By on October 11, 2019

Image: Honda

(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:

Sajeev,

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]
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81 Comments on “Piston Slap: Unfit to Charge… an Accord?...”


  • avatar
    MorrisGray

    I have tried the red/green pads and I didn’t see any benefit from them and eventually removed them. Three to four years are the norm for a battery if you crank and go everyday and/or multiple times in a day. The more you have to use your battery the sooner it’s life will expire.

    … No offense intended but if your daughter is in college…. why not teach her to be responsible, buy her own battery and let her learn what to do?

    • 0 avatar
      Jon

      Because that’s not how daughters should be treated.
      Son… Yes.
      Son-in-law… more yes (gotta ensure he is prepared to care for her)

      Call me old fashioned, but daughters should rely on their father to do the (physically) dirty work or find a man who can do it for them so they can go back to being women. If neither are available or are unwilling, they can learn (out of necessity) to do it themselves.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        You’re old fashioned.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I want to agree with you, but to some degree correct social norms should not breed complete ignorance of basic knowledge. Every driver should be able to open their hood, check their oil, and name/understand the components. Would I expect my daughter to be able to diagnose and change out her own battery? Not quite unless she was mechanically inclined, but knowing what a battery is in a car and understanding its relationship to the alternator would be information I would instill. I have this problem now with a woman I’m sort of seeing, gorgeous pharmacy student with a hard ass streak and general contempt for humanity (as I have), but clueless about her Toyota Avalon. Evidently that’s to be my concern because she’s more interested in her $2,000 hair (its a joke but she spends $$$ for hair extensions and I don’t understand why).

        On another note, I attended a home repair DIY course over the summer, one sub 30 woman who also joined made a quip that her husband was afraid of the electrical system and she recognized someone had to understand it to effect repairs/troubleshoot etc. While I agreed with her, this was about the fourth confirmation from the post 1990 female generation that most of the men of their generation are complete p*ssies (the other three being three ex gfs of that MY90+ age group). Up is down, black is white, wrong is right.

        • 0 avatar
          Jon

          I completely agree on the education part of this. Maybe i should have stated as such in my original post.

          I’m just skeptical that with the daughter hundreds of miles away, the above scenario is not really a teaching moment, especially if she is in the middle of mid-terms. I certainly would not expect any daughters to be able to diagnose and changes their own batteries either.

          But i would expect them have enough working knowledge to be able to carefully watch and listen to the person who is diagnosing and changing the battery, and use their exemplary interpersonal skills to determine if they are being fleeced.

        • 0 avatar
          brettc

          More guys need to heed Red Green’s words of wisdom:

          If the women don’t find ya handsome, they should at least find ya handy.

          • 0 avatar
            Jon

            I haven’t heard that in yeeeeeaars! Not proud of it but I used to own every season on DVD. I watched it out of pure boredom during the slow times of my first deployment.

            I was half way through an episode and my friend was walking by. He stopped and watched for a few minutes and then commented on how stuuuupid the show was and then proceeded to watch the next two seasons with me.

            hmmm… I have no idea where that DVD set went.

        • 0 avatar
          lot9

          I have several daughters and taught them a few things about autos maintenance and what to check and what to have someone look at if, any issues. And must say, they do a darn good job, too. Always changing filters, checking battery for water and they take it to get the oil changed, regularly.
          That said….not sure they could lift a battery to change it.
          I have a large truck and it is high off the ground…. two young men had to lift the battery, when it was replace at the auto store .

          But, I agree… ladies should not be “dumb” about their vehicles.

          Men are even dumber today or just have no interest. Ex-son in law, would never check the fluids, etc. Blew up an engine in my daughter’s vehicle because he would not stop and take time to add water to the coolant, when it plainly told him it was hot. He had been driving it for months, while out of town.
          Surely, he could even looked for a service station that may have done it.

