine, until they opened up....
As batteries on motorcycles are right under your seat... You'd gas up, hit starter button and hear and feel a "POP" Right under your seat.... and that would be the end of that!!!
Depending on where the weld failed, you'd get: 2V, 4V, 6V, 8V, or 10V, under load, but 12.6V with no load...
And a new battery was in your future....
Happened to me twice....
I heard it took Yuasa a while to determine which welder it was....
Welds were like 80% efficient, and apparently the serial numbers didn't match welders so problem continued for a while... until they determined which welder was causing the problem...
I know of many who got Warranty Battery replacements during this time that failed the same way, too....
That gave Gell Cell Battery start ups a LOT of business!!! I know they got mine!!!!

Yuasa also made a motorcycle battery with insufficient "slosh protection" in the acid area, and caused a recall to get frames Soda Washed, Scraped, and re-painted.....

Lotsa Fun!

--
A 2689LMT in both our cars that we love... and a Nuvi 660 with Lifetime Maps that we have had literally forever.... And a 2011 Ford Escape with Nav System that is totally ignored!

Bad welds

This was an issue that occurred while I was working for a battery manufacturer in Milwaukee. It was also the time period where they were changing over to maintenance free batteries - i.e. they were going from lead-antimony plates to lead-calcium plates. There was a bit of re-learning required to get the intercell spot welding procedure fine tuned.

--
-Quest, Nuvi 1390T

Well it took about a year

Well it took about a year and a half until they got it right with any confidence!!!

--
A 2689LMT in both our cars that we love... and a Nuvi 660 with Lifetime Maps that we have had literally forever.... And a 2011 Ford Escape with Nav System that is totally ignored!