Car battery stone cold dead (0.551VDC). UPDATE

MrSoftware

Joined Oct 29, 2013
2,015
Optima used to be top shelf, but do a lot of reading in the more recent reviews at places like Amazon, where the public can comment, and it looks like the quality is a crap shoot now and they have a history of not honoring the warranty when things do go bad. I picked this one at random, fully 10% are 1-star reviews. Ctl-f and search the page for "warranty":

https://www.amazon.com/product-revi...r&reviewerType=all_reviews#reviews-filter-bar
 

bwilliams60

Joined Nov 18, 2012
1,419
Drive it until it fails you. Thats all you can do.
To relate what @shortbus said about battery manufacturers, what he says is very true. As a starter and alternator rebuilder we would visit many places over the course of our tenure in business. One of those places was a battery wholesaler and inside were thousands of batteries of all colors, shapes and sizes. At the front of the building was a room with over 100 different labels to affix to the batteries as they went out the door. There were labels for Sears, Walmart, a lot of OEMs etc and they were all made by one manufacturer.
On the Optima batteries @Tonyr1084, you would be buying a very good, proven battery that can be deep cycled all day long and take a lot of abuse. The downside and the only one that I know of, is that you are going to pay dearly for this battery unless you have a friend in the business.
Whatever you decide to do, I hope it works out for you. Cheers
 

shortbus

Joined Sep 30, 2009
9,050
What are opinions on Optima batteries?
Which Optima? At one time that meant something, they were a wound( pasttence of wind) cell AGM battery. Now under the same brand they sell a standard cell type battery. The one you linked to is one of the newer regular flat plate ones. So while the older spiral cell ones were at the time to gold standard of batteries the newer flat plate ones I'm not sure if there is a real difference from any other brands made at the same factory.


Another little story. When working for Delphi Saturn cars were supposedly made better than any othe brand of GM car. I worked where they made wiring harnesses and spark plug wire products. They had dedicated assembly lines for Saturn. But they were only different in that they had a sign over them saying Saturn. They used the same wires, terminals and plug boots made on the same machines that all of GM, some Ford and some Chrysler products were made from.
 

Thread Starter

Tonyr1084

Joined Sep 24, 2015
6,592
What I meant was that presently your battery is able to deliver what is required. The battery life has probably been shortened a bit, but no telling, really. It is the uncertainty that is certain.
I'm sure of that. Nobody knows the unknown. But with hindsight and experience one can surmise what the future may hold. Others have said outright to just buy a new battery; and I consider that good advice. Still others have said outright that it could last another 10 years. OK, maybe a bit over the top as it's been many years since I've driven a single battery that long. The thing I most wanted to know was what others thought of the situation and I've gotten exactly that.
Whatever you decide to do, I hope it works out for you.
Thanks B.
If you are losing sleep over this, you should just buy a new battery.
Nope. Not losing sleep. A wise man will take in more information whereas a fool will just assume without regard for the consequences.
Which Optima? At one time that meant something, they were a wound( pasttence of wind) cell AGM battery. Now under the same brand they sell a standard cell type battery. The one you linked to is one of the newer regular flat plate ones.
A prime example of why I asked this question. It's an opportunity to learn. I didn't know that original Optima's were spiral wound plates. I HAVE wondered why the cylindrical shape of the battery cells, and may have imagined at one time that the plates were spiral.

I haven't done a ton of research on batteries. In fact, the price of the red top #35 battery ($199.00 US) put me off of the whole idea of going with a presumed high quality battery. For now I'm fine with the battery as it is. It's proven to be robust at present and will watch for signs of stress. Wife's car is a "Push Button" start, so it's not like I'm holding the key for half a second with a good battery and 2 seconds with a weak battery.

