It's time to figure out how to make your own Automotive Batteries

OttaMattaPia

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The reason being, it seems like everything else, car batteries are no longer made to last.....they are made to create a revenue stream. The magic number for the battery industry now seems to be 24 months. Any battery you buy, regardless of the so called warranty, is likely to fail around the 24 month period unless you spend twice as much and even then it's dubious. Great for CEO's....not so great for everyone else.

Even Optima batteries are now made in Mexico and a lot of complaints are pouring in. Those used to be THE DEFINITION of a good battery. No more.

There are only 4 major automotive battery manufacturers. Four companies make most of the car batteries. East Penn Deka, Johnson controls, AC Delco and Exide. Exide is going bankrupt and Johnson Controls (Kirkland, Optima and Interstate) moved to Mexico and their product has suffered.

On the other hand....some experts say battery quality hasn't changed...and THAT is the problem (not the batteries themselves). These "experts" say that it is the increased electrical demand newer cars place on batteries that is causing the short lives of modern Automotive batteries. Hmmmm....well maybe. I'm no expert but I do know the alternators actually handle a lot of the load and alternator output has risen dramatically as car technology has "improved"? So this claim seems a bit dubious to me.

To deal with the stampeed of warranty claims by disgruntled consumers who have the gall to actually expect their battery to last the stated lifetime for a given battery, big box retailers have come up with ingenuous ways to "handle" these silly consumers. The trick of choice is computerized tracking of serial numbers on batteries. Walmart for example. The problem with their system is that you are at the mercy of whatever their "system" says regardless of what you say. Having the original receipt may help, but even with a receipt, the computerized serial number system gives Walmart the ability to provide what it holds to be irrefutable proof that you are not entitled to the warranty you thought you paid for. How? Well, for one, if you do not have a receipt, they can easily say you already got a replacement battery "X" months ago....among other tricks. Believe me.....they have corporate strategy meetings specifically on how to handle you silly consumers who actually expect to get what you paid for.

And no matter what.....Walmart can ALWAYS claim "computer glitch" even if they were to be proven wrong....but who has time or money to prove them wrong?

I am of the opinion that we live in the era of greed. Where all manufacturers are focused on maximizing profits over all else. With automotive batteries, lead is the primary component and the density and quality of that lead is the difference. By using cheaper Chinese lead stock, or less dense lead, or less lead altogether, manufacturers can significantly cut their costs. At the same time, batteries took a major across the board hike in costs in 2015 when the price of automotive batteries skyrocketed nearly 100% across the board. Yet at the same time, more battery failures began to be reported.

Can we not figure out how to "roll our own" automotive batteries at this point?
(And if not, where the hell can one get a good battery that won't need replacing every 24 months?)
 
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fivemega

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There are many factors that can shorten lead acid battery life.
One of them is temperature.
I can't remember any of my car battery died before 5 years in southern California.
My uncle had a VW Bug many years ago and battery last 7 years.
I had a Datsun years ago and AC Delco last about 6 years.
My current car is 2007 Camry hybrid (9 and half years old) and factory installed battery is still doing well.


If you can, wrap the battery with proper insulation and park the car in warm place or garage.
Lead acid battery if don't see freezing point, will last long.
 

Lynx_Arc

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Around here batteries last between 3.5 and 5.5 years regardless of what is done I've not had one last 6 years most start losing power enough to not start in winter after 4 years. I think bigger alternators both help and hurt car batteries in that it does take the load off of batteries more but when you do drain them the higher current alternators charge the battery faster than lower current ones can thus heating them up more. I just recently replaced my battery a year and a half after the auto stores told me it was bad it wasn't holding a charge longer than a few weeks but I drove the car several times a week and it was starting the car well enough till a month or so ago finally it struggled to start my car they wanted me to buy a new battery but at $100 for a 3 year battery I got another $50 worth of use out of it. I've been told excessive heat damages batteries more than cold does even though starting cars is harder in the cold as long as they don't freeze usually the engine compartment keeps them warm enough once it warms up but has a hard time getting rid of the heat trapped in the battery in the summertime.
 

blankc72

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My wife's 2008 jetta still has the original enertec battery. My 2009 jetta got a new one (East Penn AGM last spring) but the original fell into disuse while I was out of the country and the car sat. The duralast gold battery in my 1972 Beetle is from 2007 and still going but it's located under the back seat away from any heat.
 

OttaMattaPia

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There are many factors that can shorten lead acid battery life.
One of them is temperature.
I can't remember any of my car battery died before 5 years in southern California.
My uncle had a VW Bug many years ago and battery last 7 years.
I had a Datsun years ago and AC Delco last about 6 years.
My current car is 2007 Camry hybrid (9 and half years old) and factory installed battery is still doing well.


If you can, wrap the battery with proper insulation and park the car in warm place or garage.
Lead acid battery if don't see freezing point, will last long.

I'm actually in an area where there's less cold weather annually than where you are. Although the summers here can get into the low 90's
Batteries many years ago were of better quality (I think). It was common even 10 years ago for a car battery to last MUCH longer.
Your Camary battery was both, part of the older, better batteries era and a factory battery. Two pluses.
Can manufacturers will force battery makers to supply them with batteries that will at least last through the dealer warranty period. The buyer pays for it in increased automobile prices.