          Now that he is history… she has less auto problems.
          And grand kids said their Dad’s auto wont run…. something blew up and had to park it.
          Have a neighbor, a young man 28 or so. Drives a 2012 Toyota Prius and asked him about the engine…. said said never has raise the hood.. takes it to the dealer all the time.
          Does not know what under there, the grade of oil and could care less. Dealer will handle it.
          Sign of the times, I guess.

      • 0 avatar
        TheDutchGun

        Yikes

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        While on the one hand I do feel as a Father it is my duty to take care of my Daughter and protect her. On the other hand it is my job to make sure I teach her how to be able to take care of herself. So yeah when her boyfriend’s car wouldn’t start she is the one that diagnosed the problem with my son’s help and she did a fair amount of the work to fix it.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Well, as long as you want your daughter to come running to you every time she needs something done, then that’s your call, I suppose. I did that for a long time, and all it did was run me ragged. YMMV.

        Personally, I think what you’re really doing is making a case for “being Dad.” It’s an ego boost, for sure. But somewhere down the line, I figured out that “being Dad” means “get the kid ready to live on his or her own.”

        But, like I said…your call.

  • avatar
    bufguy

    Actually there is something one can do to insure a longer battery life and that’s a battery tender. Plug it in and it monitors power draw which all cars have with the their electronics. It automatically charges the battery when it detects any drop. I have 12 year old BMW with the original battery

    • 0 avatar
      1500cc

      They also purport to ‘recondition’ the battery and de-sulfate it. I don’t know if that’s true, but it’s probably a good thing for a battery to have a nice gentle top-up every now and then regardless. I’m going on 7 years with the Delco battery in my C6 (a notorious battery killer), probably helped by putting it on a battery tender once a month or so.

      Back to the OP: perhaps an AGM (absorbent glass mat) battery would give you a longer life than a regular sealed lead-acid.

    • 0 avatar
      TR4

      Probably the daughter at college parks in the street or in a parking lot without access to electricity. In this case a solar powered trickle charger might be more practical. For example:

      https://www.amazon.com/SOLPERK-Panel%EF%BC%8CSolar-Charger%EF%BC%8CSolar-Maintainer%EF%BC%8CSuitable-Powersports/dp/B07QC13C2R/ref=asc_df_B07QC13C2R/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=343389557500&hvpos=1o1&hvnetw=g&hvrand=17356656882484106170&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=&hvtargid=pla-738510810936&psc=1&tag=&ref=&adgrpid=69024256077&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvadid=343389557500&hvpos=1o1&hvnetw=g&hvrand=17356656882484106170&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=&hvtargid=pla-738510810936

      • 0 avatar
        JimC2

        The cigarette lighter on those isn’t “hot” when you turn the car off, so you’d have to hard wire this to the battery or to a hot circuit somewhere inside the car.

        And not to be flippant about it, but dad would also have to train daughter on details like leaving the solar panel sitting right side up on the dash, to not park the car in the shade, and to park facing southerly if this thing is to do any good at all.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Not a good idea if the vehicle is left sitting for a long time. No way does that unit at that price have the proper circuitry to prevent overcharging and killing the battery in short order.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    When my youngest kid started college this fall, I didn’t send her away with my old beater Buick, and this is why: I don’t want to get the daily “Dad, it’s making a funny noise” call. Yeah, it makes funny noises, kid – it’s old. That’s what old cars do. As long as it’s starting and running, and not doing anything too untoward, it’s all good, kid. Paying for her school is stressful enough without having to worry about what’s going to go wrong on an old car.

    But enough about me. This guy’s car is in way better shape than my old Buick is, so I think this is a good opportunity for his daughter to gain a bit of car confidence. I’d buy a battery that she can pick out close to wherever she is, and put her in charge of picking it up and putting it in. If you need to buy her the battery grease Sajeev’s talking about, include it with the deal. Swapping batteries is a snap.

