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Customs Are batteries just junk now?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by flynbrian48, Oct 17, 2023.

  1. flynbrian48
    Joined: Mar 10, 2008
    Posts: 8,319


    Yesterday I was going to go for an afternoon drive in my "new" '62 Impala. Got in, hit the key, the starter went, "CLUNK".
    I'd had the ignition on a couple days ago trying to get the brake lights and turn signals to work (the lights in the trunk lid had bad grounds, which makes for wonky lighting), so I thought maybe I'd just run the battery down and it hadn't been run enough to be charged up.
    So, I put my little charger on it, and in about 5 minutes, it fired right up. That seemed weird, but I let it run long enough that it'd idle (there's no choke on the Holley carb), and put the charger away. It stalled when I tried to back out of the garage, and then wouldn't start again.
    To make a long story short, I started checking, battery voltage 13+, I cleaned all the cables, ended up replacing the (new) Ford style remote solenoid, and it started right up again. So, I put the tools away, and once again, it wouldn't start.
    Not knowing what else I could do, I pulled the 6 month old, Wal-Mart 700A hour battery and headed to the local )'Rielley's. Sure enough, tested with a load, the battery showed a dead cell. Since the previous owner had bought the battery, there was no point in going to Wal-Mart (and I won't shop there for anything), I left with a new, $200 battery, which fixed it.
    I know this is anecdotal, but I've heard the same story LOTS lately. In fact, as I was leaving with the new battery, a guy was pulling a new battery with an "Interstate" label from his car, and said, "This was over $300 and it's 6 months old!".
    I'm not alone... DF57FF3A-E082-44E3-B28A-B4FB30DDCD23.jpeg 0C45A34D-8DCD-4D88-AF00-27619920B19F.jpeg
    oldsjoe, AHotRod, WC145 and 7 others like this.
  2. stanlow69
    Joined: Feb 21, 2010
    Posts: 7,348

    Member Emeritus

    They do sell one year warranty battery`s at Wally World. Meaning they are junk. Bought a battery a few years ago at O`Reilly`s (out of town and the only parts store i could find.). Went bad 6 months later. Went to our local O`Reilly`s and they said it`s one of those. Which meant it was a crap style of battery. They had a policy at their store if anybody sold one of those. They would get fired.
    427 sleeper and ClayMart like this.
  3. shorrock
    Joined: Oct 23, 2020
    Posts: 152


    As a dealer I order always several of the same items. When my vehicle did not start due to an old and finally dead battery I took a new one of the shelf only to find that it is dead either. The next one was no better and the third worked as expected. I guess there is almost no quality control anymore - the customer will complain or just buy a new item. Makes more profit probably...
    427 sleeper and Wanderlust like this.
  4. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 56,449


    I had a new (two months old) battery from walmart fail on me last year, just died suddenly...I was on the road, didn't have time to deal with the warranty, so I bought another one for $60 and put it in, then when I got home I got the dead one replaced for free. That's the first time I've had any trouble with walmart batteries, I've been using them for 20 years or so.

    I won't pay the extra $150 for a warranty for one of the other brands, seems kind of dumb if you're a frugal guy. Add up the number of batteries and that I replace them every five years because they're all tired by then, even if they still still start a car, they won't handle much load. You could spend thousands of dollars extra over the years for only the privilege of having to deal with warranty bs. The one that died suddenly is the only battery warranty I've had to deal with for decades.

    But the one that failed was from Korea, the ones that had been working fine were from Mexico. I have a few more of the Korea batteries now in cars, and they're still working fine.

