Piston Slap: Unfit to Charge… an Accord?

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta
piston slap unfit to charge 8230 an accord

(Yes, this is the third consecutive post about batteries, so please accept my apology and I promise next week will be a different subject. -SM)

TTAC Commentator civicjohn writes:


My daughter is at college 200 miles away from me. She called me on the way to work and said that she thought her battery was going dead, because she got the dreaded “clicking” noise while trying to start it. The battery was replaced about 3 years ago, and the alternator and starter were checked and found to be ok.

The car is a 2007 Honda Accord EX-L with 95k miles on it, all service done by the dealer, timing belt changed at 75k, all fluids, everything up to date (I always took it to the dealership; I know I overpaid, but it has a pristine service record).

So I’m about to order a battery from an auto parts store that will install it for no charge, I’m cool with that, but is there any advice on what type of battery I should get? I’ve picked one out, it has a 1-year replacement warranty. Should I spend more, or do I just plan on replacing the battery every 3 years or so?

The car is pristine, she learned how to drive in that car, and I hate to see her sign up for a new car loan when I’ve had friends that have got 150k + service out of these cars. Also, I’ve read about putting vaseline on the terminals, etc. Do any of these tricks extend the battery life?

Sajeev answers:

Yes, I emailed the OP shortly after receiving the email, but now we can expand on my initial response. Because a 3-year-old battery needing replacement sounds right: this only cements my opinion on the last two Piston Slaps!

If you’re gonna keep this Accord for many more years, the best replacement battery is the one with the longest replacement warranty. While they may/may not be better quality, the longer warranty ensures you get more of your money back as time goes by. The best warranty these days seems to be a 3-year free replacement, with an extra 2 years pro-rated replacement.

So get the super-mega-warrantied battery from the easiest place to redeem said purchase when it fails. Why? Because I have tried most major retailers and I see no difference in the quality of their respective brands, I find them all equally disappointing.

That said, if you do a lot of commuting in the middle of nowhere, Walmart is my choice. You can always get towed to a Walmart, right? I live within walking distance to an Autozone, so that’s my jam. I could drive to two other parts stores nearby, but whatever, I know the folks that work there and they are good to me.

I don’t know any tricks to extend battery life, other than keeping it clean, topped up with water (when applicable!), and ensure the power/ground wires aren’t corroded (externally or internally). And don’t use vaseline, use dielectric grease instead. It has a million uses!

But even better, I’d pay for the battery spray instead, as it leaves less residue, virtually no mess. You could spring for those red/green felt pads, but those are likely overkill if corrosion hasn’t been a problem in the past.

Best and Brightest?[Image: Honda]Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.
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2 of 81 comments
  • Opus Opus on Oct 15, 2019

    Can't believe how many are saying 3 years is normal for a battery. I'm pissed if I don't get at least 6, and that's not unusual at all. My daughter's 2011 Mustang (140,000 miles) is just starting to show some weakness and it still has the factory battery.

  • Starskeptic Starskeptic on Oct 25, 2019

    The original Mazda-branded battery in my '02 Protege5 lasted 9 years - most of which was in Arizona...

  • ToolGuy 38:25 to 45:40 -- Let's all wait around for the stupid ugly helicopter. 😉The wheels and tires are cool, as in a) carbon fiber is a structural element not decoration and b) they have some sidewall.Also like the automatic fuel adjustment (gasoline vs. ethanol).(Anyone know why it's more powerful on E85? Huh? Huh?)
  • Ja-GTI So, seems like you have to own a house before you can own a BEV.
  • Kwik_Shift Good thing for fossil fuels to keep the EVs going.
  • Carlson Fan Meh, never cared for this car because I was never a big fan of the Gen 1 Camaro. The Gen 1 Firebird looked better inside and out and you could get it with the 400.The Gen 2 for my eyes was peak Camaro as far as styling w/those sexy split bumpers! They should have modeled the 6th Gen after that.
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