    I’ve found that when kids learn how to do basic maintenance on a car, it builds their confidence and makes them savvier consumers of repair services. I hate to say it, but the whole “mechanic sees woman drive up and begins counting her money” thing is still happening in the year 2019, and I’ve seen it with my mom, my daughters, and my S.O. I think women *need* to be able to go toe to toe with these guys and let them know they’re not completely unschooled when it comes to car repairs – otherwise they set themselves up to get fleeced.

    Let her handle the maintenance on the car and maybe she’ll want to keep it longer, versus taking out a car loan right out of school. That’s a good financial move.

    • 0 avatar
      JimC2

      ^^^

      Yes!

      Knowledge is power. It doesn’t take that long to learn how to change a car battery and a few basics of battery care (really only putting a dab of grease on the positive terminal and then putting the plastic cap on top). There are lots of youtube videos to walk you through it if you’re starting out with zero knowledge- and everybody has to start somewhere. Then get a jump start (free videos to learn how to do that too) and drive to the auto parts store armed with your new knowledge. They will change the battery for you- no need to get your hands dirty.

      Sheesh.

      If she doesn’t want mean men to tell her that her blinker fluid needs changing, that it will be a hundred bucks, and it’s really dangerous to drive with low blinker fluid then the best way to be immune to that is some basic knowledge. Ignorance is expensive.

      There are plenty of hours left in the day for her to go back to being a delicate lady.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        I wasn’t trying to make it about gender, and it’s not really about being a delicate lady – it’s about being independent. I’d make the same argument if we were talking about a son, and not a daughter. I was about as “delicate” about car matters when I was a kid as my daughters were when they started driving. I learned. Saved me a lot of money and bulls**t over the years.

        But if we’re making it specific to women, I’d argue that it might be more important for them – I’ve seen how people in the car business usually talk down to women…again and again. It helps if the person being talked down to knows her s**t – that’s when it ends.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          Very true, unfortunately there are lots of people out there who will be more likely to try to take advantage of a woman who brings a car into their shop.

          That said having both a daughter and son they received pretty equal training in things automotive. They both have to put their winter tires on, had to help with doing the brakes, changing oil ect. The difference is that I do have my son help me with the other cars sometimes, and we have done some upgrades together on his vehicles.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    The entire point of the red / green anti corrosion felt washers is if they’re working you don’t see anything…..

    If possible, buy the highest CCA rated battery that will fit ~ it will directly affect the battery’s lifespan .

    I’d be upset if I only got three years out of the 900 CCA batteries my old car uses .

    -Nate

    • 0 avatar
      Jon

      “The entire point of the red / green anti corrosion felt washers is if they’re working you don’t see anything…”

      LOL – Snake oil

      “I’d be upset if I only got three years out of the 900 CCA batteries my old car uses”

      I think it depends on where you live. Here in Phoenix, the heat kills batteries quickly. Id be satisfied if i got 3 years out of an average Cosco or NAPA battery. However, my friend near DC claims he gets 5+ years out of his batteries.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    Quickest fix would be a battery with a guaranteed 5-year lifespan… not cheap but you also don’t have to replace it as often. If the car is used in colder climates, get one with a lot of cold-cranking amps…650 to 750 amps should mean enough power to get through even the coldest winters.

    That said, I also have to point out that the car very probably needs an occasional longer drive, like that 200-mile run home about once a month; short trips simply don’t give the battery enough charge and the battery will eventually need a manual recharge. Since she’s in college, I would bet that her average drive is less than 5 miles and more likely only 2 to 3 miles. A sure drain of the battery because the engine hasn’t run long enough to recharge what it used in starting.

  • avatar
    ToddAtlasF1

    I agree with Sajeev that the longest warranty equals the best battery. They’re mostly made by the same suppliers anyway, and the longer warranty have better compositions. If there is anyone there who can replace the battery for her, then she could get one at Costco. They have the Interstate batteries with the long warranties for dirt cheap prices, but I don’t think their tire centers will install them for any amount of money. I could be wrong though. There are people who will tell you Interstates aren’t as good as they once were, but reality is that they’re the same batteries as anyone else will sell you with the same warranty.

