Optima Car Battery Review and Guide

The optima brand is long known to be one of the highest rated batteries in the industry. Optima car battery reviews are everywhere, and the overwhelming majority of them are favorable. So much technology goes into the batteries and that makes them costly- but also worth it. It doesn’t matter if you have a car, truck, van, RV, or yacht. These batteries can start each one of them with ease. Unlike some batteries, Optima merged new and older technology into one battery to create what most mechanics think of as the perfect duo AGM and Spiralcore technology. The spiral core allows more plate area to have a stronger battery and the AGM to hold the electrolytes like a sponge. Add to the virtually spill proof container and this battery is built for hard work and longevity.

Type

Best Used For

Features

YELLOWTOP

  • Cars
  • Trucks
  • Vans
  • SUVs
  • Deep cycle and cranking power
  • Twice the life of other batteries
  • Spill proof
  • 300+ discharge/recharge cycles

REDTOP

  • Trucks
  • Street Rods
  • Vehicles with many power consuming electronics
  • All the features of the YELLOWTOP
  • Five second starting burst
  • Faster recharge

BLUETOP

  • RV
  • Motorhomes
  • Other vehicles with high draining electronics
  • Vehicles with high power stereo systems
  • All the features of the YELLOWTOP and BLUETOP

 

The Optima brand combines the strength of a truck battery, the needs of a street car battery, and the technology needs of newer electronic-filled cars and trucks. When you look at the battery compared to other high-end batteries, the Optima battery is the best you can buy. These batteries are expensive, but you get what you pay for with any Optima car battery.

Optima Car Battery Review

Where to Buy

Since this is an aftermarket battery, there are many different places you can buy them. The most convenient option is to just order one online from Amazon. On their website you can find the correct battery size by using the filter tool. This tool makes the process really easy and simple. You can also find these batteries in many auto parts stores, since it’s a popular and well-established brand. Overall you should not have any trouble finding an Optima battery to purchase.

Expensive But Worth It

All batteries do the same thing- they provide power to electronics to make them turn on. What makes a good battery is how fast it can charge, how long it lasts in the short run and long run, the overall quality of the battery, and how well it’s built. Over the length of my mechanic career, I can tell you that these batteries are nothing to play with. They are expensive, almost double the price of a lesser battery. When you think about that, they are a bit of a turn off. However when you look at what all they can do, and how well they can do it, the price seems like a bargain. The optima car battery will you give you the confidence that your vehicle will crank every time, regardless of what region of the country you are in.

Everstart Car Battery Review and Guide

Just as Sears has DieHard, WalMart has EverStart. This brand is better known for the same benefit that WalMart is known for- buying on a budget. This brand does have the ability to start a car and truck but it is still a budget brand. In most cases, in a 5-year period, you will have to replace the battery at least once. Most EverStart car battery reviews are good, but there will be a few reviews on how a battery was not good or had to be replaced. With the price of the batteries between $40-$100, they are a bit steep for the quality but with a WalMart in virtually every city, they are a good priced battery if you need one immediately.

Brand

Best Used For

Features

EverStart Plus

  • Cars

  • Trucks

  • Vans

  • SUV’s
  • Vented Caps

  • Sealed body

  • Lead Acid

  • 2 year warranty

EverStart Maxx

  • Cars

  • Trucks

  • Vans

  • SUV’s

  • Marine vehicles
  • Integrated handle

  • Vented caps

  • Sealed body

  • 3 year warranty

  • Higher cranking and cold cranking amps

The Main Feature

One of the best parts about these batteries is the fact that they are clearly labeled with “N” or “S”. These indicate a northern battery or southern battery. Not where it was made, but where it is best used. A northern battery will need to survive brutal winters where the temperature drops to the teens or lower. In this case, a higher CCA (Cold Cranking Amps) is needed. CCA is how many amps the battery produces at 32 degrees F. In the south, the battery contends with brutal summers. This includes the heat from the engine, the ambient heat, and the moisture from water on the road from famous summer rains. These batteries will have thicker plates to avoid corrosion.

Where to Buy

Many WalMarts have a service area where you can have a battery professionally installed. If you know how, or just need a battery, you can always just go buy one from the store. In most cases, there will be a guide that will have the year, make, model, and engine. You can also buy them online as well at Walmart.com, here you can read some of the EverStart car battery reviews. They have a very convenient tool on the site in the event you do not know what battery you need. This battery does weigh between 40-50 pounds so shipping may be expensive.

