Advance Auto Parts - Optima Battery Warranty Replacement Saga

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by jpadc, Oct 25, 2014.

  1. jpadc

    jpadc Type before I think too often

    Sep 9, 2008
    Indianapolis and Northern Wisconsin
    2008 Prius
    I was one of the many members on this site that bought an Optima battery from Advance Auto Parts back in March of 2012 when they were doing a big sale on them. In those days I was able to buy it for $160 including tax and shipping to my door.

    I’ll certainly own that I’m not the easiest guy on a battery as I have many “extras” in my Prius including a full-time inverter, an auxiliary plug in the back for a 12 volt cooler, very short trips (work only a mile away from home), the car sits a lot (2008 with less than 75k miles), children who leave interior lights on or forget to close a car door (I don’t know how you do that), long cold winter, etc... Long and short - in the last few months the battery has been showing signs of problems and if I let the car sit for more that a couple days in the garage... the battery would be too low to make it Ready. Fortunately sitting in my garage it was a non issue as I could just hook up a 12 volt charger to the jump post under the hood and the car was in Ready mode in mere minutes. But what if it had to sit a couple of days away from home??? Clearly it was time for a new battery.

    I take the car to my local Advance Auto Parts store who pull out the “load tester” and the battery tests good (not a surprise). They tell me to make sure that my problem is not something draining the battery (parasitic draw). So I start monitoring it carefully for a couple weeks with a volt and amp meeter. I also call Optima about warranty policies. In my tests I confirmed that there was no more parasitic draw on the battery than normal (<10 mA - love the SKS but what a power hog). I tried charging it fully with a 10 amp AGM compatible charger to try "restoring" the battery, but still it shows 11.8 volts (car off using volt meter at the jump post) after a single overnight. This battery is toast.

    I follow the advice I got from Optima and pulled the battery (hooked the car up to the charger and pulled it "live"- not that Optima recommended that but it was easy given everything back there is plastic - you would have to work hard to get a short) and took it into Advance again. This time after explaining the “saga” above, the manager just handed me a “new” one off the shelf and said - here you go. By “new” of course I mean date stamped 6 months ago and only a 12.6 volt charge but still no cost to me so its hard to complain too much. I put in the new battery and have it on the charger to get it up to where it should be to start the cycle of abuse anew.

    So the end of my saga is that Advance honored the Optima warranty and I have a new battery. So if I get the same 1.5 years out of this one as I did the last one at least it was not a total waste :) Thanks to both companies for doing the right thing.
    ftl likes this.
  2. PriusGuy32

    PriusGuy32 Prius Driver Extraordinaire

    Sep 10, 2012
    Harrison Township, Michigan
    2015 Prius
    Jpadc- I did the same thing - bought the Optima from AAP in 2012 on sale and installed it into my Prius.

    Fast forward, non-stop issues with the battery NOT keeping a charge over 12.4v. Finally, after 1.5 years, the most I could get it to charge, per Optimas directions, was 12.1v. I called the AAP who I bought it from and they pulled the same junk with me about "load testing". I asked for a manager and told him "you can load test this battery all day and night, Im not happy with it and Im within the warranty period. I have my receipt and I want my money back". He put me on hold for about 5 minutes, came back and said if I brought it "right now" he'd do it. Damn skippy, I was there in 15 minutes with the failing/failed Optima.

    I then went to my local Toyota Dealer and with a 10% off coupon from their website, purchased the YUASA OEM battery.

    I monitor my bus voltage and wouldnt you know it - since I got the YUASA, the standing voltage is never UNDER 12.8v, sometimes higher. When running, the voltage ranges from 12.7-13.4v. The Optima was always charging at 14.4v+. The Prius was trying desperately to put a charge in the Optima, and my mpg's took a hit.

    My advice: Keep a close eye on that new Optima. If its resting charge drops below 12.8v, return it for a refund and go to your Toyota dealership. You'll be glad you did.
    Britprius likes this.