Thanks for various responses.
By way of answering some of my own questions, I humbly
All car batteries aren’t created equal. A battery’s size, rated
capacity, and its age help determine how it will perform.
The time to think about buying a new auto battery is before the old
one fails. Once you’re stranded by a dead battery, you probably won’t
want to spend time shopping around for another. At the first sign that
your current battery is growing weaker, have a garage perform a “load
test” to see if it’s holding a charge properly. If it isn’t, find a
Most auto batteries are made by just three manufacturers, Delphi,
Exide, and Johnson Controls Industries. Each makes batteries sold
under several different brand names.
Delphi makes ACDelco and some EverStart (Wal-Mart) models. Exide makes
Champion, Exide, Napa, and some EverStart batteries. Johnson Controls
makes Diehard (Sears), Duralast (AutoZone), Interstate, Kirkland
(Costco), Motorcraft (Ford), and some EverStarts.
Service centers such as Firestone, Goodyear, Pep Boys, and Sears tend
to have a large, fresh inventory and relatively low prices. They also
handle installation. Stores such as Kmart, Target, Trak Auto, and
Wal-Mart may have the lowest prices, but not all of them can install a
battery for you. Installing a battery yourself is not technically
difficult but it can be cumbersome and you have to dispose of the old
battery properly. Service stations and tune-up shops sell batteries as
well, and they offer convenient and comprehensive service, but their
selection tends to be limited and their stock may not be fresh. For
cars and trucks still under warranty, a franchised dealer is your
first choice, particularly if the vehicle warranty covers the battery.
For older vehicles, though, a dealership is probably the last
resort--it’s the most expensive service venue. The two most crucial
factors in choosing a battery are its “group size” and “cold-cranking
amps,” or CCA.
Group size. A group size defines the battery’s outside dimensions and
the placement of the terminals on them. For instance, group size 75
fits mainly General Motors cars. Size 65 applies to most large Ford,
Lincoln, and Mercury products. Newer Hondas, Nissans, and Toyotas use
size 35. Most Chryslers use 34. You’ll also see combinations like
34/78, which has two sets of terminals and will fit either Chryslers
or some GM models.
Choose the group size recommended by your car’s manufacturer.
(Reference guides at places where batteries are sold can tell you
which group size your car needs.) The wrong size may not fit securely.
Cold-cranking amps. CCA is a measure of a battery’s ability to start a
car in cold weather, when thickened engine oil and slowed chemical
reactions make starting hardest. CCAs denote how much current the
battery can deliver to the starter at 0° F. Don’t confuse CCA with CA,
which stands for Cranking Amps. That’s a measure taken at 32° instead
of 0° and is typically much higher than the CCA rating.
Reserve capacity is another important measure of battery quality. It
indicates how many minutes your car might run using the battery alone,
should the car’s alternator fail. You may have to check product
literature rather than the battery’s labeling to find the reserve
Buy a fresh battery--one manufactured less than six months earlier.
Batteries are stamped with a date code, either on the battery’s case
or an attached label. The vital information is usually in the first
two characters--a letter and a digit. Most codes start with the letter
indicating the month: A for January, B for February, and so forth. The
digit denotes the year--say 0 for 2000. For example, B3 stands for
Like CA ratings, battery warranties can sound better than they are.
You’ll see two numbers: one for the total warranty period and one for
the free-replacement period (usually three months to three years). The
free-replacement period is key. If the old battery fails after this
period expires, you get only a prorated credit toward a new battery.
HOW TO CHOOSE
Check the battery group size and CCA for your vehicle. Not every brand
comes in every CCA level. To get the brand you want, you may need to
go a bit above your car’s CCA requirements.
Steer clear of batteries with a CCA rating below the one specified for
your vehicle, as well as those rated 200 amps or more higher than the
specified rating. It’s a waste of money to go too high. Buy a battery
with the longest reserve capacity you can find. If it’s not printed on
the battery (and it usually isn’t), ask store personnel or check
product literature. Should your car’s charging system fail, a longer
capacity can make the difference between driving to safety and getting
For the latest information on this and many other products and
services, visit www.ConsumerReports.org
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ConsumerReports.org FREE for 30 days.
All of the above text is provided by Consumers Union. Yahoo! disclaims
any liability for the content provided above.
Right now, a Delphi EverStart ~650 CCA for reasonable $ sounds good
('tho I hate WalMart and to date have (lifetime) spent less than
$10 with them).
is offline, so I cant get
any info ...
On Mon, 14 Nov 2005 20:31:30 GMT, Puddin' Man <Pudding.Man@Gmail.Com>
>Re: '94 Boid: Battery
>I belong to '94 Tbird LX V8, 61K miles. 'Tis "El Chicken of
>Got a Die-Hard Silver in 1999. Wondering if it'll make it
>thru the winter. A battery failure in the dead of winter
>could be a hardship.
>Last time I looked ('99), a battery test didn't necessarily
>mean much. To what extent is it practical to test a 6-yr-old
>Local Ford dealers have "Genuine Motorcraft Tested Tough
>Plus" 84-month 650 CCA for $65, which seems kinda
>reasonable. Anybody know who makes this battery? Who is
>"Motorcraft" nowadaze (I've often wondered)?
>Best to just replace it or should I get it tested first?
>I'm strapped for $.
*** Puddin' Man PuddingDotMan at GmailDotCom ***