    Any time I buy a car, I expect the battery was not well taken care of, and will need to be replaced. If they're allowed to run down from not being driven, it drastically shortens their life.
    clem, oldsjoe, AHotRod and 12 others like this.
  5. 19Eddy30
    Joined: Mar 27, 2011
    Posts: 2,446

    from VA

    If your problem is battery Only ,
    I replace quite a few Newer made batteries that are non-OEM brands,
    ( fleet)
    I would of spent the extra $50ish bought the Optima batteries , 5 year replacement Not prorated
    ( 5 yr From date on battery) if you do not keep / have receipts. I have a few 15 yrs old ,, & over the years only had a few not last the 5 yrs
    oldsjoe, RAK and flynbrian48 like this.
  6. Mike Lawless
    Joined: Sep 20, 2021
    Posts: 543

    Mike Lawless

    Seems batteries these days are a crap shoot. I've put three batteries in my Harley in the space of eight years. The one it came with lasted a couple years, and the first one I put in lasted just over a year. The second one, four years. I've put two in wifey's toyota in the space of four years. But then the one in my '12 Ram lasted seven years.
    So, I reckon you just pay your money and take your chances. Same as most hot rod parts.
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2023
    oldsjoe and 427 sleeper like this.
  7. dirt car
    Joined: Jun 26, 2010
    Posts: 1,116

    dirt car
    from nebraska

    Years ago, Firestone marketed a lifetime battery called the 'Forever' as long as it remained in the car originally installed, served me for 10 years, with one free replacement then taken off the market & replacements went with it.
    Joined: Nov 29, 2011
    Posts: 441


    I have had good luck with AC DELCO my oldest is stamped 2011 in my 57. Ran one down in my T,Bird a few weeks ago charged it all day on a slow charge works fine you get what you pay for.
    427 sleeper likes this.
    Joined: Feb 16, 2016
    Posts: 152


    I bought a battery for my OT Suburban from Sams because that is where it quit and I had no choice or miss an appointment after work. To my surprise it was made by Deka. It replaced a 3 year old Interstate that got me to work 4 hours earlier with no issues and it just died. Three years is not terrible, but 4 or 5 would be better. I do think that Deka/East Penn make very good batteries. I hear Optima is hit and miss but no personal experience. The Interstates I have had have been OK but not enough so to make me want to pay up for them. Delco OEM batteries seem pretty good, Motorcraft not so much in my experience. I have had decent luck with Oreilleys batteries. I have had poor luck with WalMart "Never Start" batteries.
  10. pirate
    Joined: Jun 29, 2006
    Posts: 1,065

    from Alabama

    Had the battery fail in our OT 2018 daily driver. Replaced it with an Interstate battery with warranty. Less then three months on new battery and it failed while out of town. We were with friends who had their car so pulled battery and took it to the local Interstate distributor. They replaced it without hassle but it was still a pain seeing we were out of town. Battery failed less than five months after manufacture according to sticker on battery.

    Also had battery purchased from Auto Zone for our gas motorhome fail within 14 months. I replaced it with an Interstate (Costco) also but really am not sure the more expensive batteries are worth the money.
  11. 19Fordy
    Joined: May 17, 2003
    Posts: 8,096


    I have found Walmart car batteries to be quite could and last for about 3 years.
    At the top of Walmart’s battery list is the EverStart Maxx. This high-tier battery can typically be found for less than $120, which is considerably more expensive than the other batteries on the list, but it does justify its cost. EverStart Maxx batteries are known to last more than five years, and Walmart offers a replacement warranty of three years for them.
  12. rusty valley
    Joined: Oct 25, 2014
    Posts: 3,886

    rusty valley

    Well, actually they should be twice as good as they now cost twice as much!
    reagen, 2OLD2FAST, 19Eddy30 and 2 others like this.
  13. flynbrian48
    Joined: Mar 10, 2008
    Posts: 8,319


    At $200 for a mid-grade battery, I'm gonna say I'm not sure "You get what you pay for" holds true.
    2OLD2FAST likes this.
  14. flynbrian48
    Joined: Mar 10, 2008
    Posts: 8,319


    That's what the one that failed was. So much for that...
  15. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 56,449


    Batteries need to be replaced regularly, like tires, gas, coolant, etc. Just put it on a schedule, and when you occasionally have to replace one early, don't sweat's just a part of playing with cars.

    If you look at the difference in quality between a $70 battery and a $200 battery, I'd be surprised if you could point to anything specific and say it's three times as good on the expensive one. It's marketing and a warranty you're paying extra for. I don't find any value in marketing and warranties, so I don't pay extra for them.

