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2001 Taurus SE Vulcan @ 133,500
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I had new battery put in sometime November 2020 . WHY battery no longer lasts as long as in the past ? I only drive for local errands ( 4-6 miles any round trip ) and 25-45 miles on any occasion out of town trip once or twice a month. Just read online sources that " short distant drives " CAN shorten battery life.

I called AAA late yesterday afternoon @ 5:00 pm to have the battery check to see IF that's what is causing hard start this week or something else. AAA service person arrived a hour later. I could start the car without trouble, he then attached some kind of " wirings ~ that DO NOT have 2 big clips " to the battery that didn't look like a set of jumper cables. He said " the battery is low and I can replace the battery now " and I replied " got it less than 3 years ago and it has 30 months warranty " then said " will wait til next Monday and take it to that local auto shop ( closed today ) where I bought it ".

This morning @ 10:00 am, I couldn't start the car. I think AAA service person last night messed up something, he actually drained the battery instead of recharged it . He was talking to a female on the cell phone when he arrived and while he was looking at the battery. It's NEVER a good sign when mechanic or AAA svc person distracted while he's working on your car.

So, I called AAA again for emergency road service. This AAA svc person was competent and considerate. He placed a set of jumper cables ( with 2 big clips ) onto the battery and asked me to start the car. I started the car WITHOUT trouble. He was NOT 100% certain if the car will start if I turn off the engine and let it sit for a while. After he left for 20 minutes, I could start the car ( not hard start ~ normal ).
 

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I had new battery put in sometime November 2020 . WHY battery no longer lasts as long as in the past ? I only drive for local errands ( 4-6 miles any round trip ) and 25-45 miles on any occasion out of town trip once or twice a month. Just read online sources that " short distant drives " CAN shorten the life of battery.

I called AAA late yesterday afternoon @ 5:00 pm to have the battery check see IF that's what is causing hard start this week or something else. AAA service person arrived a hour later. I could start the car without trouble, he then attached some kind of " wirings ~ that DO NOT have 2 big clips " to the battery that didn't look like a set of jumper cables. He said " the battery is low and I can replace the battery now " and I replied " got it less than 3 years ago and it has 30 months warranty " then said " will wait til next Monday and take it to that local auto shop ( closed today ) where I bought it ".

This morning @ 10:00 am, I couldn't start the car. I think AAA service person last night messed up something, he actually drained the battery instead of recharged it . He was talking to a female on the cell phone when he arrived and while he was looking at the battery. It's NEVER a good sign when mechanic or AAA svc person distracted while he's working on your car.

So, I called AAA again for emergency road service. This AAA svc person was competent and considerate. i placed a set of jumper cables ( with 2 big clips ) onto the battery and asked to start the car. I started the car WITHOUT trouble. He was NOT 100% certain if the car will start if I turn off the engine and let it sit for a while. After he left for 20 minutes, I could start the car ( not hard start ~ normal ).
Pic of Walmart battery, "reserve capacity" aftr 3.5 years of normal service, daily driver.
If you do not drive enough, the battery will not be fully charged and less than normal level will shorten the battery.
I replace my Bulls every 3 years during my Fall maintenance.
You can use a low level charger every 2 to 4 weeks and keep it topped off with short trips. Bat lasts longer, starts better.
-chart-
 

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2001 Taurus SE Vulcan @ 133,500
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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
If you do not drive enough, the battery will not be fully charged and less than normal level will shorten the battery.
I replace my Bulls every 3 years during my Fall maintenance.

You can use a low level charger every 2 to 4 weeks and keep it topped off with short trips. Bat lasts longer, starts better.
-chart-
Can we use local auto parts store ( AZ or O'Reilly ) test & charge the battery and would that help ?
 