Overview

As a mechanic, the Walmart brand has never really appealed to my liking. I have used them though. They started my 1994 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo with no issues at all. I do not recommend them for a professional grade battery because they just are not that good of quality to be considered ‘professional grade’. The Maxx has the power needed for larger vehicles but does not have the longevity or warranty a higher end battery will have. As a general rule with these batteries, you should check the stamped date on the battery case to get the freshest one. Most will have a sticker showing the date it was made, but they will all have a stamp. If you cannot find it then ask a store associate for help.

Die Hard Car Battery Review and Guide

In 1967 the Die Hard car battery brand was announced as a Sears house brand. It took nine years and over $1 million in research and development for them to come out with a redesigned battery to revolutionize the battery industry. The battery itself was designed to provide 35% more starting power than other batteries of its kind- 45 years later the Die Hard brand is one of the most wanted brands by a margin of 3 to 1. The actual name was a play on words, during the intensive testing of the battery, there was not a single failure, thus the name “Die Hard” or hard to kill. Since then the batteries have undergone many different torture tests from jumping four cars on a single Platinum battery frozen in a solid block of ice to being shot with a rifle at close range, blowing the case in half, and still starting a truck because of the AGM design.

Quality

Best Used For

Features

Platinum

  • SUV
  • Trucks
  • RV
  • Other vehicles that run multiple electronics
  • Vehicles that are stored for long periods of time
  • Spill proof case
  • 99.99% pure virgin lead plates
  • Tin coated brass terminals
  • High purity grade acid with advanced vibration resistance
  • 4 year warranty

Advanced Gold

  • All weather conditions
  • Vehicles that run multiple electronics
  • Off road vehicles
  • 20x more vibration safeguards
  • Spill proof design
  • AGM (Absorbent Glass Mat) design to electrolytes like a sponge
  • Over 250 quality checks
  • 3 year warranty

Gold

  • Vehicles with complex electronics
  • Cars
  • SUVs
  • Cross-over vehicles
  • Positive grid design for better conductivity
  • Side terminal design to resist over-torque
  • Different batteries designed for Northern climates OR southern climates
  • 3 year warranty

Silver

  • Cars
  • SUVs
  • Cross-over vehicles
  • Positive grid design for better conductivity
  • Side terminal design to resist over-torque
  • Different batteries designed for Northern climates OR southern climates
  • 2 year warranty

Where to buy

The Die Hard car battery is only sold at Sears and Kmart websites as well as in retail stores. Many of the stores have auto centers within them to have the battery installed by a professional technician. There is usually a fee to have this done, but a qualified technician will be able to install it correctly, and the battery will usually come with a warranty.

Overview

Having so many different quality levels to choose from you can be sure that you will find the right battery to fit your needs. Batteries need to handle different conditions with different climates. Therefore you have options such as a battery built for the north with a greater CCA (Cold Cranking Amps) rating or a battery built for the south with thicker plates to reduce corrosion. While some people choose to have a battery that will be able to crank anything, most simply need it to simply start their car or truck. There is no harm in going bigger, but it can cause a great deal of frustration if the 75 electronic items that you run kill the battery in an hour if the battery  wasn’t designed to handle that kind of load.

AC Delco Car Battery Review and Guide

AC Delco is leading the way in the automotive industry and has been doing it for over 100 years. Many people actually relate AC Delco and GM together because they make OEM parts specifically for GM vehicles. The parts they make are still aftermarket. However, they are made to meet or exceed manufacturer specs and the same is true for the batteries they make. These batteries are made and designed with your GM vehicle in mind. In addition, they say that if it can travel on asphalt, water, or snow, there is a very good chance that they have a battery that can power it. Bestcovery actually rated it as the “Best Car Battery for Value” when doing the AC Delco car battery review.