    But if you're a good consumer, you'll cough up the bucks. And still have to deal with the problems.
  16. 19Fordy
    Joined: May 17, 2003
    Posts: 8,096


    Price depends on the performance level, quality and warranty life of the battery you are buying.
    Sadly, everything costs more these days.
    Imagine what EV batteries will cost!!!!
    MMM1693, tractorguy and Ned Ludd like this.
  17. ekimneirbo
    Joined: Apr 29, 2017
    Posts: 4,423


    What I'm going to say may be technically incorrect.......but it seems to work for me. Having been someone who could just look at a battery and it would die, I've replaced my share of them.

    I think many times there is a slight drain on peoples battery and they never really operate at full capacity once they have gone dead. It seems that the "reconditioning" chargers which go thru an elaborate charging process help some, but even they don't seem to make a battery completely well. If you drive a vehicle regularly, I think it often masks that the battery is somewhat less than it should be........but serviceable.

    I buy AGM batteries now. Absorbant Glass Mat. They have the capability to be discharged hundreds of times and still come back to a full/ acceptable charge. They use them in mobility scooters. Recharging them should be done with a charger designed for AGM as well as standard wet cell batteries. Don't think you should apply "Start" voltage to one, but haven't had to try that so far. My mower went thru a battery evey year even though I kept it on a maintainer ALL the time. They aren't cheap either. I modified the battery mount and bought a full size car AGM battery and put it in the mower. Never failed all summer with nothing maintaining it. I'll probably put the smart charger on it before winter to check it and bring it to full charge if even needed, but way better than the Tractor Supply batteries of the past.
    Like I said, the key seems to be that they are designed to be deeply discharged and still come for now I'm going with them in my vehicles.
  18. Los_Control
    Joined: Oct 7, 2016
    Posts: 1,178

    from TX

    I have had good luck with walmrt batteries ... sure they are cheap but one lasted 6 years, then replaced it 2 years ago with same walmart ... my truck I replaced last year .... I admit yesterday it acted a little funny and need to check it out .... thinking my alternator may be going bad .... if it is the battery I will grab another from walmart.
    Around here my 2 local auto parts stores only sell interstate at $200 each .... no thank you.
    little red 50 likes this.
  19. A few years ago, I bought a new Sears "Die Hard". And it did die hard abut a week after I purchased it. The technician said I was supposed to add water. I said NO, that is your job to sell me a fully charged battery. He wasn't happy, but I was pissed off, but he gave me a new battery.
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2023
    427 sleeper and Tow Truck Tom like this.
  20. silent rick
    Joined: Nov 7, 2002
    Posts: 5,310

    silent rick

    i got 12-13 years from the battery that came in my 2006 OT truck. replacement from the auto zoo is going on it's 4th or 5th winter. have to use the battery, daily cycle, helps them last longer
  21. Dick Stevens
    Joined: Aug 7, 2012
    Posts: 3,750

    Dick Stevens

    I have had good service from Walmart Maax batteries, usually they have been good for well over 5 years in my cars. I had my old pickup serviced a couple of years ago at the local GM dealer and they told me that the battery din't load test as good as it should but I told them no on replacing it and it is still working just fine. I won't pay the higher prices for the "name brand" batteries when I have gotten as good service from the less expensive batteries!
    Edit; everything that is produced will have some that don't hold up, that is why they have warranties on them!
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2023
    Desoto291Hemi likes this.
  22. BJR
    Joined: Mar 11, 2005
    Posts: 10,089


    A friend of mine was in the battery business. He said all the batteries were made by about 5 different companies. He also said the 5 companies just put different labels on them for whoever is selling them, and they are all basically the same. The difference in price is the warrantee. Same with home water heaters, the difference in price is the warrantee, and I bet lots of other products also.
  23. Johnny Gee
    Joined: Dec 3, 2009
    Posts: 12,859

    Johnny Gee
    from Downey, Ca

    Been using WalMart batteries for years. Just replaced the one in my GMC truck that had been working for more than 5 years (2 year warranty unit). Would still going but since I barely drive it maybe once or twice a month since Covid. Seems batteries favor being friends with the alternator vs parasitic draw that today’s vehicles subject batteries to.
  24. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 56,449


    I replace them every 5 years, while they're still working, so I don't have to deal with them dying at 6 or whenever years. Having to take care of a dead battery is a pain.

