What happened to battery warranties?

Joined
Dec 8, 2006
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9,852
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Illinois
I just bought a $54 Rural King Battery. One year free replacement, 5 year pro-rated. For $54.

I have one in the '04 Silverado that is creeping up on being in service for 6 years. It was $49.

 
Joined
Mar 30, 2015
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Lake Havasu City, Arizona
I just bought a $54 Rural King Battery. One year free replacement, 5 year pro-rated. For $54.

I have one in the '04 Silverado that is creeping up on being in service for 6 years. It was $49.

That's a hell of a buy!
 
Joined
Jun 3, 2012
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1,283
Location
Bremerton, WA
Higher parasitic drain.
Only a few mA higher.
Cars are chronically undercharging their batteries to save gasoline.
Not overcharging to save gasoline.

Cars are being sold with undersized batteries. Modern batteries provide higher CCAs, and manufacturers don't care if it's lower Ah, because they can get away with it. It saves on packaging, weight and distribution.

The buck stops at battery warranty.
 
Joined
Feb 20, 2007
Messages
6,575
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Southeast
I’m surprised nobody mentioned this yet - they changed the warranty structures when vehicles began changing their charging and use strategies. First, the batteries aren’t really float charged any more. Rather, they are held below full charge during cruise and then get bursts of charging during deceleration, and then drain back a little under acceleration. So they end up cycling as the vehicle is used, adding wear. From what I’ve read, the efficiency savings here are significant. Second, auto start stop adds more cycling to them. in summary, they get used a lot harder in newer vehicles, and the manufacturers know this, and had to adjust the warranties accordingly. I’m curious as to how effective EFB type batteries are at improving battery life under this use. Seems that the general consensus favors AGM, though I’m not sure in reality if AGMs are holding up longer or not.
 
Joined
Feb 23, 2009
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18,908
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Michigan
I’m surprised nobody mentioned this yet - they changed the warranty structures when vehicles began changing their charging and use strategies. First, the batteries aren’t really float charged any more. Rather, they are held below full charge during cruise and then get bursts of charging during deceleration, and then drain back a little under acceleration. So they end up cycling as the vehicle is used, adding wear. From what I’ve read, the efficiency savings here are significant. Second, auto start stop adds more cycling to them. in summary, they get used a lot harder in newer vehicles, and the manufacturers know this, and had to adjust the warranties accordingly. I’m curious as to how effective EFB type batteries are at improving battery life under this use. Seems that the general consensus favors AGM, though I’m not sure in reality if AGMs are holding up longer or not.

Very true.
 
Joined
Mar 30, 2015
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Lake Havasu City, Arizona
Seems that the general consensus favors AGM, though I’m not sure in reality if AGMs are holding up longer or not.
From what I've read, you gain nothing by putting an AGM in a vehicle as a replacement battery, if said vehicle was delivered from the factory with a flooded lead acid battery.

In fact, in some high usage fleet vehicles that were sold AGM replacements to FLA, they actually had a higher and faster failure rate. That's why I went with a FLA replacement in my 2018 Toyota Camry. That is what the vehicle had in it from the factory. And I'm assuming that is what the charging system is set up for.

(I could have replaced it with a same size and output AGM for the same price).
 
Joined
Mar 9, 2010
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204
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STL Area
I’m surprised nobody mentioned this yet - they changed the warranty structures when vehicles began changing their charging and use strategies. First, the batteries aren’t really float charged any more. Rather, they are held below full charge during cruise and then get bursts of charging during deceleration, and then drain back a little under acceleration. So they end up cycling as the vehicle is used, adding wear. From what I’ve read, the efficiency savings here are significant.
This is very interesting and is not something I've heard/read about before; it also explains why after two years of ownership, the battery in my CX-5 is already trending in the direction of its first replacement. I suspect it will reach "time to replace" by about this time next year. Thanks for the insight!
 
