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rodsob 12-03-2003 12:17 PM

Battery Question
the weather is getting colder and the current Interstate battery starts the car fine. However, I noticed the purchase sticker on the battery was Jan 1999. It would make it close to 5 years old.

It took it to the local Autozone to be tested and it came out "BAD". I was suspicious so I walked away from buying a new one.

How long do these batteries functionally last? What does "BAD" mean? It starts the car fine with one crank.

Should i get a new one or should I save my money for when the current battery gives me the signs of impending death? What do you think?

ForcedInduction 12-03-2003 01:04 PM

Whats the CCA or CA output rating of your battery compared to what autozone had as the test results? The Sears DieHard I have is 4 years old and has a very nice 1545CCA! Most gasser batteries are around 525-770CCA. Most batteries I have changed at work generaly last 4-7 years depending on driving style. The more often you start your car the shorter the battery life. I would avoid AutoZone and Wal-Mart, they don't have the proper size/style. Sears DieHard has a big@ss highoutput made for imports and onebattery diesels.

NEVER go the cheap way on your battery. You may save 45% but they never last anywhere as long as the "good" or "top" batteries.

lrg 12-03-2003 01:22 PM

Battery life depends upon a lot of variables but 5+ years of use is not unusual. If it still works well why replace it? When the engine starts to crank over a bit more slowly than usual when cold it's a sign that the battery is getting weaker and won't last too much longer (assuming your starter is good). Otherwise I'd ignore the "bad" reading Autozone gave you and just use it until the car gets to be hard to start..

P.E.Haiges 12-03-2003 01:32 PM


Since you engine starts easily, its hard to tell how much reserve your battery has.

Do a test yourself. Pull the GP wire out the relay and see how long your battery cranks the engine cold. If less than 30 seconds, you probably don't have enough reserve.

I have been using AUto Zone batteries and have had good service from them. $60 for a 7 year battery is a good deal to me. They have a group 49 battery which is what most MB use.


Cressida 12-07-2003 09:25 PM

Johnson Controls makes the batteries for Autozone and I find Johnson Controls batteries to hold up the best.

I've seen 5 Champion's purchased at Sam's Club fail in 29-41 months so I recommend staying away from that source. The Champion batteries are made by Excide.

Here is a link to the Master of battery knowledge with lots of useful information:

PaulH 12-07-2003 11:01 PM

The secret is to look at the fine print on the battery. Johnson Cont and GNP seem to last, the J.C. is probably the best. Just avoid the Excide made batteries. About a year ago, the Sears battery and the PEP Boys battery were the same in group 49. However, PEP Boys was $20 cheaper than Sears. Walmart's group 49 used to be made by J.C. Now, the last time that I checked, they are made by Excide.

Toblin 12-08-2003 12:59 AM

A touchy topic for me.
My current batt has been in Liesel for over three years. a 700 cold-AMP NAPA brand.

The previous TWO where also 700AMP NAPA batts. Both of which died within three months of purchase. Both!

On the death of the third one the Napa parts store said "something must be wrong with your car! We won't replace it!"

My long-time mechanic upon hearing my plight said "I do allot of business with NAPA. Leave your battery here. I'll talk to the NAPA rep".

The salesmen confirmed it was a dead cell and added that NAPA franchises are not above re-packaging defective batteries. “There’s money to be made”!

Lesson learned: Don't buy NAPA batts.

samiam4 12-08-2003 01:50 PM


I'm told most of these batteries make it to 5 years and then the drop off starts.
Everyone has their preference on Batteries-just like oil. Take to note-excide batteries at Walmart will probably not a good value.

Many ppl run the grp 49 from Autozone with decent life-probably the best value. While more expensive, many run the Optima redtop battery. If you've got a COSTCO locally which carries them- about $100. For your 240d, you can either find a reverse post redtop *OR* buy a 2-3 " longer ground wire to the battery and use the regular redTOP.

Since your in the "deep south" I wouldn't be as worried about the situation as others. If you do not want a failure this year... I'd replace it now.


william rogers 12-09-2003 12:01 AM

Iv'e found Interstate battries usally last well over five years if they are well maintained and never allowed to sit in an uncharged state for any length of time.........
William Rogers..........

samiam4 12-09-2003 12:15 AM

Why would you get an interstate instead of an Optima? We're talking the same amount of money...

Are you familiar with Optima's?

Optima's are the only real impovement in Lead-acid batteries in very many years. They can sit for months without being damaged by discharge.


BoostnBenz 12-09-2003 12:49 AM


I've seen 5 Champion's purchased at Sam's Club fail in 29-41 months so I recommend staying away from that source. The Champion batteries are made by Excide.[/B]
Sigh, I was going to say this, I've made the same observation from experience. :( Nice price, nice warranty, HORRIBLE battery!

Optimas can't be charged normally though, I haven't researched those enough but for the same money I could consider it. At the moment though my Talon has a new Champion battery :( and the 300 with a new Duralast.

samiam4 12-09-2003 02:05 PM

What do you mean they cannot be charged normally...

I know many many W123, W126, and W124's running Optimas. The prefered charging voltage is to the high-end of a normal MB setup. I think optimal charge *grin* is 13.8-14.1 ??

I heard Stu say he was on ??13 or 14 years to his optima.


BoostnBenz 12-09-2003 03:07 PM

Not as in a alternator but as in a battery charger, I heard somewhere that the battery has to be charged off another battery or off an alternator, battery chargers will only shorten the life of them.

123c 12-10-2003 01:01 AM

I've decieded that my car has an electrical problem, since it has gone through 4 batteries in the past 3 years. Right now it is just sitting, because I don't want to drive it until I get the problem fixed.

A good battery should last at least 3 years, but 5 years is fairly common...

BoostnBenz 12-10-2003 10:51 PM

But isn't always the car though, a cheap quality battery like the champion just wouldn't last. I had one last one start, no kidding....

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