Quality of AAA car batteries

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I am AAA member and was thinking of having them come replace my Toyota Sienna car battery. I'm a bit worried though that they might use a crappier battery than if I went to the Toyota dealership. Also should I be worried that the AAA-branded battery might not be optimized for use with Toyota electronics and thus might shorten the lifespan of electronic components?

Nooo, it won't shorten the life of electronics. Have you read too much Monster Cable ads?

Most battery comes out the same manufactors anyway, just get the best deal you can.

TrueValue said:   I am AAA member and was thinking of having them come replace my Toyota Sienna car battery. I'm a bit worried though that they might use a crappier battery than if I went to the Toyota dealership. Also should I be worried that the AAA-branded battery might not be optimized for use with Toyota electronics and thus might shorten the lifespan of electronic components?Starter batteries (the kind you want) aren't optmized, except to be designed to put out ~12V at enough amps to crank the engine, and auto electrical systems are so poorly regulated (25% variation is normal) and noisy that the vehicle's electronics are designed to tolerate this, or they have their own filters and regulators.

Toyota has bought starter batteries from several sources, including Yuasa, Panasonic, Delco, and Johnson Controls, and JC is the leading battery maker in the world, producing several brands. Basically, all car batteries are about the same, unless you buy one of those ~$200 sealed ones from Exide (Optima) or Deka/East Penn. I don't know what Toyota dealers charge, but AAA lists their batteries (probably JC because AAA says they're low maintenance, and almost every other manufacturer makes no maintenance) for $125 ($25 extra for non-members), and they're probably just like the Johnson Controls batteries you can get at Wal-Mart, Sears, Advance Auto, Autozone, Costco, or O'Reilly's for $80-$100.

larrymoencurly said:   TrueValue said:   I am AAA member and was thinking of having them come replace my Toyota Sienna car battery. I'm a bit worried though that they might use a crappier battery than if I went to the Toyota dealership. Also should I be worried that the AAA-branded battery might not be optimized for use with Toyota electronics and thus might shorten the lifespan of electronic components?Starter batteries (the kind you want) aren't optmized, except to be designed to put out ~12V at enough amps to crank the engine, and auto electrical systems are so poorly regulated (25% variation is normal) and noisy that the vehicle's electronics are designed to tolerate this, or they have their own filters and regulators.

Toyota has bought starter batteries from several sources, including Yuasa, Panasonic, Delco, and Johnson Controls, and JC is the leading battery maker in the world, producing several brands. Basically, all car batteries are about the same, unless you buy one of those ~$200 sealed ones from Exide (Optima) or Deka/East Penn. I don't know what Toyota dealers charge, but AAA lists their batteries (probably JC because AAA says they're low maintenance, and almost every other manufacturer makes no maintenance) for $125 ($25 extra for non-members), and they're probably just like the Johnson Controls batteries you can get at Wal-Mart, Sears, Advance Auto, Autozone, Costco, or O'Reilly's for $80-$100.


thanks for the info, I think I'll go with the AAA battery. What's the difference between low-maintenance vs. no-maintenance? What kind of maintenance is needed on AAA low-maintenance battery? Thanks

i dunno as much as LMC about this. just wanted to get that out of the way.

when i need a battery, i always go to Sears and get a diehard. they have good deals, it's easy to replace, and if you have a problem within a certain amount of time they go out and help you with it if it's the fault of the battery. they have gold or silver labels determining the level of coverage you get.

i just bought one for my car and one for my gf's, by coincidence. i'll typically go with a slightly higher rating than OEM. i replace them every 3 or 5 years (depending on the month rating of the battery) and i never have a problem.

I knew Toyotas were crappy cars, but do they seriously run on a AAA battery? Couldn't they at least splurge and use 9V batteries instead??

my original battery installed by Toyota looks like it has vent caps, does that mean it's unsealed? Do I have to get another unsealed one to replace it or should I try to get a sealed maintenance-free one?

Despite whatever is currently in your car, get a sealed battery.

TrueValue said:   What's the difference between low-maintenance vs. no-maintenance? What kind of maintenance is needed on AAA low-maintenance battery? ThanksNo-maintenance batteries never need water added to them, while low-maintenance batteries need to be checked and filled about every 3 months because the antimony in their lead alloy plates causes them to decompose the water into hydrogen and oxygen gases (almost all water is lost that way, not through evaporation). OTOH low-maintenance batteries can survive about 6 accidental deep discharges, such as when the headlights are left on overnight, while most no-maintenance batteries can be ruined if that happens just 1-2 times.

