The Cadillac Battery saga

Joined
Oct 2, 2008
Messages
1,007
Location
Dallas, TX
My boss has a 2005 STS 4.6. On his way to work yesterday morning, he stopped at the QuickTrip down the street from our office. Upon returning to his car with his morning coffee, it refused to start. So he walked the 3 blocks to the office and asked me for assistance. We drove down in a co-worker's car, I got in and sure enough...dash lights flickering and a faint 'click click' from the engine compartment. His battery had finally kicked the bucket, likely due to 4+ years in the Texas heat. We removed the battery (partially crammed up under the cowl on the passenger side)and headed for AutoZone just down the street. No gots. Moved on to WalMart where I surely thought they'd have something. Nada Hit the neighborhood Pep Boys. They had a Bosch that was close in size, but about 3/4 inch taller. I didn't want to risk it. CCA wasn't quite up to the OEM battery either. Boss gets on the phone to Batteries Plus. Same story as Pep Boys. For kicks, we call Crest Cadillac and they tell us to come on down. The parts guy returned from the store room and plunked down a pretty new AC Delco battery identical to the old dusty one we plunked down on his counter. Then came the jaw-dropping $217 bill. Apparently Cadillac saw fit to have this battery custom-made by Delco. No other battery manufacturer makes a battery exactly this size with exactly this CCA. Luxury comes at a price folks. I just can't figure out how this type of thing is supposed to attract customers. Imagine the bill had he 1) gotten the car towed to Crest and 2) had a technician diagnose and replace the battery. I'll never complain about the high-maintenance nature of my Mazdaspeed 6 again. At least it uses a battery that can be purchased anywhere.
 
Joined
Jan 10, 2008
Messages
4,998
Location
Milwaukee, WI
"I just can't figure out how this type of thing is supposed to attract customers" Agreed. But obviously it doesn't, from looking at GM's current state of affairs. It will be interesting to see if your co-worker buys another Caddilac, although as ridiculous as this was it probably wouldn't keep me from buying another.
 

ViragoBry

Thread starter
Joined
Oct 2, 2008
Messages
1,007
Location
Dallas, TX
He's a bit of a blowhard when it comes to things like this. Against my best advice, he just dropped $3500 a few weeks ago fixing a bunch of nagging problems on his 200X Suburban, exceeding his $3000 budget and still not getting everything fixed. So, after yesterday's wild goose chase with a $217 price tag, he grumbled that he's bought his last GM product. I just told him to shut up and stop blaming a dead battery on the car. I'm actually surprised a car battery can last 4+ years here in this climate, trapped underneath plastic covers in a hot engine compartment. My roommate's 2005 SportTrac just suffered this same problem 4 days ago in a Target parking lot. $85 and some sweat later, he was back on the road. Easy come, easy go. But I still don't agree with the practice of 'specializing' products like batteries so you can rape people at the parts counter. It creates a lot of bad blood between carmakers and car buyers.
 
Joined
Jun 23, 2008
Messages
296
Location
Minnesota
Just my two cents....Why didn't you try a real parts store like Napa or Carquest etc or an Interstate dealer? Most of the retail part stores and big box stores just carry the most common BCI battery group sizes. I work part time at a Napa and we stock the GM sealed batteries from Napa Batteries(Exide or Deka), AC Delco & Interstate. They run around $125 to $175 depending on BCI group size. I also don't feel a $200 battery for $45K car is out of line. Try to buy one for any late model luxury car and it is going to cost money. Some of the Mazda and other offshore brand's batteries aren't even available other than the dealer. Just wanted to give a different view--not trying to argue. Dave
 
Joined
May 10, 2004
Messages
582
Location
South FLorida
I had the battery replaced on my 08' SRX, but luckily it was done under warranty. They told me there has a number of bad Delco's that had problems. My mazda6 battery lasted about 4 1/2 yrs., which is pretty good in the Fl heat. It actually went bad in the parking lot of an Autozone, which was pretty convenient.
 
Joined
May 7, 2004
Messages
10,910
Location
Nokesville, VA
 Originally Posted By: ViragoBry
Then came the jaw-dropping $217 bill. Apparently Cadillac saw fit to have this battery custom-made by Delco. No other battery manufacturer makes a battery exactly this size with exactly this CCA.
Interstate Batteries has a replacement with a suggested retail price of $161. It's a group size 101 battery.
 

ViragoBry

Thread starter
Joined
Oct 2, 2008
Messages
1,007
Location
Dallas, TX
 Originally Posted By: brianl703
 Originally Posted By: ViragoBry
Then came the jaw-dropping $217 bill. Apparently Cadillac saw fit to have this battery custom-made by Delco. No other battery manufacturer makes a battery exactly this size with exactly this CCA.
Interstate Batteries has a replacement with a suggested retail price of $161. It's a group size 101 battery.
Where do you find this listed? I did a search on Interstatebatteries.com and it only lists the 2006-up STS.
 