    Since you said you did the timing belt, I’ll assume you have a V6 and that the dealer didn’t charge you to replace the timing belt on a timing chain K-series. The four cylinders are pretty much the pinnacles of durability, but the V6 ones of this vintage are completely capable of operating economically through their third timing belt. I’ve seen cosmetically rough ones sell for real money with 200K and a fresh belt and water pump service. With less than 100K miles, it has a greater life expectancy remaining than anything sitting new on a Honda lot today.

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    I have had batteries last longer than three or four years. In fact, the battery in my antique is ten years old and still good. I would say that the biggest thing is to clean the contacts and and also clean the top of the battery. Believe it or not, the top of the battery can conduct electricity. That is getting a bit anal but the point stands – keep it clean.

    A battery tender helps as well but if the car is being used every day, I think using the tender would be secondary to keeping the contacts clean. It is a pain to stay on top of but it makes a difference. Non-car people will groan but better that than getting the click-click when it is late November, dark and you just left work – and a storm is just starting.. Been there.

    • 0 avatar
      johnds

      I suspect a 2007 with 150k miles not being driven enough could lead to a 3 year failure. When my sister was in college she walked a lot and rode her bike, so the car sat for only occasional trips. the V6 Accord has a big battery compared to the tiny one in the I-4.

  • avatar
    TR4

    “The battery was replaced about 3 years ago, and the alternator and starter were checked and found to be ok.”

    When was the alternator and starter checked? 3 years ago? If so I would at least check the alternator charging voltage before getting a new battery.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      @TR4: Since the car is about 200 miles away from the OP, that might be a bit difficult. I’m more inclined to believe the car simply isn’t being run enough to keep the battery charged.

  • avatar
    pwrwrench

    I tend to be cynical about those battery “warranties”. I think the “3” year battery is pretty much the same as the “5” year one. Maybe different stickers or colors.
    The higher price gives the makers/sellers money to pay for the batteries that are replaced under warranty.
    As someone mentioned in a recent battery thread, “the problem of long life batteries has been solved by the manufacturers”.
    A few decades ago batteries were not considered ‘old’ until 8-10 years. Before that you would be looking for problems; lights left on, something drawing a lot of current when engine is off, charging system trouble and so on.
    In the last 20 years battery life has fallen to the 3 years, average mentioned.
    When my old beater van’s battery died, about a month ago, I checked and it was almost 5 years old. Wow, I’m stoked dude! However that van has almost no electronics to draw on the battery when the engine is off. Just the radio memory and a clock.
    All those gimmicks on ‘newer’ cars; lights that stay on for a minute after the engine is shut off, infotainment systems, power door and trunk locks, powered lift gates, etc. Make life harder for the battery. Any rechargeable battery, no matter what type of chemistry- lead/acid, Nimh, Lipo, Lion, or unobtainium, has a limited number of charge/discharge cycles that it can go through.
    It’s rare that a manufacturer will give you that info.
    Yes, keeping the battery charged will help with longevity. A plug in automatic 1-2 amp charger with a harness that can be left attached to the battery will be the easiest way. Of course you have to be near an AC outlet. There are solar chargers, but of course the sun has to be shining.

    • 0 avatar
      jack4x

      This is my understanding of it too.

      A battery is a battery, you can pay more for a longer warranty but the physical construction of a lead acid battery can only vary so much. You might get a few more rated CCAs on the more expensive one, but rarely enough to justify the extra cost on that alone.

      When I sold batteries, we got just as many of the “Gold” ones back as the “Silver” or “Basic”.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      While there are brands where the warranty length has nothing to do with the quality of the battery, (Exide cough cough) other brands do build a battery with more capacity for the longer warranty.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    1) As ‘Vulpine’ noted, if it is being used as her college car, it is probably sitting for extended periods in an outdoor lot, and then when used probably mostly for short urban trips with lots of stopping and starting and parking. So what it needs is a regular highway run.
    2) As TR4 noted, if you are replacing the battery then check, as best you can the alternator.
    3) Sorry if this sounds like an endorsement/ad, but in Canada the CAA offers battery replacement, as well as towing and battery charging. They will drive to where the vehicle is, check the battery and if it cannot be boosted, can drop in a brand new one, with a warranty. When my children got their licenses, the first thing I did was get them a CAA membership. I must assume that the AAA in the USA has the same type of service.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      And this CAA service is 24/7/365 pretty much anywhere but the most rural parts of Canada.
      So if your child experiences this problem while out of town/away at school, this reduces your worry.

