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Mrs. 6Speed had the '02 Focus by the Ford Store for oil, filter and a look-over; about 24K on the clock. Service guy reccommended a new battery based on the fact (they said) it was only retaining and/or delivering about 330 amps. I guess it's a 500 amp battery.

The car starts perfectly in winter cold and spins up like new. The battery's original; almost 4 years old. So do I replace it this minute, wait for it to demonstrate signs of failure, or something inbetween?

Come to think of it, I don't think I've ever repleaced a battery before it was obviously failing/failed. Whadaya all think about this kinda stuff?

6Spd
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What's the prorated warranty on the battery? If it's longer then 4 years you have a while in which you might get some money back if it fails.

I've had a few batteries go.....never changed one out in advance.
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Can I assume that since it is an '02 and the battery is four years old that we are discussing the original battery? No warranty left, then. Do you still live in Minnesota? Does it still get cold there like it did in the late 80's when I lived in St Paul?

If it were my wife's car it'd have a new battery.
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I just replaced my wife's battery in her 1997 Nissan Altima w/ about 75K miles.

It was the original battery that held up fine for more than 9 years.

Now I know that 9 years is a little extraordinary, but I would hold out for a while... I'd make sure I've got jumper cables in the trunk and wait until it didn't turn over some day in the future.

We're coming into the warmer months soon, so I'd wait at least until next fall/winter before getting another one. I bet it'll last through the end of this year without a problem.

mz00m



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I wouldn't spend the money yet. As a car guy you will notice the signs of hard starting when cold, so wait and take care of it then. I sold my '95 Explorer in '02 with about 115k on the clock with the original battery. The truck lived in Michigan and Wisconsin it's whole life.
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If it were my wife's car it'd have a new battery.

If it were me, I may consider replacing the battery but I would do it myself. I wouldn't pay the dealer to do it.

IF
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Service guy reccommended a new battery based on the fact (they said) it was only retaining and/or delivering about 330 amps. I guess it's a 500 amp battery.........................................................


If it doesn't seem to you like it's begining to crap out, don't bother changing it out just yet.
When DW begins to notice that it's not cranking like it used to, or that it has a hard time keeping up with heavy loads, than start shopping for a new one and like somebody else said, do it yourself.


Pete
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Mrs. 6Speed had the '02 Focus by the Ford Store ...

There's your issues right there.

Unless Mrs. 6 is helpless when it comes to car problems (i.e. can't figure out how to call AAA to get a jump or a tow back home), I'd let it wait.

And when it came time to get a battery, I wouldn't bother with the dealer. I've had good luck with Die Hard batteries from Sears, but pretty much anyone will have a better price (and likely a better battery) than the dealer.

--Peter <== who also considers 45 ABOVE zero to be pretty darn cold. Desert dweller and all, you know.
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It seems mine is the only firm vote for a new battery. Oh well, I've been in a minority most of my life.

You can buy a top-of-the line diehard from sears for about $80, and they install for free. And you can have it installed at your convenience. Or you can expose your wife to the Minnesota winter at whatever point the battery quits, waiting who knows how long for a good samaritan or a two truck, and then let make a trip to whoever's open to buy a battery at a time that may or may not be convenient.

According to the test, the battery is putting out about 60% of its rated output. That's close enough for me. Of course, I've lived through a couple Minnesota winters. That affects my perspective.
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It seems mine is the only firm vote for a new battery. Oh well, I've been in a minority most of my life.

I was leaning towards replacing but it wasn't a firm vote. I would probably leave the Ford dealer and drive to an auto parts store that tests batteries. If the output is low, I would consider buying a battery there and replace it myself.

IF

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Never anything wrong with a second opinion. If the battery isn't sealed (most now are) I'd get a hygrometer and test the specific gravity of all the cells. If the battery is sealed, the only thing you have to go on is the battery voltage and amperage output under load. If a second test verifies that the battery is nowhere close to its rated output, then I'd definitely want to save the $40 the dealer is going to charge me for putting the battery in.
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I would consider buying a battery there and replace it myself.

Why such a fuss about replacing the battery yourself? Most of the sources I know of will install the battery at no cost and dispose of the old core. That seems to me to be the best economy of money and time. Otherwise their are two trips involved, some possibility of acid spillage in transit and the idrt and time involved for the actual installation.

Personally I like Sears load test. If a new battery is purchased there is no charge. If I fail to check for a loose cable or if I replace an alternator, then I pay a reasonable diagnostic fee.