Joined
May 7, 2004
Messages
10,910
Location
Nokesville, VA
First, I went to AC Delco's site to determine the group size. It's a group 101 battery. The 2006-up STS also takes a group 101 battery, which is what is listed on Interstate's site. It's been my experience that battery application information for less-popular cars is incomplete (Advance Auto had no listing for the 2003+ Saab 93, for example, despite the group 48 battery they stock being the correct battery for that application). So I always go by group size.
 
Joined
Jan 13, 2009
Messages
520
Location
FL
 Originally Posted By: brianl703
So I always go by group size.
+1 The parts stores are not always 100% on matching the BCI group sizes for batteries, they will sometimes list somthing close-ish first if its more commonly stocked or more competitive in price.
 
Joined
Jun 21, 2002
Messages
2,759
Location
CarMax
 Originally Posted By: ViragoBry
I just can't figure out how this type of thing is supposed to attract customers.
And I can't figure out why luxury customers can't figure this out. Where in the lexicon of luxury items does it suggest they will be cheap to maintain? Doesn't matter if its a Caddy, Lexus, BMW, Infiniti, Benz... whatever. They are ALL expensive to maintain. I have no idea why GM requires a special battery for this car but I am sure there is a good engineering-based reason. I'm sure other luxury makes have their maintenance quirks. Why is this such a surprise to people? This is part in parcel of the times we live in, and the current state of our economy. For the past 20 years people were sold on the NEED for luxury items - had to have the expensive car; had to have a Rolex; had to wear a Brioni suit to work; had to have a new MacBook and iPhone; had to drop $40K on installing a new home theater system; Luxury living is expensive, which is why it was always for only the rich. They pay the cost to be the boss. As for car batteries, the technology has been stagnant since the 1930's or so. What was the last major battery revolution, the switch from 6V to 12V in the 1950's? With all the electronic doo-dad's in cars today, I'm surprised the old 12V system still works, let alone powers everything reliably. Hasn't Jaguar gone to a 42V system or something like that?
 

ViragoBry

Thread starter
Joined
Oct 2, 2008
Messages
1,007
Location
Dallas, TX
I did try to warn him when he told me what he was planning to buy. He gripes about the quantity and type of oil it requires, he gripes about how expensive the tires are (he needs some new ones right now) and the bizarre battery situation didn't help matters. I begged him to buy a 3-4 year old Accord LX or Civic to make the 160-mile daily commute. Nope...he had to have the STS and it had to have a V8. Lead a horse to water....
 
Joined
Apr 17, 2004
Messages
6,254
Location
Texas Hill Country
GM has been doing this for years. You can't find a battery for a Saturn Ion anywhere but the dealer. I suppose its the same for a Chevy Cobalt. The Ion has a battery mounted in the trunk, and to let harmful gases escape the car, it requires a battery with a vent on it, that vents under the bottom of the car through a tube.
 
Joined
Apr 13, 2009
Messages
3,735
Location
Miami-Dade County
 Originally Posted By: ViragoBry
I did try to warn him when he told me what he was planning to buy. He gripes about the quantity and type of oil it requires, he gripes about how expensive the tires are (he needs some new ones right now) and the bizarre battery situation didn't help matters. I begged him to buy a 3-4 year old Accord LX or Civic to make the 160-mile daily commute. Nope...he had to have the STS and it had to have a V8. Lead a horse to water....
He should have bought a Town Car...Its a nice luxury car with very low maintenance and he could have easily put on 300K miles or more on it...Plus could have had his V8...Another good option would have been a Grand Marquis. I have absolutely no sympathy for him for getting a car from Govenment Motors. For a 160 mile round trip everyday you want a V8 with some comfort...I drove a Honda Accord not long ago for a few days doing a 120 mile round trip..It was pure torture...A Civic is 1000 times worse...For short commutes their are great but not for commutes over 100 miles every day of the week...No way!
 
Joined
May 27, 2003
Messages
1,565
Location
Elkridge, MD
 Originally Posted By: CROWNVIC4LIFE
For a 160 mile round trip everyday you want a V8 with some comfort...I drove a Honda Accord not long ago for a few days doing a 120 mile round trip..It was pure torture...A Civic is 1000 times worse...For short commutes their are great but not for commutes over 100 miles every day of the week...No way!
No doubt. I wouldn't want to spend 160 seconds in an Accord or a Civic, let alone 160 miles. The last Accord I sat in (a 2007?) had concrete wrapped in leather for seats. It was horrible. Long, comfy highway cruises were what Caddy's were born to do.
 
Joined
May 7, 2004
Messages
10,910
Location
Nokesville, VA
 Originally Posted By: JustinH
You can't find a battery for a Saturn Ion anywhere but the dealer. I suppose its the same for a Chevy Cobalt.
The battery AC Delco says fits a Cobalt looks like this: That could most likely be replaced with a group 47 battery as used in VWs and other European cars, which has provisions for venting to the outside.
 
Top