    It's called Preventative Maintenance.
  25. Johnny Gee
    Joined: Dec 3, 2009
    Posts: 12,859

    Johnny Gee
    from Downey, Ca

    ^^^^^ Battery was still working, just didn’t have all it’s Wheaties at start up.
    Desoto291Hemi likes this.
  26. Got 14 years out of the battery on my parts hauler. Truck was new in 2000. OEM from Ford. It did however have a warming blanket so if the truck was parked in the battery slept all cozy. My new daily had the battery go out in less than 4 years. Parts guy I deal with was amazed it lasted that long. Yes, they are junk these days!

    Not sure what I am going to use in the 51 GMC
    silent rick likes this.
  27. 1971BB427
    Joined: Mar 6, 2010
    Posts: 8,847

    from Oregon

    I've never had any trouble getting a bad battery warranted if the date was punched out on top and I took it to the seller, even if I didn't buy the battery. Their only concern is that date on the purchase of the battery. I never keep receipts for batteries I've bought, and never had a return where they asked if I was the original purchaser.
    Not sure if batteries are better or worse, but any that have failed on my cars were all close to the end of their warranty, except one a few years ago. I had a fairly new battery mounted in the trunk of my '63 Falcon gasser. It had a battery kill switch, and I always pushed it off when parked. The car hadn't been driven in a few days, and I went out and turned on the battery switch, and hit the key, but it was stone dead. I pulled my truck up behind it to give it a jump, and opened the trunk. A foul smell hit me and one Hell of a mess! The battery had exploded, and done a melt down inside the trunk with nothing connected to it!
    My guess is the last time I drove it the cells inside had shorted, and likely close to when I got home, or it would have stranded me. It took a full day to neutralize all the acid, clean up the mess, and replace battery box, battery, and repair wiring. The seller replaced the battery, but pointed out the exemption in the warranty that stated they wont pay for peripheral damage from a bad battery.



    That's an Exide battery, sold under the local discount store's brand name. Exide has a local plant about 25 miles south of me.
  28. I think the entire world is having problems with ALL types of batteries to be honest.

    I recently bought a new thermostat for the furnace/ac and put in double-A batteries that use a bunny in their advertising. Within 4 months we had an issue with the thermostat. Opened up the thermostat and one of the two batteries was leaking (cleaned the mess, installed new batteries and luckily, it is functioning once again). Why not use the "copper top" batteries instead one might ask? We have already had the exact same issues with that brands double-A's too in a different item. I will not buy either brand ever again.

    I hadn't seen a leaking home use battery since I was a kid (when they got left in a flashlight for years) but within the last couple of years, I have come across several leaking "quality brand" batteries.

    As far as car batteries go, I am guessing it's a gamble regardless of brand so my only suggestion would be "keep your receipt/warranty card" handy :)
    FishFry likes this.
    Joined: Jun 3, 2005
    Posts: 10,314


    I miss my dear ol Exide batteries. I can't be a Wally World snob. Doesn't matter if it's Hanes or batteries or even rattle can paint. It's cheaper most every time. I could go across the street to Kohls and buy the same pkg of Hanes...for more than double the price. Exide used to make the Wally World batteries, maybe I need to look it up. WW Supertech oil specs out REAL well and again much lower price. Folks can point fingers all they want, it's my $$$. Back on point, yes most batteries are fkn junk now. Certain standards apply, use em or lose em, but they're still junk. I won't bore y'all with my usual Optima rant. Not in my cars. Interstate is hit n miss. I have a NAPA I use at the shop for utility and parts tests. Old as fuck but tests OK still. Crap game, which is a double hit. Roll of the dice, and crap products. Snake eyes...
    5window and gary macdonald like this.
  30. RmK57
    Joined: Dec 31, 2008
    Posts: 2,763


    I swap the biggest Motorcraft between two cars as it’s not worthwhile buying two separate batteries for cars that only get driven occasionally. I get pretty good life out of them, at least 7 years. Not sure who builds them for Ford, but there a pretty good product.

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