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Can we have use local auto parts store ( AZ or O'Reilly ) test & charge the battery and would that help ?
Best do it yourself. Then you are sure, and not depending on someone who is just getting paid. Alternative, drive it 20 minute driver every week but that costs more. Simple chargers are cheap.
Actually warming it fully up every once a week makes the engine/tran,and battery happy.
-chart-
 

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Which DIY battery charger do you recommend ?
I like my little shoe box charger from Harbor Freight Tools. It's a Chicago Electric 10/2 amp charger/starter. Years ago I gave ~$30. Iirc, todays price is ~$50 unless you can catch it on sale/coupon. For charging, I use the 12v 2amp setting overnight. There's also a nice 55-60 amp starting feature.
 

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Which DIY battery charger do you recommend ?
I am old school and get mine from garage sales. Little 4A was a need one cheap, it was $1.00. After our house fire, we were in a apartment and they had a one car garage with it. My Buick could not be left at our house so I left it in the apartment garage and did not drive it. I got this for keeping that car up to staring when I need it. When I got into our repaired house, found a good one across the street at an estate sale for $1.50. I gave the old one to one of the workers on our house. For buying new, I would look for a cheap one at Walmart such maybe 4A or such. No need for a high amps or complicated one like jump starting option. A 4 amp charger will charge a dead battery to full in 24 hours.
-chart-
 

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2001 Taurus SE Vulcan @ 133,500
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I like my little shoe box charger from Harbor Freight Tools. It's a Chicago Electric 10/2 amp charger/starter. Years ago I gave ~$30. Iirc, todays price is ~$50 unless you can catch it on sale/coupon. For charging, I use the 12v 2amp setting overnight. There's also a nice 55-60 amp starting feature.
A good quality name brand is between $39.95-$69.95

My question is how much $ can we save for using " charger " and how long can it extend battery ? I know have one handy will give us peace of mind not to worry the car won't start or rely on AAA/a good samaritan.

Don't we still have to get a new battery 3-5 years.
 

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2001 Taurus SE Vulcan @ 133,500
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I am old school and get mine from garage sales. Little 4A was a need one cheap, it was $1.00.

For buying new, I would look for a cheap one at Walmart such maybe 4A or such. No need for a high amps or complicated one like jump starting option. A 4 amp charger will charge a dead battery to full in 24 hours.
-chart-
Yeah, you are really good at finding great deals @ JY and garage sales.

I think I will have to get one @ Walmart that is cheap & reliable on sales.
 

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2004 Taurus SES Duratec
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Oddly enough, many years ago I called AAA out after Taurus battery was dead out of the blue. Got a jump start and went for a long drive.

Next day, battery was dead. Called AAA. This time was told new battery was needed. They had a battery available there and then for a reasonable price so went ahead.

That battery lasted 5.5 years with zero maintenance even though it saw many short trips.

I got a ctek charger / maintainer. Swedish company and their products are rebranded by luxury car manufacturers. At the time they pretty much were the only brand with the correct algorithms for smart chargers and they had a track record for reliability. Now there are more good choices.

The max I got out of Taurus batteries since then even with battery maintenance has been 3.5 years. It was though arguably my fault on the last one which was nearer it's end of life when I accidently charged it on the AGM setting which is slightly higher voltage.

Maintainer is more useful when cars aren't driven. Became more important during pandemic for many.

All my Taurus batteries have died due to a dead cell. I think it is the excessive heat from the engine side and / or the coolant tube that also runs on that side that kills the cell on that side.

The thing about a dead cell is that it is often a sudden failure. It therefore makes sense that one person takes a reading and says you need a charge and then the next person finds it is obvious you have a dead cell because the voltage reading is 1/6th below the range it should be even for a depleted battery.

When the Taurus diehard battery was a month before replacement warranty expiry, I took it to AutoZone and O'Reilly for a test. AutoZone guy who appears to be an actual old school parts counter guy, told me the tester said I have a dead cell, saw the manufacture date and advised me to get it warrantied. O'Reilly young guy told me battery was fine. 6 months later, battery was kaput with dead cell. AutoZone battery tester was apparently one of the more sophisticated ones. (I believe Walmart might have a more sophisticated tester since they need to make sure batteries are not incorrectly warrantied. Industry stats show that many batteries are incorrectly warrantied.)