If reducing the amount of lead makes the batteries lighter, think of the savings to the manufacturers and retailers in shipping costs alone.
We do live in an era of corporate objectives being maximization of profit as paramount. Car batteries are no exception.
That's why they move production to foreign countries for cheap labor. Also because people foolishly demand the lowest price.
 

jsd

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I just replaced the battery in a 2007 Camry non hybrid but it was done as preventive maintenance, not because the battery died. The battery was over 10 years old made by Panasonic. I bought a new battery from Costco and saw they have different batteries now. Costco batteries used to be branded Kirkland with 36/100 month warranty but now the batteries are branded Interstate and have 42 month warranty without a longer prorated period after.
 

Random Dan

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Last year the Optima red top in my car died. I cleaned off the date code and found that it was 15 years old. Similar thing with my dad's car a few years ago--red top finally gave out after 13 years. We tried replacing it with another red top but the new one didn't even last a year.
 

Lynx_Arc

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I just replaced the battery in a 2007 Camry non hybrid but it was done as preventive maintenance, not because the battery died. The battery was over 10 years old made by Panasonic. I bought a new battery from Costco and saw they have different batteries now. Costco batteries used to be branded Kirkland with 36/100 month warranty but now the batteries are branded Interstate and have 42 month warranty without a longer prorated period after.

I've heard interstate batteries are now junk compared to what they used to be. I bought a walmart battery recently as they have decent ratings and cost about 30% less than the auto store batteries with about the same warranty. I'm not sure it will last well as I've never bought them before I used to only buy diehard batteries but they got to be 30% more expensive then the auto store batteries and no better also Sears used to check your charging system for free if you had a diehard battery and that was worth paying a little bit more but they quit doing that and started charging to check your system unless you already agreed to buy a new battery. I will say that walmart service centers are almost a joke they can swap a battery out but when it comes to cleaning and repairing battery cables/terminals be sure to bring your own tools as I had one corroded post and bolt that they couldn't remove that I did with a pair of vice grips they did have a bolt to replace it.

My research (cursory) on batteries has shown that there is no longer any guaranteed good place to get a battery nor any guaranteed brand of battery as all of them have either switched to being made cheaply (in Mexico, etc) or fail prematurely or are way overpriced for seemingly "better" construction.
In the climate here about the only way you can get a battery to last much more than 5 years is to put your car in the garage and use limited climate control to keep it from getting too cold or hot when not driven and limit driving so as to not be stuck in traffic when it hits close to 100 stuck running the AC.
 

THE_dAY

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Unfortunately it is not just car batteries that have succumbed to planned obsolescence.

Started first with the light bulb, here is a great documentary on planned obsolescence if you have an hour to spare:
 

Bucur

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LR6k7Y.jpg
 

OttaMattaPia

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I could be mistaken but I thought Lithium Polymer (LiPo) batteries were pretty much top dog for stored energy per gram of weight?

But what a massive fire you'd have if it ruptured : - (

Back to regular car batteries...in many circumstances, I think cars have FAR more "capacity" than needed.
Let's say your car is in a warm climate and starts very easily. You don't need 600 cold cranking amps. Maybe 100 - 200?
So conceivably, couldn't you (in many situations) use a battery about 1/3 the size of the normal recommended 600 - 800CCA battery in situations where your car started right up?
 

Lynx_Arc

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I could be mistaken but I thought Lithium Polymer (LiPo) batteries were pretty much top dog for stored energy per gram of weight?

But what a massive fire you'd have if it ruptured : - (

Back to regular car batteries...in many circumstances, I think cars have FAR more "capacity" than needed.
Let's say your car is in a warm climate and starts very easily. You don't need 600 cold cranking amps. Maybe 100 - 200?
So conceivably, couldn't you (in many situations) use a battery about 1/3 the size of the normal recommended 600 - 800CCA battery in situations where your car started right up?
when it is cold and the battery is 3-4 years old you will need 1000 cranking amps as the battery will have aged and lost half its power and the cold will make your oil like molasses. Lipos even safe would cost you 1000 dollars for a car battery I figure and there is no guarantee that the weather would ruin it just as fast as a lead acid one.
 

Bucur

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I could be mistaken but I thought Lithium Polymer (LiPo) batteries were pretty much top dog for stored energy per gram of weight?

But what a massive fire you'd have if it ruptured : - (

Back to regular car batteries...in many circumstances, I think cars have FAR more "capacity" than needed.
Let's say your car is in a warm climate and starts very easily. You don't need 600 cold cranking amps. Maybe 100 - 200?
So conceivably, couldn't you (in many situations) use a battery about 1/3 the size of the normal recommended 600 - 800CCA battery in situations where your car started right up?

