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Old 03-04-2010, 01:45 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Ideal battery for a '99 Subaru

So, I got an amazing deal on a '99 Forester with less than 69k miles on it. However, it still had the original battery, which died shortly after winter hit us here in Ohio.

Does anyone have any advice for choosing a solid replacement battery? Should I look for a stock battery from a Subaru dealership, or is there a better brand out there somewhere? As a poor college student, I don't have a lot of money to spare, but I am willing to make an investment if it's a quality product.

I've called local Subaru dealerships, and the cheapest stock battery I've found so far is $96.95, part only. I plan on installing it myself.

Any thoughts?


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Old 03-04-2010, 02:03 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I see that this is your first post, so welcome!

Batteries are always overpriced at the dealers, as is just about anything else that has a generic equivalent in the outside world. There's nothing special about a genuine Subaru battery. It's most probably not even made by Subaru in the first place. Walmart's best battery costs about $75.

In general, shop for the highest value of Amp-Hours that fits your budget.
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Old 03-04-2010, 03:17 PM   #3 (permalink)
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i work at an auto parts store... my best recommendation is to STAY AWAY from walmart batteries.... i get more of those in defective then anything.... Autocraft batteries at Advance are real solid, and if you have anyone that sells Interstate batteries those are top notch too....
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Old 03-04-2010, 03:33 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aimeejod View Post
So, I got an amazing deal on a '99 Forester with less than 69k miles on it. However, it still had the original battery, which died shortly after winter hit us here in Ohio.

Does anyone have any advice for choosing a solid replacement battery? Should I look for a stock battery from a Subaru dealership, or is there a better brand out there somewhere? As a poor college student, I don't have a lot of money to spare, but I am willing to make an investment if it's a quality product.

I've called local Subaru dealerships, and the cheapest stock battery I've found so far is $96.95, part only. I plan on installing it myself.

Any thoughts?


Thanks!
Welcome, glad you found us.
Not going to comment on a battery choice, but when you do replace your battery be prepared to reset your ECU if you have not had to disconnect your battery before. Not sure if you have a manual, so here it is.

First when you reconnect your new battery the hazard and instrument lights will flash lightly, if your car came with a remote all you have to do is open and close using the remote, that will reset the ECU. The second way if you do not have the remote, there is a recessed button on the drivers side just below the fuse/change pocket. Use a pencil and with the key in the on position, press the button and you're good to go.

Glad to here you got a great car with such low mileage, I also had a 99.
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Old 03-04-2010, 03:38 PM   #5 (permalink)
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FWIW...I use Optima Red Top and am very pleased with its performance. You would use the same as my '08; a Group 35 (8020-164). It would probably run about $50 more for a vastly superior battery.

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Old 03-04-2010, 05:22 PM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Just get any battery with a 3 year free replacement, preferably not Walmart batteries though (I see alot of dead ones come into Autozone).
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Old 03-04-2010, 05:32 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I see this is your first post, so welcome to the forum from Oregon!

I would recommend getting the largest heavy duty conventional battery that will fit. You should be able to find one for around $75. If you're strapped for bucks, you could opt for a lesser battery (less cost), but expect to replace it in a few years.

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Old 03-04-2010, 07:37 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Welcome to the forum.

I would also recommend a couple extra dollars for an Interstate. They make a good product and they stand behind it.
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Old 03-05-2010, 03:05 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
In general, shop for the highest value of Amp-Hours that fits your budget.
This spec typically applies to deep-cycle- or marine (hybrid) batteries. It's really not applicable to automotive starting / lighting / ignition (SLI) batteries.

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So, I got an amazing deal on a '99 Forester with less than 69k miles on it. However, it still had the original battery, which died shortly after winter hit us here in Ohio.

Does anyone have any advice for choosing a solid replacement battery?
Considering your location's fairly cold winters, I'd suggest looking for the correct size battery (BCI Group 35 or 36?) with a high CCA spec. CCA = Cold Cranking Amperes, a measure of many amps the battery can supply at 0 degrees F for at least 30 seconds down to a specific voltage. Some manufacturers spec 10.5V (for a 12 V battery), others 7.2 V, which is not quite as good. Cold weather reduces effective battery capacity, so a high CCA number should help.

There are many battery brands, but few major battery manufacturers. Johnson Controls, Exide, and Interstate make many of the various brands available. Look for a fresh battery (<6 months old) by checking the date stamp on the battery.

Consumer Reports tests batteries in accordance with an SAE spec. Moderately-priced Group 35's that tested well included models from Kirkland (Costco), Everstart ("N" model = "North"; Walmart), and DuraLast (AutoZone). The batteries' product labels may identify the actual manufacturer.

My personal experience with Interstate batteries is mixed. The new one in our Honda appears to be working well, as did the one in our old minivan. However, the big 875 CC Interstate "85 Month" battery in our pickup appears to be fading fast, although it's not quite three years old. It's needed several jump-starts and recharges over the past couple of months, and I'm looking for a parasitic load.

HTH,
Jim / crewzer
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Old 03-05-2010, 11:47 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I had decent luck over the years with cheap Wal-Mart batteries $30-$35 ea. I just planned on replacing them in about 4 years instead of trying to get the full 5 or more out of them.

Since owning Foresters it seems WM doesn't have that cheap of a battery anymore. The last battery I recently bought from BJ's Warehouse Club and was Exide brand, 84 month for about $80 if I remember right and it had a $5 rebate.
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Old 03-05-2010, 01:01 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Another vote for the Optima Red Top, but it's not necessarily as affordable for someone on a student budget. I would, however, always choose a completely sealed battery design over a conventional battery, as it has been mentioned around here that battery corrosion can contribute to the demise of gaskets (especially the head gasket) in the vicinity of the battery. Exide makes a very nice, sealed battery that is less expensive than Optima and can be had at most major auto parts chains.

Optima And Exide Revolutionize The Car Battery - Popular Mechanics
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Old 03-06-2010, 07:01 AM   #12 (permalink)
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I've thought a lot about the battery-head gasket relation. I tend to discount it, though. I think it's mostly a bad block and HG design.

Even with non-sealed battery if you keep it clean and use anti-corrosion products everything stays pretty clean looking. And this has never made any difference on any other car I have owned.

I would tend to think HG failure happening on the driver's side more related to some detail of the machining of the mating surfaces, the locations of the head bolts, or the exact way and method they are torqued. In other words, it is likely there is less clamp pressure on the rear lower corner that tends to leak oil.
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