Why is my car battery so expensive?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by ideal.dreams, Aug 10, 2012.

  1. ideal.dreams macrumors 68020

    ideal.dreams

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2010
    Location:
    OH
    #1
    I was having a fire the other night out back and accidentally sat on my key fob and set off the panic alarm on my first generation Cadillac CTS. It drained my battery to where the electronics in the car still worked but it wouldn't start. So I put a battery maintainer on it and let it charge to 100% and no dice. Jumped it using another car and it turned right over. I drove it around and noticed some controls got messed up. Came back the next morning and the car was 100% dead. No electronics on in the car and the key gets stuck in the steering column. I called around regarding the messed up controls and they said it was either a bad battery (not supplying enough voltage to all the components) or it just needed reprogramed.

    So I call around for quotes on a new battery...first place I call quotes me at $196.00 :eek:! I figured that couldn't be right and called around some more. To my surprise, everywhere else I called had them around that price or didn't carry them at all. I found a retailer online that offered a discount if ordering online with in-store pickup, so that's what I went for. I still paid over 100 bucks for this battery. Pop it in and the car starts fine. Controls are back to normal.

    My question is: why does my car need such an expensive battery? My dad has an Escalade and just got a new battery for about $99, why did mine cost 1.5x that?
     
  2. neiltc13 macrumors 68040

    neiltc13

    Joined:
    May 27, 2006
    #2
    I assume by "panic alarm" you just mean the alarm that sounds if someone tries to break into or steal the car.

    In that case, why on earth would setting that off drain the car battery?

    The price of the battery seems reasonable to me anyway, you bought a "luxury" car so now you must live with the cost of paying for "luxury" components.
     
  3. 725032 Guest

    725032

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2012
    #3
    great idea... asking automotive problems on an apple tech forum.

    WOOF!
     
  4. senseless macrumors 68000

    senseless

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2008
    Location:
    Pennsylvania, USA
    #4
    It could be a higher capacity battery for all the electronics in the car. Or a custom fit design that is in low production.
     
  5. pvmacguy macrumors 65816

    pvmacguy

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2009
    Location:
    Jax
    #5
    I doubt the excessive drain on yor battery was caused by you sitting and activating the panic alarm. This generally turn off automatically after a couple of minutes and the amount of batter drain from that would be about leaving a map light on for a little while.

    I feel your problem is something else, one of the electronics in the car is probably failing and causing excessive batter drain. Possibly the body electrical unit or if you have automatic climate control its possible a relay has failed and the fan could still be spooled slowly running off the battery.

    I believe those caddy's have Bose audio systems, it's possible you have a defective stock amp or the speakers may have little amps in them that have failed as well and is drawing unnecessary current while the vehicle is off.

    I would take it in and have them run a OBD scan on the electrical system and see if any faults have been logged recently.
     
  6. ideal.dreams thread starter macrumors 68020

    ideal.dreams

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2010
    Location:
    OH
    #6
    Yes, that is what I mean by panic alarm. When I had my oil changed about a month and a half ago they tested the battery and told me it's time for a new one. When I took my old battery in they told me that not only was it not the right kind for my car but that it also had a bad cell. I can see why setting off the panic alarm would have killed it.

    Exactly, not only are there Apple geniuses on this forum but also people who are a lot smarter with cars than I am!

    The battery didn't look any different compared to the battery in my dad's Escalade, so I don't think it was a custom fit. And comparing to the Escalade again, my dad has the same amount, if not more, of electronics running in his car as I do mine.

    I can believe it's the panic alarm that drained it -- as I mentioned above the battery was bad already so it was just a matter of time before it died. Sounding the horn and lights apparently was enough to kill it. I called OnStar after getting the new battery for an OnDemand Diagnostics test and it came up clean, no error codes were being reported. There is also no check engine light on so it was definitely the battery that was the problem, not the car's electrical system.

    Thanks guys!
     