      If in a northern climate, I also recommend a block heater to at least make cold starting less onerous.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    I can’t imagine having to replace a battery every three years, and I live in the upper midwest with hot and very cold seasons.

    That said, maybe the Honda has a very small battery tucked in one of those odd places.

    Our Nissan had a battery that needed replaced and it had a factory 7 year warranty (two year free, rest pro rata). The local dealer lied through her teeth (shocking, I know)and said it was a one year and after talking to the factory rep we did get it straightened out. It has a Delco in it because it has a good warranty and it was less than the discounted Nissan battery.

    • 0 avatar
      johnds

      This V6 Accord has a larger battery and it’s sitting right side of engine.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        Yup! Swapped the one in my 2000 Accord V6 out myself, IIRC!

        The left-front low-beam on the generation mentioned here? Let’s say that a dealer visit would have been worth the extra $$$ versus the effort required to DIY it! (With much, and LOUD, utterances of various obscenities an added feature!)

  • avatar
    pwrwrench

    Yes AAA in the USA will replace your battery and check the charging system. That’s a very good service for those that cannot do it themselves.
    The batteries that AAA sells are the same old, same old, just AAA stickers. About 5 years ago the S O called me from her work that her Mustang would not start. I was 20 miles away, also at work. Being the smart girl she is, she had already checked with AAA about the car and replacing the battery. I agreed that was the best at the time and the price was the same as Autozone, O’Really, Pep Boys.
    And of course that AAA battery quit about a year ago and was replaced with an identical ‘new’ battery with Autozone stickers.
    Also the AAA tech that changed the Mustang battery said that the alternator was not working correctly. I checked it later and found it okay. Same alternator is still in the Mustang.

    • 0 avatar
      SaulTigh

      Yes! For many reasons, a good AAA membership is a must when you send your daughters hundreds of miles away to school. My dad did that for me in college and never used it until one December he came to help me move (I graduated in July but didn’t secure a job until the end of the year). Weather changed right after he got to town and up came a big snow. Came out the next morning and my tire was flat. AAA tow company came and changed it, completely undeterred by the 8 inches of snow.

      When I got married, I joined myself so that my wife would have recourse if I wasn’t in town. In 8 years I’ve used it 3 times for towing and twice for flat tires. Always arrive in less than an hour. Well worth it.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      ..Also the AAA tech that changed the Mustang battery said that the alternator was not working correctly. I checked it later and found it okay. Same alternator is still in the Mustang…

      A lot of Accord alternators get replaced unnecessarily because the “professional” wrench does not know about the different charging profiles Honda uses…and they condemn a good alternator because they don’t understand why the variations in output voltage…

      • 0 avatar
        pwrwrench

        In the early days of electronic fuel injection the Germans were still using generators and mechanical relay type regulators.
        The quick check for bad regulator was to open a door with engine idling. If dome light was not steady bright, regulator was likely bad. Check with volt meter. The unsteady voltage would cause the F I system to work poorly or quit.

  • avatar
    jtk

    Anybody have any luck using a battery charger with the “recondition battery” setting?

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      jtk,

      I am convinced that chargers with “desulfation” mode work under the right circumstances.

      My two favorites:
      – “BatteryMINDer Model 2012”
      – “OptiMATE 6 Ampmatic”

      Based on an extended experiment with the 12V battery in my lawn tractor (because I don’t rely on my lawn tractor to get home – lol), I was able to ‘revive’ it and get an extra season out of it (probably could have gone longer, but went ahead and replaced the battery before discovering that I needed a new starter).

