Optima battery issues that resulted in over $1,000 repair bill!
I just got my car back after having an electrical drain issue for over 2 months. I bought an Optima Red top 34R battery last February after swapping out my first one under their 3 year warranty when it stopped charging after a year of use. I just got my '06 QP back from my local shop after losing it for almost a month. After all the hours spent trying to find the drain in the car, first by the audio shop that installed the entire kenwood Car portal system (Jim in Seattle did touchscreen overlay part and shipped it back), and then secondly by my local Repair shop only to find out the battery was the culprit again.
It seems from what I have read in forums for other cars after a quick google search of "optima battery issues", there seems to be a common problem with the Optima red top batteries draining on cars either not used daily or with high electrical draws from cars like ours with tons of electronics or aftermarket items.
I often will use my car every other day and this seems to be just enough to make the Optima battery go bad in less than a year like it happened to me already twice. I also have the aftermarket radio on an Audison amp with a subwoofer. According to the FAQ on Optima website, cars with more than 250watts of audio or cars that sit SHOULD NOT use a red top. Instead they recommend the Yellow top. Even cars with everyday use with large electrical draws should use Yellow tops too. The even go so far to say the warranty will void using Red top in these situations.
Aside from passing on info on correct application of Red and Yellow tops, I wanted to mention that when it went bad, it didn't just stop charging. The way it acted was like the car had an electrical drain and was very misleading. I would leave the car on my ctek charger set on charging cycle for Optima type batter until it went through all 4 stages and said full. The car would be fine for a few days then would die all the way down to nothing. The strange part is that sometimes it would be dead one day later, sometimes it would sit two days and be fine but be dead the 4th day after using it the night before.
Lastly, I just ordered an Odyssey battery made by Enersys which is the same battery they make for military vehicles. It was that battery I wanted for past two years, but they never had the 34R size the QP needs, at least till now. It was $257 with free shipping and has more amps, almost 30% more reserve capacity, and a rugged military spec design. Before anyone buys an optima, please look at this battery. The higher price seems to be related to the use of 99.9% pure virgin lead plated, all quality. From the search I did on optima batteries, it seems the complaints of bad optima batteries has increased exponentially in past 3 years after moving production to Mexico. I read a lot of rumors about poor quality lead or poor quality control being the reason for so many bad Optimas.
The sears die hard platinum ($200 but often on sale for $170) is now made by Enersys and seems to be the same hawker military battery, odyssey, etc battery rebadged. Although not confirmed, it's pretty obvious when the batteries have the exact same size, amp, weight, reserve, etc. The only problem for me is they done have the 34R in sear platinum, only the regular 34 without the poles reversed.
I purchased the odyssey PC 1500!