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Get Energizer. Oi!

The past week I've occasionally had some minor trouble starting my car, and since my battery was 4 years old, I decided to go ahead and replace it, even though it probably had a bit of life left.

I'd been hearing good things about Optima batteries, so I ended up buying one of their Red-Tops.  Optima batteries cost about 50% more than any other brand ($130 for the 34/78), but their coil-cell design is supposed to last at least twice as long as traditional plate-cell batteries.  And the grey and red "6-pack" case looks really cool.  :)

It would have taken an hour (and $6) for Pep-Boys to replace the battery for me, so I decided to do it myself.   I mean, how hard could it be?

I discovered just how hard it could be, if you don't have some special tools.  The battery on the Caprice is held in place by a single bolt, but it's located about 8 inches down between the battery and the coolant surge tank.  There's only about 2 or 3 inches between the two, the absolute minimum space needed to operate the ratchet on a socket wrench.  It took a lot of work to get the battery off, and almost as much to put it back on.

Then I discovered that the battery they sold me was the smaller of the two sizes available for my car.  The difference between the two was only $10, but the bigger battery had a whopping 20 minutes more reserve capacity and 90 more cranking amps.  So it was back over to Pep Boys to exchange the battery.

This time, I also picked up a long extension bar for my socket wrench, so reinstalling the battery the second time around was an absolute breeze, taking me under 5 minutes.

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altivo
Jun. 4th, 2006 01:55 am (UTC)
Batteries. Now that's something that always puzzles me. People buy batteries every 3 or 4 years, it seems, because their cars won't start any more on the old one.

Yet, my present car has been running for nine years on the original battery and still starts fine. The one before that I had for eight years and again, never a thought of replacing the battery. Come to think of it, only once, back in 1972, have I ever replaced a car battery. And I live in a cold weather zone too. I have no idea what my magic juju is, though.
captpackrat
Jun. 4th, 2006 03:53 am (UTC)
The original battery (Delco) lasted about 8 years before it pooped out literally overnight. It worked fine the night before, the next morning it was totally dead.

I replaced it with an Everstart Maxx from Wal*Mart, on the advice of the tow truck driver. That was about 4 years ago, so it did manage to outlive its warranty.

I've seen some web pages claiming that the Optima Red-Top batteries can last up to 12 years, though if it lasts for half that, I figure I'll have made up the higher cost.
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