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Old 12-23-2010, 09:19 AM   #41
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Someone here (sorry too lazy to look it up now that this thread has had an extended life) mentioned those red "felt" washers that go around the battery post. Guess I never thought too much about it before but are those things good or bad. On the one hand if they neutralize the acid that somehow gets on top, they're useful for preventing the ground strap from getting chewed up.
On the other hand, it seems to me like a band aid that disguises a small leak around the battery post so that it could then get larger w/o you noticing? before a more catastrophic failure.
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Old 12-23-2010, 09:49 AM   #42
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Originally Posted by kaneohe View Post
Someone here (sorry too lazy to look it up now that this thread has had an extended life) mentioned those red "felt" washers that go around the battery post. Guess I never thought too much about it before but are those things good or bad. On the one hand if they neutralize the acid that somehow gets on top, they're useful for preventing the ground strap from getting chewed up.
On the other hand, it seems to me like a band aid that disguises a small leak around the battery post so that it could then get larger w/o you noticing? before a more catastrophic failure.
I've use vaseline (also used WD-40) to coat the battery posts/connectors. Here's a link from ehow, they mention the felt and petroleum jelly:

How to Protect Car Battery Posts From Corrosion | eHow.com
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Old 12-23-2010, 11:20 AM   #43
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Optima is a totally different construction/technology for auto batteries. They are very expensive, very rugged and popular for extreme conditions (i.e. off-roading).
I sure hope they're as rugged as they advertise. I put an Optima in our Prius mainly because I don't want to have to do it again for at least 6-8 years.

The Prius, similar to the Miata, also has a trunk-mounted 12v battery. It has a little vent tube hooked up to direct gases to the fender well.
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Old 12-23-2010, 11:11 PM   #44
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I have heard of a few 'miracle' batteries lasting over ten years.
huh if you read my comments my battery is at least 15 years old, probably 1 or 2 more.
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Old 12-23-2010, 11:36 PM   #45
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huh if you read my comments my battery is at least 15 years old, probably 1 or 2 more.
I'm not doubting you, I was just saying 10 years or more is very rare for a standard car battery. -ERD50
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Old 12-24-2010, 05:44 PM   #46
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absolutely, this is why i just had to talk about my battery. it's like the energizer bunny!
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Old 01-01-2011, 10:57 AM   #47
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I'm not doubting you, I was just saying 10 years or more is very rare for a standard car battery. -ERD50
Although chronological life is generally the standard for measuring battery "goodness," the number of draw-downs/re-charges is really key. A battery stored fully charged and then given a periodic, gentle top off charge will almost always last many years. A battery drawn down to dead or near-dead and then fast charged repeatedly might have a life measured in months or even weeks.......
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Old 01-01-2011, 11:01 AM   #48
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I had no idea car batteries were only supposed to last 3-5 years. My Dodge factory issued one lasted 9.5 years/120K miles!
Still have the original in my '02 Mustang GT vert. Of course, it only has 18k on it (no, nothing has been replaced, including the driver thus far ).

I'll sell it as soon as my legs give out (it has a "heavy" clutch)...
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Old 01-01-2011, 11:47 AM   #49
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Most lead-acid batteries last 3 - 6 years. High heat will shorten their life due to overactive chemical action. Heavy draw (starting in extremely cold weather) is rough on them due to lower chemical action.

OP, when you replace your battery, you could coat the battery terminals and posts with a thick grease such as vaseline. This will seal and retard the corrsion on the cables.


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My Miata's original battery died last week after 10.5 years. The original is no longer available, so now I have a generic battery at half the cost.
I replaced the original battery in my '97 Miata in 2008. It cost close to $100 to get another gel battery (WestCo) similar to the original. Lead-acid batteries (lower cost) can be a problem in the trunk area due to corrsion.
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Old 01-01-2011, 12:55 PM   #50
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I replaced the original battery in my '97 Miata in 2008. It cost close to $100 to get another gel battery (WestCo) similar to the original. Lead-acid batteries (lower cost) can be a problem in the trunk area due to corrsion.
+1

I'm ordering the WestCo battery this morning, to replace a dead one made in April 2000. I got plenty of life out of the old one. The battery is an absorbed glass mat design, not really gel, but this has the same effect, avoiding a big ole sloshing bucket of sulfuric acid in the trunk.

The old battery has no corrosion on the terminals, and looks brand new (except for the dust coating the top), but it just doesn't hold much of a charge any more.
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Old 01-04-2011, 07:55 PM   #51
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Kaneohe:

Check out Consumer's Reports. Every year there is a issue that covers batteries.

Walmart seems to be pretty good and cheap.

Not sure if they install.



Consumers tests many batteries so check out the magazine.
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Old 01-05-2011, 01:03 AM   #52
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People here mention installation as a factor, but why is installing a car battery a big deal?
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Old 01-05-2011, 01:23 AM   #53
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People here mention installation as a factor, but why is installing a car battery a big deal?
Dunno, even DD has done it (but DW would never try)
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Old 01-05-2011, 08:03 AM   #54
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People here mention installation as a factor, but why is installing a car battery a big deal?
It can get quite interesting if you short a wrench from the positive terminal to the car body, particularly if it has just been charged.