Low-maintenance batteries always have removable caps, but so do the vast majority of no-maintenance ones. Also the vast majority of no-maintenance batteries without removable caps, like Delco/Delphi/Deka-East Penn, aren't really sealed but have vents that are always open to the outside, meaning the battery has to be kept vertical at all times or it will leak acid out its vents.

The only truly sealed batteries are Exide Optimas (they look like a 6-pack of cylinders) and Deka/East Penn Intimidators, the latter also sold as Sears Diehard Platinums. These have all the electrolyte absorbed in fiberglass matting so they can't drip and therefore can be stored and operated in about any orientation, and they really are sealed, except for an emergency vent that opens only if excessive internal pressure builds up (the only prohibited orientation is upside down, because if the vent opened it could spew acid). These sealed batteries tend to have the very long warranties and cost roughly $160-$220, unlike the AAA batteries that sell for $125-150 but should sell for $90.

dw got a new battery from the dealer. we paid $150 for the sienna. then when the battery died 20 months later, i went to get it replaced under warranty. i was charged another $95. goto costco or Sears. i got a WalMart battery for my other car, the leads have corrded so much in such a short amount of time.

Costco is the place to get a battery. Best price and good warranty. When the car is running the electronics draw power from the alternator, the battery is used mainly for starting the car.

Hmmm...apparently I should go add some distilled water to my battery

JorgeBurrito said:   Hmmm...apparently I should go add some distilled water to my batteryYou'll get a wet flashlight.

bobbybore said:   Costco is the place to get a battery. Best price and good warranty. When the car is running the electronics draw power from the alternator, the battery is used mainly for starting the car.

Does Costco's return policy apply?

Heh

Did you buy a battery yet?

MajorDarkside said:   Did you buy a battery yet?

Only if you're paying

DenverDiver said:   MajorDarkside said:   Did you buy a battery yet?

Only if you're paying


I've got some spare AAA batteries laying around in the junk drawer if you need one.

DenverDiver said:   MajorDarkside said:   Did you buy a battery yet?

Only if you're paying


Sure, but all I have is a cashiers check. Would you mind wiring the change to my friend?

Just borrow the one from the tv remote. Thats what I usually do when they run out.

larrymoencurly said:   
The only truly sealed batteries are Exide Optimas (they look like a 6-pack of cylinders) and Deka/East Penn Intimidators, the latter also sold as Sears Diehard Platinums. These have all the electrolyte absorbed in fiberglass matting so they can't drip and therefore can be stored and operated in about any orientation, and they really are sealed, except for an emergency vent that opens only if excessive internal pressure builds up (the only prohibited orientation is upside down, because if the vent opened it could spew acid). These sealed batteries tend to have the very long warranties and cost roughly $160-$220, unlike the AAA batteries that sell for $125-150 but should sell for $90.


Being a technology person last year I splurged for a Optima battery paying the premium because I wanted to invest in a battery that would last a long time. Just 11 months later it was dead, as in it wouldn't hold a charge. Over the course of 2 days it went from being able to start the car, to not even able to crank the starter once. This was even with me putting it on an external charger at night. I'll grant you these were some very cold days of 3 or 4 degrees outside.

I was able to get a free replacement from my place of purchase, but the idea that I was getting a higher quality product for the price went out the window. Check reviews of Optima batteries. I find I'm not alone in early death. I won't bother paying the premium again and just go with the cheap "silver" grade battery in the future.

elist said:   Being a technology person last year I splurged for a Optima battery paying the premium because I wanted to invest in a battery that would last a long time. Just 11 months later it was dead, as in it wouldn't hold a charge. Over the course of 2 days it went from being able to start the car, to not even able to crank the starter once. This was even with me putting it on an external charger at night. I'll grant you these were some very cold days of 3 or 4 degrees outside.

I was able to get a free replacement from my place of purchase, but the idea that I was getting a higher quality product for the price went out the window. Check reviews of Optima batteries. I find I'm not alone in early death. I won't bother paying the premium again and just go with the cheap "silver" grade battery in the future.


I've also read the Optimas are not living up to their hype.



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