Car Batteries: Ratings of Sources
Editors at ConsumerReports.org put 64 car batteries through the wringer – by partially draining and recharging them, measuring reserve capacity and exposing them to harsh temperatures. Paid subscribers can access the full test results, with a handy table that rates each car battery's expected life, cold-cranking amps (CCA), reserve capacity, and overall score. Editors rank the batteries from best to worst, assigning ratings on a scale from poor to excellent.
In this free article, ConsumerReports.org cautions buyers not to shop by brand. Jim Travers notes that it's not uncommon for a brands batteries to be top rated in some size groups, but finish toward the bottom in others.
CarsDirect.com recommends seven car battery brands, but no specific models. Each brand gets a paragraph explaining its strengths and weaknesses.
Here's another car website that recommends its favorite car battery brands. Once again, there's no mention of testing, but each brand gets a paragraph discussing its strengths.
AdvanceAutoParts.com is a retailer selling a multitude of automobile replacement parts as well as tools and supplies for routine maintenance ranging from headlights to motor oil and wiper blades. Consumers post reviews offering feedback on products, including car batteries. AdvancedAutoParts.com primarily sells AutoCraft batteries, several of which have accumulated hundreds of owner-written reviews, but there's also ample feedback on some other brands, such as Optima.
Amazon.com sells mostly Optima and Odyssey batteries. Several models get high marks with lots of owner reviews posted, so if you're in the market for one of these brands, this is a good place to check. However, many popular brands -- DieHard, Interstate, EverStart and more -- aren't sold here.
AutoZone.com is a retailer that sells anything consumers need to maintain or repair all types of vehicles. Several car battery brands are sold here, and consumers leave reviews and ratings on specific models. While most car batteries have earned just a handful of reviews, several have accumulated more than a dozen owner-written reviews.
Walmart sells primarily EverStart car batteries. While it's the best resource for user feedback for this battery line, a search for "car batteries" now redirects users to Battfinder.com, a tool that brings up only a single recommended battery for your vehicle's make, model, and year. While it's still possible to get to individual product pages and evaluate reviews, this new structure makes it difficult to browse a list of batteries and compare user feedback.
Sears.com sells DieHard car batteries, and is the best place to see user feedback for this brand. However, most sizes only have a handful of reviews.
Costco no longer sells its much-loved Kirkland car batteries, Consumer Pete reports; instead, it sells Interstate batteries. The warranty is still good (Costco will replace the battery if it fails within 42 months), but different from the old Kirkland warranty (replaced if failure within 36 months, with prorated refunds up to 100 months).
Automobile owners and enthusiasts discuss the best replacement options for Kirkland car batteries, previously sold at Costco, in this forum thread. A few members offer feedback on other brands that they have had good experiences with and offer other shopping advice such as considering the warranty length, price, and amps.