      I have also played around with some ‘leftover’ automotive batteries and deep-cycle batteries. If the battery is too far gone, it’s gone – but there is a point at which you can wake it up with a desulfator.

  • avatar
    MBella

    If the Accord in question is a 4 cylinder, I will provide an estimate some easy advice. Use a V6 battery. It will fit in the tray. The only modification required is the battery hold down. Either it has to be swapped with a V6 One, or you can straighten the bend for the 4 cylinder battery. The 4 cylinder battery on accords is a joke, and should be reserved for motorcycles. My dad went through the original and replacement 4 cylinder batteries in about 6 years. After the installation of the V6 battery, there has been no issues in another 7.

  • avatar
    jimmyy

    For a few months of my college years, I did auto batteries at Sears. What we saw was the longest lasting batteries were the mid-range batteries. It seemed that the highend batteries were so highly packed with plates and they did not seem to last … lots of failures.

  • avatar
    johnds

    We currently have 3 of these cars between my dad and I. My 2007 Accord I-4 has 209,000 miles, and my dad has a 03 V6 287,000 miles, and an 06 V6 with 180,000 miles. I can definitely find some with over 400,000 miles on them no sweat, so i would recommend a longer warranty battery as they don’t really cost that much.

  • avatar
    northeaster

    One way of doing it is buying 5 year warranty batteries from the local chain (Duralast has been mine lately) and reflexively replacing them at 5 years.

    I can’t see that waiting until they crap out, then getting stuck on the battery’s schedule and not mine would be much fun.

    In my adult life of 30+ years, I have never been stranded by one: YMMV, but I’ll keep doing this until something fails different.

  • avatar
    mmreeses

    2006 Accord still in the fleet with 177,000 miles: no breakdowns, routine maintenance, 1 tie rod-ball joint replacement (bad roads), rear drums lasted 150k miles.

    Battery died twice on me in the driveway both times around the 4 year mark. Intertubes say that the factory Accord battery size (51R??? random guess) is sized too small for the load.

    random youtuber recommending a DIY hack to bigger sized battery: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31AfdoQJItc

    To avoid any chance of being stranded, replace every three years regardless of the warranty/brand (nearly all US batteries are from the same few OEMs). Yes, overkill but IMO cheap insurance.

    Good luck Accord, still has plenty of miles left.

  • avatar
    55_wrench

    Funny thing about batteries, it’s almost like there is a mystery about when they will die and multiple stories about the best way to take care of them.

    We just sold our 2009 Xb with 49000 miles on it, and it had the original battery which spun the engine over just fine.

    That said, I think in all that time I only cleaned the terminals twice and ran it to full discharge leaving the lights on just once.

    Sometimes it would go 2 or 3 weeks without anyone driving it, so occasional use should have shortened its life but it didn’t.

    The other factor we can all agree on is that short battery life is due to weather extremes, and we’re in a temperate climate so that probably helped.

    But if you could find out who made that OEM Toyota battery that would be an excellent choice.

  • avatar
    Secret Hi5

    Does the battery’s date-of-manufacture matter? I know the warranty starts on the date of sale, but I’d hate to buy a “new” battery that’s been on the shelf for a year or more.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      A battery that has sat on the shelf for a year, and not periodically charged is junk. Always buy the freshest battery you can and if the place is selling batteries that are more than 3 months old find a new store.

  • avatar
    TCowner

    I have a Napa Gold on my old Mustang that will hit the 10 year mark next month. I know that is the exception….car is barely driven and on a battery tender all winter.

    • 0 avatar
      56BelAire

      I’ve used Interstate batteries for decades and feel they are the best battery out there. Back in the day Sears batteries also had a very good reputation.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Me too. I’ve used Interstate batteries ever since Sears DieHard died hard on me, at the most inopportune time.

        Interstate has never let me down.