Little story from back in the 70's: Drove a Chevy Nova with a 302 high compression engine. Not stock. Built for speed. One morning I went out to start the car and it wouldn't. Jumped it and checked the battery voltage with the engine running. Showed a good 13.8V (from memory - probably not accurate). This told me the alternator was working fine at an idle, all electrical's turned off. So I drove off and did my chores. Started the engine time and again all day long without any problems. The wife and I went out to dinner, and on the way home we stopped at the store. It was dark when we left the diner so the headlights were on. When I went to start the car the battery was flat. I couldn't understand why it was. So I got a jump from another motorist and made it home. The next morning it wouldn't start again. Jumped it and went and bought a new battery. A few days later in a similar situation, night driving, the new battery wouldn't start. The next morning I had the hood up feeling very perplexed at why the car didn't like starting at night. For some unknown reason I grabbed the belt that went from the main pulley to the alternator and tugged on it. For those of you who just gasped - no, the engine was not running. The darn belt was Very loose. So I tightened it up and that was the end of the problem. It was then that I learned belts lose tension over time. And a slipping belt can provide enough drag to charge the battery when the load is light but when heavier loads are applied like headlights and heaters, the belt slips just enough to power the car but not charge the battery.

That issue, until discovered, caused me several nights of starting problems. Because the engine was high compression the engine would start to turn over then bog down, then crank up again. Ignition timing was on the high side as well, so the starter had to overcome the extra load. One night when I couldn't find a friendly motorist I took a pair of needle nose pliers and shorted the two small wire terminals together and had my wife crank the engine. The starter had NO PROBLEM turning the engine over. With the engine spinning at a good starting RPM I let go of the coil and the engine came to life.

Today's cars don't have the old ID (Inductance Discharge) ignition. You can't short out the coil and let the engine spin freely.
 

Thread Starter

Tonyr1084

Joined Sep 24, 2015
6,592
UPDATE: Here, it is less than 70 days since last post. Today I just changed the battery because it shows signs of weakness. Resting voltage was 11.9V and it was sluggish to crank the engine. Plus, the battery was manufactured in 5/17. Almost four years old. Three year warranty, so I got my money's worth out of it.

May it rest in peace's. (yeah - I know - I know) (pieces!)
 
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Ylli

Joined Nov 13, 2015
1,054
How do you guys manage to go through batteries so quickly? Just had to change the battery in my son's car - the one in there was 12 years old. My car battery is about 8 years old is is doing fine. This is in Wisconsin where the winters are cold and the summers are hot.

Just don't ask about the battery in the lawn tractor.......
 

Thread Starter

Tonyr1084

Joined Sep 24, 2015
6,592
Initial question was because the battery had been run completely flat; down to half a volt and sat there for some length of time. Not noticed for two days. Wondered if the battery would come back. It did - but didn't live long after that. Traded in a 13 year old battery as a core and still have this weakened battery; now in service on an old car radio in the garage. It's kept on a 13.65V trickle float charge; so it's doing OK in that role. I just don't want the wife getting stuck with a dead battery somewhere. We have AAA, but why use them when you know trouble is coming and can avoid it with a new battery.
 

Reloadron

Joined Jan 15, 2015
6,312
Never saw this thread when it began since I was AWOL during that period for about a month. Anyway here is something to consider. Walmart sells under the name Ever Start much like Sears uses the name Die Hard. The truth is Walmart or Sears never made a battery during their entire existence. The batteries and other products they sell are branded or private labeled. In some cases it is not unusual for a major retail outlet like Walmart to have several suppliers located at several geographic locations all making the same branded battery. Those same manufacturers may be selling batteries to a dozen or more retailers. Normally somewhere on the battery there will be a manufacturer's code tying the battery to whoever made it. Since often it could be any of several manufacturers it is hard to qualify a statement like "Walmart batteries suck". Some may find this an interesting read and it is very good for those with insomnia. Another example is Optima Batteries sold by Advance Auto Parts are made by Johnson Controls, a key player in battery manufacturing. Advance Auto Parts never made a battery, they just sell branded batteries.

Years ago it was normally easy to tell when a battery was at the end of its normal service life, they would display symptoms. Today not quite as easy in many cases. Most of my 5 year batteries have lasted just about on the mark. Like the truck starts on Monday and Tuesday the battery is shot. A 60 month 5 year battery will generally fail at just about 61 months. Then too, it's all about climate and use.

Tony, on the bright side now you have one less thing to worry about. Sometimes the peace of mind is well worth the replacement cost be it a battery or other item. When things fail they have a way of doing so at the worst possible time.