Types and Quality

Best Used For

Warranty

Professional Gold

  • Cars

  • 1500/2500 trucks

  • Pickups

  • SUVs
  • 42 month free replacement

Professional Silver

  • Cars

  • 1500/2500 trucks

  • Pickups

  • SUVs
  • 30 month free replacement

Professional

  • Cars

  • SUVs
  • 18 month free replacement

Advantage Battery

  • Cars

  • SUVs

  • Marine vehicles
  • 18 month free replacement

Voyager Battery

  • Motor homes

  • RVs

  • Boats and marine vehicles
  • 12 month free replacement

Heavy-Duty Battery

  • 2500 trucks and higher

  • Big rigs

  • Busses

  • Commercial fleet vehicles
  • No free replacement warranty available

Extended Range (EREV) Electric Vehicle Battery

  • Specifically made for the electrical demands of the Chevy Volt
  • 20 month free replacement

 

AC Delco Features

One of the best features of the AC Delco brand is the standard design of the battery. Since the batteries all have a basic standard build, the consistency of each battery is solid. It’s one of the reasons why GM chose AC Delco to be their primary aftermarket company.

Some of the features include:

  • Professional grade
    • Vented caps to eliminate leakage
    • Integrated handle to assist in installing
    • Solidium low porosity intercell weld
    • Negative paste formulation
    • Fully framed positive grid
    • Enveloped separator to resist punctures
  • Advantage grade
    • High quality intercell weld
    • Tin/calcium alloy
    • Envelope separator to resist punctures

All of the batteries are 100% pressure tested and 100% short tested before being shipped.

Where to buy

AC Delco can be purchased at virtually every auto parts store around the country. You can find a service center or retailer by visiting their website here. You can also purchase them through Amazon.com and most Chevrolet dealerships. Most online stores have a section for people to write a comment or two. An AC Delco car battery review is an important buying help, so take a minute to read the reviews. AC Delco makes a battery for 98% of the cars, trucks, SUVs, and vans on the road so finding the right one should not be too difficult.

Overview

Since I have been a mechanic for the better part of two decades, I have changed hundreds of batteries. I am a firm believer in using OEM parts. You should put back what came in it from the factory. AC Delco does break that one rule for me. Even though AC Delco is still an aftermarket brand, the part they make are the closest to OEM you can get. They are built and designed for Chevrolet, but are able to be used in other vehicles too for an added bonus. When you can have over 40 different lines of products and over 90,000 parts, there is really no reason not to trust them. When you look at an AC Delco car battery review, you will clearly see why I trust them and why they are a great value for the money.

How to Test a Car Battery the Correct Way

A battery like any other car part is going to wear out over time. In different regions of the country and the world, the battery will wear out faster. In Florida, for example it is hot virtually all year round. The heat from the engine, the ambient heat from the air, and the reflective heat from the road will kill a batteries life in a very short time. If you get a year out of a battery, you are doing pretty well. Since the light on your dashboard does not have a meter, and the volt gauge only reads the alternator, how can you tell if the battery is good or if it is going bad? You have to know how to test a car battery so grab your multimeter and follow along. If you do not have a multimeter, you can pick up a cheap one from any hardware, auto part, and most department stores.

How to Test a Car Battery

Safety First

I have been a mechanic for the better part of two decades. I have seen too many people think they know how to test a car battery when they really do not and get hurt doing it. Being educated is being safe and that alone is a top priority. Here is a list of items you should have before you do anything with a battery.

  • Safety glasses

  • Terminal cleaner for top post or wire brush for side post

  • Wrench (the correct size)

  • Multimeter

  • Hand towels or rags

  • Socket set with 4″ extension

The Steps

  1. Locate the battery’s negative battery cable. Regardless of if it is a top post or side post the cable should be black. If there were modifications done and you have two red or two black, the battery will always show a (-) on the negative side.
  2. Remove the negative terminal. At this point you can grab your terminal cleaner or wire brush and clean off the dirt or corrosion from the battery. Corrosion is what is formed when there is a bad or loose connection or resistance of any kind.
  3. A good rule to follow is to wrap the negative terminal in a rag. The negative terminal is the ground. Since there are plenty of items on the engine, frame and supports that are used as a ground, if the negative touches them it will cause a connection and you want to avoid this.
  4. Remove the positive battery cable and clean it off and also clean the battery post off.
  5. Grab your multimeter and set it to the 50 volt scale. Refer to the owner’s manual to determine which one that is.
  6. Take the black lead and the red lead and place it on the respective positive and negative terminals.
  7. Wait 15 seconds and look at the meter reading. The battery should be at least 9.6 volts. Any lower and this indicates the battery needs to be replaced, or will need to be replaced shortly.
  8. If the battery is good, do these steps in reverse order. The negative should always come off first and go on last.