        There are only a few battery makers that make all the batteries for various brands for the US domestic market, but the old Johnson Control-made Interstate batteries were great.

        However, Interstate batteries started making them in old Mexico these days, and I haven tried any of those yet.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    Yes battery brand does matter. Those manufactured by Johnson Controls are the longest lasting available in my area. Those manufactured by Exide are highly likely to fail at 2 or 3 years old w/o any warning due to internal shorts.

    So yeah go to Costco and get the Kirkland or Interstate or Walmart and get their mid to upper priced battery.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    I didn’t know they made a battery anymore that only lasted 3 years. I’d think even the cheapest battery would give you a minimum of 5 years, even in MN. Has the battery been checked? Maybe a door wasn’t closed fully and the dome light stayed on.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Try the auto batteries that Wal-Mart sells. Especially the cheapos. Some only last 24 months.

      I’ve helped people whose Wal-Mart battery showed 11.8 volts on a DVM, but had ZERO cranking amps under load.

      Internal leakage is the most likely culprit for early failure, IMO.

  • avatar

    Don’t know how true this is, but you used to get 5 years out of an OE BMW battery….but the replacements were good for three years. Supposedly this is because all US batteries are recycled to some extent, but the made in euro OE BMW batteries were virgin lead….

    I generally expect to buy a battery every three, I have found auto zone is good for warranty…I had one die at year 2.5, and they replaced it, but the warranty only lasted from the first.

    The only battery that ever lasted 5 years was my OE BMW battery in the 330i…..

    I buy the good one, if only for the extra warranty, and make sure I get the freshest one on the rack….

    • 0 avatar

      Also, as far as the Kid At School problem, I leased a Jetta for $187 per month…we didn’t know where she’d end up, and I knew that she was safe, and I’d not be remotely diagnosing a used car on the phone. It was a great idea, and the only non lease cost was one busted tire…so it was peace of mind for me. The car goes back in a few months, at mileage, and total out of pocket is less than buying used, keeping it running and turning it back over.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    I used to get batteries with a one year warranty and they would barely last that long. After three of them, I discovered the battery size was the bare minimum for my car. The preferred larger battery had a 3-year+prorated warranty and it has lasted for five years, with stronger cranking power, starting right up.

    After putting in a stronger battery with more cranking amps, my 15 year old starter failed. Fortunately, I got a replacement with a “lifetime” replacement guarantee. Whose lifetime, I dunno – me, the car, the clerk at the parts store? The bottom line is, get the right size battery!

  • avatar
    SaulTigh

    I use Walmart Auto Centers for two things: cheap batteries and cheap tires. If I spend $50 to $75 more for a “long life” battery, I’m assuming that it will both last longer than the cheaper battery, and that I’ll be driving the same car longer than the lifespan of the cheaper battery. That calculation never worked for me, as I could easily get hit and my car totaled the same day, or even 6 months or a year later, and I’m not getting my money back on that battery. I drive older vehicles, so a major component failure like a transmission would also likely send her to the scrap yard.

    My feelings on tires are much the same. I live close to work and split my mileage between two older cars. I’d much rather have compliant new rubber every few years than buy some 80,000 mile super tire that costs a lot of money but turns rock hard before I wear the tread out.

    I’m also driving common sedans with high production numbers. If you have a vehicle that requires a super special battery or expensive performance tires, your calculations likely differ.

  • avatar

    This generation of I4 Accord (I own one) comes with a type 51 battery. These are tiny.

    The best thing I ever did was to retrofit the battery tray from the V6 accord into my I4 Accord. I think the V6 takes the type 34. This battery has lasted much, much longer than the type 51 does, and does not cost ridiculously more.

    Order the parts from a dealer or get them from a salvage yard, and off you go. Just be sure, if you don’t do all your own battery replacements, that you make sure your garage knows you’re using the larger type 34.

  • avatar
    Opus

    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.

  • avatar
    starskeptic

    The original Mazda-branded battery in my ’02 Protege5 lasted 9 years – most of which was in Arizona…


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