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Major Geek
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Happy Holidays all.. I'm on my annual trek to Central Florida for the holidays. I was too far for an oil change at home, so I got one once I arrived. Bill Ray Nissan in Longwood. Apparently, none of the Nissan dealers down here have a no-appointment drive-in oil change shop like we do up north. But when I called, they said to come by any time and they will squeeze me into their schedule. Nice folks.

Well, you know how dealers have some unwritten rule that they're not allowed to call you to pick up your car without telling you that something else is wrong with it? Apparently, the Florida summer heat does something to cars and Bill Ray makes it a point to do a 100-point inspection on every car that enters the shop. They say they found a dead cell in the battery. Its only putting out 12.4v and 312 cranking amps instead of the regular 14v and 490(?) cranking amps. I had them change out the battery as opposed to risking breaking down somewhere between Florida and Philly, but does that sound right for a Feb '03 purchase and 52k miles? I've been very, very good about returning to the dealer for service on time. I wonder if they have simply slacked off on checking the water levels in the battery, thus killing a cell. And I did notice that the dash was flickering just a teeny bit upon arriving in Florida, and I have had the alternator upgrade, so a dying battery would not be entirely out of the question.

When I read over the invoice, I saw the text "Customer stated that the car must be jumped every morning." I freaked out and called the service manager over, thinking that someone entered that text which led them to "find" a problem with the battery. They calmed me down and showed me how when they enter the code for "dead battery" in the system, that's the text that automatically comes up. They can change it to read whatever they want, but they rarely do. I may write a letter (as a business and IT consultant) that they may find benefit in creating new codes for problems they discover with their free 100-point check, without the customer indicating any problems. I know as a service manager, *I'd* like to know when a free service I automatically perform generates additional revenue. That tells me the process is worth it.

All in all, I was satisfied with the service there, just a little freaked. Oh, and they threw in a car wash upon request, and reset my tires to 35psi all the way around, thus clearing my TPMS flat tire alarm. We'll see what happens when I get back up north in the cold weather. He also warned me that the front tires are down to the "wear indicators"(?) and that the treadwear is indicating the need for an alignment. Looks like I'll have some more work to do when I get back home, including making a final decision on the replacement tires.
 

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Anything around 3 years is living on borrowed time for an OEM battery. I suppose mine is "any time now".
 

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Hmmmm. Something doesn't sound quite right. But, then again, I am skeptical about anything that is said at a car dealership.

A standard car battery puts out 12.6 volts when the engine is off.

A good rule of thumb is as follows:

12.6 volts = 100% charge at 80F
12.4 = 75%
12.2 = 50%
12.1 = 25%
11.9 = discharged

My questions would have been: How did they test the battery? Did they use a hydrometer to determine which cell was bad?

Regardless, if the battery was going bad, I would have replaced it with a non-OEM battery - Interstate, DieHard, etc.

By the way, I too would have been annoyed if I read "Customer stated that the car must be jumped every morning." Just take the time and type in the correct description.

Good luck.

-njjoe
 

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I think with a dead cell, your car wouldn't even start. And to have it replaced with another lousy Nissan battery, you'll be in the shop having it replaced in three years again.
 

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Suspicions aside I would be not surprised if the battery was quitting. My lasted just over 2 years and 44k miles. I would not go with OEM battery. I got Duralast-Gold Battery. $75.99 + tax. CCA 640/800 - much better than OEM. 3 years full replacement/8 years prorated (what ever it is worth) warranty. It took me 10 min to replace it. Now even with all lights on there is no dimming whatsoever when starting! I am happy.
 

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EasternPA said:
I've been very, very good about returning to the dealer for service on time. I wonder if they have simply slacked off on checking the water levels in the battery, thus killing a cell.
My dealer told me they check the battery only on scheduled service intervals, i.e. 15K, 30K,45K, etc.... but not during other visits.
 

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I agree with Eric; the perfect symptom of a dead cell is slightly low voltage but almost no amperage.....in my experiance. Usually you can jump a car off (like the dealer's puter says) with a dead cell, and it will run till you turn it off, but upon recrank--u'll get the dreaded click-click-click of the solenoid and no cranky.
 

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I agree. When my battery died I could not start the car = dead cell. But once jumped it was OK.

A dead cell creates high resistance so you can see voltage but there is almost no current (Mr. