One of the things I've learned over the course of a lifetime is never cheap out on parts when you are fixing your car. Cheap parts die. Use OEM-quality or better parts, always.
This applies whether you're talking about brake pads (avoid the AutoZone etc., use high-quality NAPA or OEM pads), water pumps, or car batteries. The Autozone-quality stuff simply doesn't last, if it works at all. (Most of NAPA's stuff, on the other hand, is good stuff). So when I detirmined that the battery in my pickup truck was dying, I went to the store and said, "I want the best battery you have."
And they pointed me at this. Exide Select Orbital,
Now, when I did the same exercise for my KLR, I ended up with a Yuasa AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat) battery, with no free acid. If I drop my KLR, no big deal -- there's no vent hose for anything to leak out of -- and because it is completely sealed with gas recombinant technology (except for venting if overcharged), it can never run out of water. And it has better CCA and drain amps than the normal flooded cell battery. But it looks like Exide has taken the same basic technology even further. My Yuasa has normal parallel plates. The Exide spirals its plates, to make them even less succeptible to warping and shorting, and to further decrease internal resistance. And the battery's chemistry means it'll keep a charge for a year with no problem.
I didn't believe the dealer when he told me that I didn't need to charge the new battery -- how could that be? I mean, the battery had probably been in his back room for months, right? So I put it on my battery tender and watched the voltage. The battery tender's little CPU stepped up the voltage until it hit 13.8 volts, decided that hmm this battery is already fully charged, then stopped, dropping back to float. Crap, this means that I can leave my truck sitting there for a month without starting it and still be able to start it because this battery doesn't self-discharge like regular batteries! (And yeah, sometimes I do leave my truck sitting there for a week at a time, especially in the summer, because hey, summer is motorcycle-ridin' weather around here!).
So now my pickup cranks right up (the old battery had a cell with a slow short in it and after that cell drained overnight would only barely crank the truck), and I won't have to buy a battery for another six years (the old OEM battery only lasted three years). For that kind of quality, twice the price of an OEM-quality battery would be a bargain. And yeah, twice the price of an OEM quality battery is pretty much what I paid -- but I get a helluva lot of peace of mind for that price, because now my battery is something I don't have to worry about for a long, long time.
Quality. Try it. You might like it. And avoid that cheap Autozone crap, unless you intend on selling the car within the next couple of weeks. It just doesn't pay to go cheap when you're fixing your car. I'm sure The Fixer would agree.
- Badtux the Mechanic Penguin
PS: When applied to things like schools, government services, etc., the same applies -- quality costs. Ya gets what ya pays fer. America cheaps out on its government compared to every other modern industrial nation, and gets the government it pays for -- one that doesn't work well.