GeeB
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Funny how discussions like this always follow a similar theme now matter what car forum:

1. Worry wart=You must change/fix it now or you will die.
2. Moderate=Check it out and if it looks good don't worry about
3.</b? Lazy=When it brakes it brakes. Don't worry, be happy.

I fall into #3.
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And I'm solidly a "1"

I'm number One!!!
I'm number One!!!


Aren't you all jealous now?


I drive my wife bats, though. "What are you so worried about" is not my name, but it could be.
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Thanks for all the input. I thought about this situation for a day and realized I still have fragments of "high school car life" in my DNA, even though it's 20+ years gone.

You remember high school; drive on the tires until you see cord, use the cheapest replacement parts, buy cheap oil because the car burned some anyway and doing ALL your own wrenching no matter what.

Well now I'm all 'grown up' with two 2002 cars, each with less than 25K miles. Both are clean, run perfectly, and start every single cold Minnesota morning. Now that's livin'! I have access to a nice heated garage with a lift, so I myself do as much work on both cars as I'm capable of. That being said, I'm also not above (or below) spending money to have others help keep them like-new as long as possible.

I've never replaced a battery until it's obviously necessary. This OEM battery is 4 years old and I do hate the idea of the possibility of the Mrs. out there with the hood up, so I'm putting a battery on the list of things to do with the tax refund, and I'll likely do a Sears or a Napa run.

6Spd
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Why such a fuss about replacing the battery yourself? Most of the sources I know of will install the battery at no cost and dispose of the old core. That seems to me to be the best economy of money and time. Otherwise their are two trips involved, some possibility of acid spillage in transit and the idrt and time involved for the actual installation.

It doesn't require two trips. I just change it myself in the parking lot.

Why all the fuss? Because the salesperson at the auto supply store will probably just grab a pair of pliers instead of the proper wrench to loosen the nut on the cables. After he's done, I'm left with a cable that has a chewed up nut from the pliers.

IF

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Why all the fuss? Because the salesperson at the auto supply store will probably just grab a pair of pliers instead of the proper wrench to loosen the nut on the cables. After he's done, I'm left with a cable that has a chewed up nut from the pliers.

Besides that, there's often cabling, air intake ducting, etc. that has to be removed or rerouted to change out the battery. Since he was just fired from Burger King, I'd rather Henry doesn't work on my car.

Richard
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From this thread, I'd assume building rockets would be easier then figuring out whether and how to replace a battery.

FYI: Henry is a good friend of mine and he made kick butt burgers and I am sure he will do the same in the battery install world. The burgers were sometimes over cooked......but that shouldn't apply to a battery install.


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"just change it myself in the parking lot."


That works well in North Carolina, where the temperature in Charlotte right now is 45 degrees.

That doesn't work so well in Minnesota, where the temperature in St Paul right now is 22 degrees, with a wind chill factor of 11.

You can accomplish it with one trip, though. You take the battery out of the Focus, put it in the trunk of the other car, drive to the store, give them your core when you buy the new battery, return home and install the new battery in the focus.
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'Henry' used to work at a zippy lube-n-go I patronized in the days I had no garage. He'd use a channel lock (or similar low-tech grabber) to loosen the oil drail plug.

One day Henry's boss told me they couldn't change my oil becasue the drain plug head was stripped. I told Henry's boss to look up me & my car on his amazing computer to see that I'd been there and only there ever 3,000-5,000 miles for over three years and if there was any stripping on my drail plug it was his boys that were doing it.

Henry's boss was baffled by the very core of my point and I've been steering others away form that place for almost 10 years.

Then there was the oil change place that couldn't even find the spin-on filter on my truck . . .

6Speed, lube monkey
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It seems mine is the only firm vote for a new battery. Oh well, I've been in a minority most of my life.

I also lean toward going ahead with replacing it. I consider this preventative maintenance as the last thing I want is to be stuck at 9pm out somewhere with a car that won't start. I don't care that that's why I carry jumper cables. Does me no good if no one is around.

My car is 4 years old and I'm setting aside a little cash each payday to replace the battery. No great rush, but I'm not going to wait for it to die either.

YMMV.

amg2
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From this thread, I'd assume building rockets would be easier then figuring out whether and how to replace a battery.</U>

Dunno 'cause I don't let the Rocket Scientist near the cars.

rad


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Whatever u do, buy new or keep on truckin'... get yourself one of those nifty solar chargers and hook it up so it is connected to the battery at all times.

They cost about $10-20 and will probably save you more than one dead battery.

Do this ESPECIALLY if you have a car you don't drive every week!

UB (- who is buying another one this weekend for the Metro... and who dished out over $100 for new batteries while on vacation in Baghdad.)
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