Not that anyone here would do so, even accidentally.
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Old 01-05-2011, 08:10 AM   #55
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People here mention installation as a factor, but why is installing a car battery a big deal?
In most cars it is no trouble, but in some cars it is a PITA. Due to space constraints or a desire to distribute weight optimally, some cars have the battery tucked into very inaccessible places. In some cases a front wheel has to be removed to get at it, sometimes it's under an access hatch inside the interior trim of the car, etc.
I don't buy cars configured this way.
My FIL owned a Mercury Bobcat that required the AC compressor to be removed in order to change one of the spark plugs. You can guess how often that spark plug got changed.
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Old 01-05-2011, 08:39 AM   #56
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I used to have a 2000 Dodge Intrepid, and I replaced its battery when the car was about 5 1/2 years old. It had about 105,000 miles on it by then, and I was about to take a trip down to Florida, so I wanted to take precautions. The battery still worked fine, but I figured if it was going to act up, that would be the time to do it, 1000 miles from home.

The battery in that car was buried in the lower front right fender, ahead of the wheel. I had to take the tire off, and an access panel in the wheel well to get to it! I think the whole ordeal too me about two hours. I swore that I would get rid of that car before it came time to replace its battery again! Unfortunately, I think I jinxed myself, because a few weeks after the car had its 10th birthday, someone pulled a hit and run on it in a parking lot, and totaled it!

Years ago, I replaced the battery in my Granddad's 1994 Taurus. Probably about the easiest battery replacement I ever did....something like 5 minutes. And I was impressed that the radio actually had some kind of internal backup, so it kept the time and all the presets. Not so with my Intrepid.
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Old 01-05-2011, 08:47 AM   #57
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It can get quite interesting if you short a wrench from the positive terminal to the car body, particularly if it has just been charged.

Not that anyone here would do so, even accidentally.
Very easy to do on old Pontiacs, where they put the battery real close to the front ahead of the wheel well, and it's sort of tucked in under the bulkhead that runs across the front of the car, and smack upside the inner fender. You have to rock the battery a bit to get it out. I've made sparks fly a few times with my '67 Catalina, and '76 LeMans, when swapping batteries.
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Old 01-05-2011, 08:52 AM   #58
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People here mention installation as a factor, but why is installing a car battery a big deal?

Quote:
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It can get quite interesting if you short a wrench from the positive terminal to the car body, particularly if it has just been charged.
Absolutely. Most people just can't grasp how much energy is in a battery. Think of it as a bomb, filled with shrapnel and sulfuric acid, because that is what it is. As travelover says, it can be pretty easy to trigger that bomb.

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Dunno, even DD has done it (but DW would never try)
But did DD do it safely? My SIL 'brags' about how she used to jump everyone's cars with hers all through college. But she didn't know the correct process to ensure safety. Luckily (and that is all it was), she never had an accident. I know a guy that had a battery blow up in his face. Luckily, there was a garden hose nearby, and someone with enough knowledge and presence of mind to turn it on and flush the acid from his face. He could not have found the spigot in his state and with his eyes shut tight as the acid was burning his eyes. I have yet to hear someone describe the correct step-by-step process for jumping a car, even the person I know that is very detail and process oriented got one step wrong. Getting a step wrong doesn't mean you will create a problem, but it does mean you just added an opportunity for 'excitement'.


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In most cars it is no trouble, but in some cars it is a PITA.
And regardless of the potential danger, and even if it is a routine install, it is kinda nice to have someone do it. I had it done once, car was in the shop and needed it (failed the load test), they quoted me a good price on the battery, so I said yes, just do it. I'm not sorry, even though I've done the rest myself - you risk acid burns on your clothes, you've got to haul the core back to the store. It's not hard, but it's not really fun either.

-ERD50
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Old 01-05-2011, 10:05 AM   #59
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It can get quite interesting if you short a wrench from the positive terminal to the car body, particularly if it has just been charged.

Not that anyone here would do so, even accidentally.
Not really. The proper way to remove/install a battery is to disconnect the ground post (usually, but not always, the negative terminal) first and to connect it last. No sparks fly now.

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As travelover says, it can be pretty easy to trigger that bomb.



But did DD do it safely?
Well, she has been taught the proper way to do it.
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And regardless of the potential danger, and even if it is a routine install, it is kinda nice to have someone do it.
Can't argue with that
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Old 01-05-2011, 11:12 AM   #60
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I have a Monte Carlo that had a brace from the strut tower at an angle to the front... right over top of the battery...


When I took it to Wally World to get replaced... they told me 'we do not do that car'.... and my reply was 'the battery in the car IS from Wally World and it is under warranty'.... he went to look and then changed it...

I think the ones that take a long time to change they either charge you or will not do anymore...


Edit to add: You can fix a lot of the jumping problem with the new jumper cables that have electronics in the middle... you do not have to worry about red to red, which order etc. We just jumped my mothers car last weekend and it worked just great... I just wish it were a few feet longer so I could do it parked behind her car....
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