Testing a car battery is quite an easy task with the proper tools. There are some people that do not feel comfortable doing it themselves (which is perfectly fine). If you don’t feel comfortable doing this yourself then many auto stores will do it for you; depending on where you go there could be a fee involved. Be sure to take your time when doing the process. Since the battery terminals are damaged, replace them before reconnecting the battery. A loose connection will hurt the battery and could cause injury if the wrench slips from a rounded off bolt. The terminals are usually about $5 a piece and are easy to change out. Just remember, knowing how to test a car battery can mean a car starting every time or being stranded in a dark parking lot with a dead battery.

Having a Portable Car Battery Charger for Emergencies

There is simply no reason not to have a charger in your vehicle. Just think- your car can stall or not start at any given time and a portable charger can save you in an emergency. You can just keep the charger in your trunk and use it when needed. The benefits of owning a portable charger cannot be overlooked.

Living in a Cold Climate

If you live in a cold climate you have more need for a portable charger than if you live in a warm climate. Starting the car very difficult in a cold climate and engine failures are more common in the cold. If the weather in your area is often below zero then it makes sense to have a good portable charger so you’re ready for these types of emergencies.

Multiple Uses

A good portable charger is easy to carry so you can take it with you whenever you go. Some models even allow you to use portable electronics (MP3 player, cellphone, etc) with the device and keep those electronics charged. This applies to chargers with an inverter. If there is no inverter then you can always buy one so you can run all your devices wherever you are.

Great for Emergencies

If you’re out on a deserted road and your car stalls then you are in trouble. A portable charger can help you get your vehicle going so you don’t have to call roadside assistance or try to walk to the nearest town for help. Another benefit is that you don’t have to leave your car anywhere to seek help.

Also, trying to rely on jumper cables is not a good idea. You may not be able to find someone to help you start your car and you may be out in the middle of nowhere where it would be impossible to get help. If you have a portable charger then you can easily recharge your car battery with the device and get back on the road.

Low Cost and Great Value

A portable charger won’t cost you much- a quality one such as the Stanley 500-Amp Battery Jump Starter can be bought for under 100 USD dollars. By comparison, a roadside assistance program can cost you a lot more and may require a monthly fee. If you take care of your charger then it will be a one-time expense. Essentially a charger will cost you some money at first, but it can save you a lot of money in the long run.

There are many reasons why you should own one of these devices. One of the main reasons is that a portable charger is great for emergencies. But probably the biggest reason is that it will give you peace of mind while driving. You simply can’t put a price tag on having peace of mind.

How to Recycle a Car Battery the Easy Way

Car batteries are the most recycled product in the US. However many car owners will delay changing their car battery because they don’t know the correct way to dispose of their old one. The good news for car owners is that there are different recycling options for you.

Current legislation makes it so you can’t just dispose of your battery in a landfill site without first going through a clean up process. In the past, many people used to dump their battery in one of these landfill sites. But this is the wrong thing to do since it’s harmful to the environment, and especially harmful to the air, water, and soil. Recycling the proper way will help protect the environment.

Battery Recycling Can Be Easy

Handling Your Battery

When handling a car battery, it’s important to remember to wear protective clothing. This is important because the acid in the battery has the ability to burn your clothing and skin. If that doesn’t scare you then you should also know that battery acid can cause blindness. Also, you should disconnect the battery right before you remove or inspect it and make sure you remove the negative cable first. If a battery has any severe damage or cracks you will need to contact a qualified mechanic or breakdown assistance center to remove it. It’s also recommended to keep your car battery upright at all times when handling it.

Where to Take Your Old Battery

Some retailers that sell new lead acid batteries will collect used batteries for recycling. However sometimes there may be a service fee to pay. Another option is to find a recycling center in your local area. You can find one by using a phone book, yellow pages, or web search. There are some recyclers that may pay you for your old batteries.

If you have a hybrid car battery then the same process usually applies. However fewer centers and retailers may accept a hybrid battery for recycling. You should contact them first to check. Another option is to contact hybrid car manufacturers such as Honda- they may even offer to pay for your battery.

The actual process of recycling a car battery is a complicated matter, regardless of the battery’s size. Basically, the battery is dissected into different materials which can include: plastic, acid, lead, or silver. A crusher will then breakdown the battery and the valuable lead or silver will be extracted. The silver or lead is then melted.