Joined
Nov 28, 2012
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Ontario, Canada
The reason why cars do not come with AGM is $$$$$$.
An AGM is an improvement in terms of output and constancy, the ONLY problem is
that it gives NO warning when it fails as it gives 100% till the end.
All batteries need maintenance and to use "something" to bring them up to full charge, after checking the electrolyte level,
is a must. This ought to be done at least twice a year, spring & late fall.
 
Joined
Apr 26, 2005
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Under the hood
In general, battery warranties do have reduced terms, with shorter periods in general, and/or elimination of the prorated periods.

Looking at an old purchase research spreadsheet from six years ago, most replacement warranties back then ranged from 2-4 years, and prorated from 5-7 years.

The fruits of that labor resulted in an Interstate-branded Costco battery, which carried a 42 month replacement, and no prorated warranty, which was eliminated when that branding took over for Kirkland. The replacement period was cut to 36 months within a year or two of that purchase.

I've never viewed the prorated warranties as anything as good-sounding sales tactics anyway, since they paid out little, and locked one into the purchase of another potentially crappy battery. Not much to be missed.

The confidence that a manufactuer or seller has in their product is reflected in how long they're willing to offer a free and equal replacement if something goes bad, and that has never been more than four years, and then only for the premium-priced, and more advanced non-FLA types.

Whatever drives the decisions of the product managers and marketers is probably based more on the sales and warranty claim data, with factors like prevalent charging strategies only peripheral to their thinking.

Oh, and for the love that NAPA batteries get, their replacement warranties have always been skimpy, never more than a couple years, which has discouraged serious consideration from my standpoint.
 
Joined
Jan 25, 2013
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Avondale
Interstate got caught in a huge lawsuit because they were screwing people over with their own prorated warranty and Costco is going through a similar issue right now.
 
Joined
Apr 26, 2005
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Under the hood
Interstate got caught in a huge lawsuit because they were screwing people over with their own prorated warranty and Costco is going through a similar issue right now.

No surprise. I don't know what they're suing for, or what basis they have to sue, but in general, those prorated warranties may sound good, but not deliver what they promise.

Not unlike "lifetime" guarantees, or "all you can eat," or "unlimited data" with their fine print, or hidden limits.

I hope they have a case, and not simply just some lawyers rounding up some people who expected to receive a new battery to replace their six-year old battery for scott free.
 
Joined
Jan 25, 2013
Messages
176
Location
Avondale
No surprise. I don't know what they're suing for, or what basis they have to sue, but in general, those prorated warranties may sound good, but not deliver what they promise.

Not unlike "lifetime" guarantees, or "all you can eat," or "unlimited data" with their fine print, or hidden limits.

I hope they have a case, and not simply just some lawyers rounding up some people who expected to receive a new battery to replace their six-year old battery for scott free.

Interstate was calculating the monthly pro rated credit based upon an inflated list price which is not mentioned in the warranty disclosure. The prorated price you paid was based on a suggested price even higher than the price at which the batteries are typically sold. Class action lawsuit followed.
Costco is in trouble because their free replacement policy is a total joke. You are at least refunded for your original battery but then you have to buy another replacement battery at a higher cost.
 
Joined
Nov 23, 2020
Messages
242
The ONLY reason I go Wall Mart Never Start is when I'm out and about on vacation or picking old truck parts it's a 1 in 3 crap shoot if there is a AZ or AA or Orielly in the small towns and they most likely have a WM and the bar code is the warranty no guessing just scan ....

Finding a warranty in the computer and pro rating it is above some employees skill level
 
Joined
Aug 26, 2009
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313
Location
UK
some brands like bosch, varta & yuasa still give 5year in the UK.
In hotter countries, I have not seen anything above 2
 
Joined
Jun 4, 2005
Messages
415
Location
Cow Hampshire
Battery warranties IMHO are for those who live paycheck to paycheck with few hundred maybe in bank account. Batteries seem inexpensive to be concerned of 2 year vs 5 year lifespan.

My experience is they at sale time the warranty for a cost. Thankful not included in price .
 
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