Anyway, I went to Sears to get the pro rata warranty on the Diehard and had a bit of luck. The young counter person misread the purchase date in their system and thought the battery was under 3 years old and gave me a full replacement. That one also lasted 3.5 years but at least I got 7 years in total for my $100.

Main benefit of a maintainer is that a battery will supposedly last longer if it is periodically fully charged which short trips won't do. The last 10% to 20% of charging takes many hours. The alternator can charge a battery far faster than a maintainer but rate of charge for the last 10% to 20% is low and time is the constraint. As well as not fully charging a battery which leads to sulfation, the other thing that kills batteries is heat. So short trips with periodic maintainer top up to 100% is not a bad scenario for battery life.

Lastly, the annoying thing in Northern California is that batteries seem to be "North" design rather than "South". "North" design is thinner plates for higher CCA. Theoretically needed if you travel to mountains but for most use cases, "South" design of thicker plates for resistance to heat would be better here.
 
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^+1 on going with an onboard maintainer/trickle charger route for the specific driving pattern outlined above.
Not only will it get more time out of this battery but legthen the life of the next one as well
 

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^+1 on going with an onboard maintainer/trickle charger route for the specific driving pattern outlined above.
Not only will it get more time out of this battery but legthen the life of the next one as well
Agree 100%. I am also a big fan of the plug in meter as in the pic. This one more expensive than some as it can handle 2 charging devices and tell the charging current of the devices. Cheap ones are fine if one does not need this. My son had bad experience with maintainers on farm equipment sitting idle all winter. Several pieces of equipment in the barn. These items do not have any draw when idle so different from a car. Also, cold weather no vibration and such. Enemy of battery life: heat, vibration, under/over charge. My lawn mower sits in the shed all winter and it cranks fine in the spring.
I have 3 cars on the road for many years, and 4 for the last 2 years. Can't remember having one fail. The Buick bat last much longer than Bulls. Of course that has the Hall Effect sensor and keep the battery from over charging, matching the charge to the charge/discharge history.
-chart-
 

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1998 Taurus SE Sedan 3.0L24V AX4N 91Kmi
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I highly recommend Battery Tender brand chargers. They're the only ones I know of that go into TRUE float-charge mode, and continue to monitor the battery. Most others either remain in trickle regardless of battery charge level (causing over-charging & boiling the electrolyte); or when they stop trickling, they just shut down until battery voltage drops substantially (causing battery cycling). I use them not only on my vehicles & spare batteries; I also use them on my mowers, whose batteries often last over 6 years. I also put one on my mother's Crown Vic, since she sometimes doesn't drive for a week. This is Lisa's '68 MG B:

(click this text)
 

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2001 Taurus SE Vulcan @ 133,500
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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
NEW UPDATE: The shop replaced the battery with a generic A/C Delco one .

The invoice paperwork noted " battery test FAILED and warranty replacement for the one purchased 11/10/2022 " .
 

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UPDATE: The shop is " recharging " my car battery, it's been 1/2 hour.

So, they probably don't want to replace a new A/C Delco.
For future: batteries must be charged to 100% in order to test, which is a mfr warranty processing requirement. The shop can't get a refund unless they've recharged and tested it.
 

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2004 Taurus SES Duratec
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View attachment 222304
📱 screenshots of A/C Delco warranty replacement battery. View attachment 222303
View attachment 222302
replacement battery
Did you have the same size battery last time as well?

This is a slightly bigger and more powerful battery than the specified 36R and the 42 month full replacement warranty is also better than most 36R batteries.

Is it completely secure / doesn't shift if you try to move it left to right or back and forth? I have been wondering if this size secures without modified hold downs.
 

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2001 Taurus SE Vulcan @ 133,500
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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
Did you have the same size battery last time as well?

This is a slightly bigger and more powerful battery than the specified 36R and the 42 month full replacement warranty is also better than most 36R batteries.
No, just now checking the invoice copy and I see " 35PS-30 " . No wonder, my ♉ failed smog check yesterday half hour later @ 1:00 pm.

I am looking @ the invoice copy for the original purchase in 11/2020, it was " 36RPS " and listed charge $189.95.
 
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