Learning to do the recycling yourself is a great idea for a number of reasons. First, you are helping to care for the local environment. Second, you are not breaking any laws- dumping your battery somewhere could result in steep fines or possible criminal charges. Lastly, many recyclers may pay for your battery since the metals can be valuable. When you take everything into account, recycling your battery is a great idea.

How to Replace a Car Battery in Five Easy Steps

After owning your car for a few years, there comes a point when it’s necessary to get your car battery replaced. Getting the battery replaced can extend the lifespan of your vehicle and improve its performance. Unfortunately many car owners give themselves headaches trying to do the replacement themselves. However, learning to do it yourself isn’t too hard and it’s a good skill to learn.

Identify If You Need a New Battery

Car batteries can be expensive to purchase. So before you decide to purchase a new car battery you have to make sure you need one. You must give your battery the chance to properly recharge. You can do this by driving for 30 minutes to ensure that there is no blue residue around the battery’s terminal. Another option is to have a mechanic give your car a thorough check to determine if you need a new battery or not. If you do need a new battery then you can hire a mechanic to change it, or you can save money and change it yourself. The ladder option is what we are about to explore.

Purchase the Best Replacement for Your Vehicle

It’s important that you purchase the best replacement battery for your car. You need to find the correct size for your car and then look at potential models. You need to look in your car’s manual to find the correct dimensions for the battery. This information will narrow down your search so you can find batteries that are compatible with your car. Once you’ve bought you new battery then all that’s left is to install it.

Make Sure It’s Safe to Remove the Old Battery

It’s important to follow the proper safety procedures before you begin to remove your battery. This will ensure that everything will go smoothly and there will be no damage. Here are the guidelines:

  • Create a safe environment to work in. First make sure that your vehicle is parked on a level surface and away from traffic. Remove anything from the area that could potentially cause a fire (cigarettes, sparks and fire). It would be appropriate to inform your neighbors that you are replacing your battery. Therefore they won’t be alarmed if there happens to be any smoke.
  • Consider the fact that batteries not only use electricity, but also sulfuric acid which is corrosive and will cause harm if it contacts your skin. In addition, sulfuric acid is highly flammable which is why it’s important to isolate your vehicle from anything that could cause a fire.
  • Always wear safety goggles and a pair of thick gloves to avoid harming your eyes or skin.
  • Remove the car’s cigarette lighter and make a note of your pins and radio settings since these may be erased when you remove the battery.

Remove the Old Battery

First you need to locate the battery under the hood of your car. Your battery should be rectangular with two cables attached to it. You should instantly know it’s the battery when you see it.

Next, you need to examine your battery for any potential issues and identify the positive and negative terminals. This is important since you will need to remove the negative terminal first and the positive terminal last. Removing the terminals in this order will prevent damage to the electric system in your car. The negative terminal will display a (-) sign and the positive terminal will display a (+) sign. You can mark the negative terminal socket so that you know to remove it first.

To remove the negative terminal, use a wrench to loosen the negative cable clamp and slide it off the terminal. It should come off fairly easily. Once you removed the negative terminal you can move onto the positive terminal. After removing both terminals, check for any screws or holds that may be keeping your battery in place. You will need to detach these before you will be able to fully remove the battery. Once everything is detached, hold the battery by the handle (if there is one) and lift it carefully out of the car. Keep in mind that batteries can heavy so ask for assistance if necessary- always err on the side of caution when doing it yourself.

Put in the New Battery

At this stage replacing your battery will be fairly simple. All you need to do is place your new battery in the correct space, attach the battery holds to keep it in place, and attach the terminal cables to the correct terminal socket. Make sure that you can differentiate the sockets because you need to connect the positive one first. Also, it’s recommended that you tighten the clamps with a wrench instead of just doing it by hand.

To finish the job you can apply battery lithium grease to the terminals to avoid any corrosion. You now have to make sure that everything is in place. So all you need to do is shut the hood and start your car. With the car running, check that all of your electronic devices are working properly. If they aren’t working properly then re-check the battery for any obvious issues.

Changing a battery can be a like a puzzle- it can be a little challenging, but also rewarding. The entire process shouldn’t take too long and it shouldn’t be too difficult. The more you do it, the easier it should get. Knowing how to replace a car battery is a valuable skill that can save you a lot of money in the long run.