  7. samiwas macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2006
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    #7
    This is the Community Discussion section...you know, the part that is for pretty much anything that is not Apple-related stuff. There are usually over 10,000 people on MacRumors at any given time...I'm pretty sure at least a few dozen of them know cars, too.
     
  8. G51989, Aug 11, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2012

    G51989 macrumors 68030

    G51989

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2012
    Location:
    NYC NY/Pittsburgh PA
    #8
    Only 99? I spent 310 on my battery, because I like long lasting products.

    A car battery holds almost 1000amps of power, starts your engine well over 1000 times a year, and tends to last 5-7 years.

    200 bucks is a bargin
     
  9. 725032 Guest

    725032

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2012
    #9
    too?!

    please rephrase
     
  10. ideal.dreams thread starter macrumors 68020

    ideal.dreams

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2010
    Location:
    OH
    #10
    This was the only battery anyone had available for my car, everywhere I called was selling the same battery. I didn't have an option to choose a better or worse one, which is why I'm curious what makes it so special?
     
  11. samiwas macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2006
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    #11
    Sorry...I'm pretty sure at least a few dozen of them know cars, in addition to Apple computers, Dell computers, Sony computers, iPhones, iPads, iPods, iOS, Android, Windows, servers, internet, VPN, video games, trains, boats, planes, helicopters, blimps, jet skis, gokarts, bicycles, motorcycles, unicycles, juggling, running, weightlifting, horses, birds, cats, dogs, snails, fish, whales, trees, rocks, streams, lakes, oceans, meats, vegetables, fruits, grains, chocolate, junk food, alcohol, drugs (both legal and illegal), wines, beers, cigarettes, hair, teeth, internal organs, furniture, movies, television, actors, laws, taxes, men, women, boys, girls, babies, clothing, VCRs, DVDs, Blu-Rays, Betamax, hand tools, power tools, woods, metals, plastics, the universe, weather, houses, buildings, towers, elevators, escalators, stairs, scissor lifts, boom lifts, film, cameras, and, of course, love and relationships.
     
  12. G51989 macrumors 68030

    G51989

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2012
    Location:
    NYC NY/Pittsburgh PA
    #12
    Well, if your car has lots of electronics in it, it helps provide extra power while the car is running.

    And if you have a bigass engine, it needs more cold cranking amps in the winter. Which means you need a bigger battery.
     
  13. hchung macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2008
    #13
    What he said, plus there's more.

    The cheapest car battery I've seen is ~$75. It just gets bigger and more expensive from there. Why?

    1) Depending on the size of your engine, you'll need more amps to start it. More amps typically costs more because it's simply the sheer size of the internal cells and amount of electrolyte (fluid).
    2) Depending on where you live, you may need to get batteries which are over-capacity or different tech (despite the chemistry being the same) in order to be able to supply the necessary starting current while it's freezing cold outside. (Most batteries cannot supply their full output when the temperature is low.)
    3) Most lead acid cells (this also applies to lithium too), are damaged if drained past a certain point. Some cells are designed to handle this better. But that adds a lot to manufacturing, and hence costs more. These are typically deep-cycle and marine batteries.
    4) Lead and acid are heavy. There's ways to use lead alloys or deposits on polymers in order to get lighter batteries. Of course, this makes manufacturing and recycling difficult.
    5) Finally, some batteries are designed to be almost fully sealed and not require adding water. These typically use fiberglass, beads, powders to contain the acid, and are more expensive. They also need to be designed to not explode if accidentally overcharged.

    All of these sorts of traits can add together to get you a longer lasting, more reliable, more weatherproof battery.... and lighter wallet.

    $200 for a battery sucks, but if you got yourself one of these with your money, I'd say you picked well.
     
  14. MacNut macrumors Core

    MacNut

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    CT
    #14
    I know Sears will prorate a battery based on it's age. I'm sure other places do this as well.
     
  15. ideal.dreams thread starter macrumors 68020

    ideal.dreams

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2010
    Location:
    OH
    #15
    It's got 650 CCA if that helps explain why it's so expensive...how many CCA does a normal battery have? My engine isn't that big...3.6L V6.
     

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