Ron
 

Thread Starter

Tonyr1084

Joined Sep 24, 2015
6,592
Tony, on the bright side now you have one less thing to worry about. • • • When things fail they have a way of doing so at the worst possible time.
Agreed.

My Toyota (I know, not really a Toyota) battery has been showing signs of older age as well. It's resting voltage has dropped to 12.2V. By "Resting" I mean not having been driven or started overnight. 12.2 isn't a low voltage by any means. Yet, when the voltage drops below 12V it's usually time for a replacement.

I have a battery meter on my truck. When I sit and wait with the ACC on and playing the radio - the battery voltage drops into the high 11's. Of course, I'm using the battery, that's why it drops. But when new it never dropped under the same conditions below 12.2V. So it's close to time for replacement as well.
 

Ylli

Joined Nov 13, 2015
1,054
Keep in mind that modern vehicles draw some current from the battery even when you think everything is turned off. Most by the computer, but there are other small parasitic draws.

A 50 mA draw on a 50 A-hr battery will drain it in 1000 hrs - less than 6 weeks.
 

panic mode

Joined Oct 10, 2011
1,987
Don't let anyone besides yourself depend on the vehicle. You wouldn't want them to get stranded.
why treat yourself worse that others? and if they get stranded - even better. they will not ask for your car any more. and once they own the car they cannot say no to you if you need to borrow it because you were generous to them before;)
 

crutschow

Joined Mar 14, 2008
28,502
How do you guys manage to go through batteries so quickly? Just had to change the battery in my son's car - the one in there was 12 years old.
Never have had one go anywhere near that long.
The batteries were in relatively new cars/trucks (including my most recent 2016 Colorado truck) and typically lasted about 3-4 years.
Since they were all maintenance-free batteries, don't know of anything that could increase their life.
 

MisterBill2

Joined Jan 23, 2018
10,495
Years ago I purchased an ESB brand of battery for $25, which at the time was a good price but not a fantastic deal. It outlasted tghe car it was in and was still good enough that I gave it to a guy who was down on his bucks and moving to Texas, where the jobs were at that time. (1081, I think it was.)
And I knew a person who bought a Sears DieHard battery and then went through many of them because they all failed after just a few months. He was constantly told it was his charging system, So I checked and it could deliver 20 amps at 1000 RPM, and so I don't believe that was the problem. Then the scandal hit that they had been selling used batteries as new and making tons of profit on the pro-rated scheme warranty. So he bought a gas-station battery that lasted for more that the claimed lifetime.
 

Thread Starter

Tonyr1084

Joined Sep 24, 2015
6,592
I've had good luck with batteries. Only had one go bad after about 18 months, and it was warranty replaced. In fact, the replacement, going on 4 years, and was the one that suffered the drastic depletion is the one I just replaced. The battery in my truck, a 2017 is just showing signs of age. It, too, is a 3 year battery. I WAS thinking of getting a Toyota replacement battery, but y'all convinced me that batteries are made on one line and given several different stampings and sold at different prices. So the "EverLast MAX" 24F is the one I put in the wife's car and will probably put in my truck. I saw on the internet someone did a comparison and found the EverLast was just as good as all the others and was the best for price. So - - - .
 

MisterBill2

Joined Jan 23, 2018
10,495
There are a number of battery makers, and some are better than others. So they are not ALL the same, and knowing which ones are which makers takes a bit of digging.
 

Ylli

Joined Nov 13, 2015
1,054
Probably shouldn't make this comment since it is ancient history, but I'm gonna....

Early in my working career, I spent 6 months working at Globe Union (eventually folded into Johnson Controls). I was in the lab testing GelCells and industrial batteries, but at the same factory we made auto batteries (e.g. Die Hard for Sears). Again, this is ancient history and most likely does not represent what is happening now, but at the time Globe Union had (IMO) very poor control over the quality of the incoming raw materials (lead and various lead oxides). They massaged the chemistry to get an acceptable paste, but the pastes were never the same batch to batch and never anywhere near optimum. When doing comparison testing between 'our' batteries and the competitors, we always came up short.
 

MisterBill2

Joined Jan 23, 2018
10,495
I am guessing that the price for the poor quality incoming materials was less than for the better qualitiy materials from other sources. Could the choice of suppliers have been made by the purchasing department? I have seen that happen before.
 
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