The "capacity" rating of a battery shows the amount of energy it stores. A 100 A/h car battery, for instance, has enough juice to deliver 100A for one hour or 1A for 100 hours. Cold Cranking Power rating, on the other hand, shows the maximum current it can deliver as a burst (I don't know the duration of the "burst" in question but it is a determined norm). As the name implies, CCA shows the cranking potential. Starter motors on internal combustion engines require much more current (amperes) than the rated capacity (ampere/hours) of the battery. If a diesel engine is in question, even more CCA is necessary due to higher compression (while the resistance that pre-heats the engine is also active).

Kindly note the capacity and the Ampere rating of the Porsche Li-Fe battery in question in the higher resolution pic, below. The capacity is only 18Ah, whereas it can deliver 480A in a burst. Therefore, it can crank a starter motor that requires up to 480A but even when fully charged; it cannot deliver more than 18A for an hour or 1A for 18 hours. The advantage of replacing the stock lead acid battery with this optional Li-Fe one is weight. The Li-Fe option is much lighter so as to help the power to weight ratio of the car in a race circuit yet, capable of cranking the starter motor. Only 18Ah is not sufficient for daily use (comfort/convenience oriented electrical loads can drain the battery real fast when the engine is off) but in motorsports, this does not matter.

H8ts18.jpg
 

MichaelW

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Hmmm, the EPA under Obama closed the last new lead smelter like two years ago. {I thought it was 1 February 2015}
It is about time that is rescinded.
 

bykfixer

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Batteries haven't changed all that much.

Cars have.




It's a stress thing.
The solution is in the casing... or like fivemega said... insulation would help.

I used to think that batteries were being built with less durability then one day my mechanic showed me the truth. The guy compared the engine bay of an old truck he was working on to the tightly packed bay of my Honda. He showed me with a temperature gun what was taking place and explained a bunch of chemestry stuff and how it all ties into batteries not holding up like they used to.

Any idea how much is being drained from the battery while the car is turned off these days? The computers, the clocks, the saved home entertainment center settings, the alarms, it's crazy. Then the alternator goes into rapid charge mode while trying to keep up with all those gizmos todays 4 wheeled appliances have.

I still get 4-5 years from batteries. Always have. Some factory ones have lasted a decade, but as a rule I get 4-5 years from replacements regardless of brand. I go for the best warranty and don't sweat it.
And I keep a battery box and jumper cables handy for those times when the inevitable failure occurs.
More times than not the battery tells you when it's about to fail. Sometimes you get a few weak starts. Sometimes you get 1. But in 35+ years of driving I've never had one fail without giving me at least 1 warning.

The whole corparate greed thing... nonsense! Our government has placed so many burdensome regulations on manufacturing that they either have to pay what amounts to racketeering protection dues or go to other countries.

Just ask anybody involved in the manufacturing business. Not the CEO's but the movers and shakers who keep the factory running. They'll shake their head and tell you how ridiculous our government here in the US has gotten from the local building inspector to the highest offices in DC. This year alone an average of 200+ federal regulations per day have already been implimented. If you put a regulation counting clock next to the federal deficit clock they'd likely appear to be changing at the same or similar rate.

I pitty any company trying to get started these days. They're done before they even begin.
So if/when my next battery says "made in Mexico" I won't be upset at the company that made it. I'll be upset with the Americans who keep voting for the same fools that got us into this mess.
 
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Lynx_Arc

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The "capacity" rating of a battery shows the amount of energy it stores. A 100 A/h car battery, for instance, has enough juice to deliver 100A for one hour or 1A for 100 hours. Cold Cranking Power rating, on the other hand, shows the maximum current it can deliver as a burst (I don't know the duration of the "burst" in question but it is a determined norm). As the name implies, CCA shows the cranking potential. Starter motors on internal combustion engines require much more current (amperes) than the rated capacity (ampere/hours) of the battery. If a diesel engine is in question, even more CCA is necessary due to higher compression (while the resistance that pre-heats the engine is also active).

Kindly note the capacity and the Ampere rating of the Porsche Li-Fe battery in question in the higher resolution pic, below. The capacity is only 18Ah, whereas it can deliver 480A in a burst. Therefore, it can crank a starter motor that requires up to 480A but even when fully charged; it cannot deliver more than 18A for an hour or 1A for 18 hours. The advantage of replacing the stock lead acid battery with this optional Li-Fe one is weight. The Li-Fe option is much lighter so as to help the power to weight ratio of the car in a race circuit yet, capable of cranking the starter motor. Only 18Ah is not sufficient for daily use (comfort/convenience oriented electrical loads can drain the battery real fast when the engine is off) but in motorsports, this does not matter.
Actually Ah isn't exactly that in batteries most car batteries aren't able to do their Ah rating in 1 hour but have higher CCA ratings and the deep cycle marine batteries can give higher amps over an hour but less CCA on them I believe. The Ah is probably better stated more like C/10 or 1/10 of the Ah for 10 hours. To be honest a 480CCA battery would be ok for a smaller engine but for the larger 4-5 liter engines it could find itself struggling in winter sometimes after a few years when it has lost some capacity in other words the battery aging would find itself unable to start the car a lot sooner than a battery with higher CCA to start with. I figure the big reason people would buy these very expensive batteries is for racing as they are considerably lighter and in that venue they don't require a battery to last more than a racing season without maintenance and replacement.
 
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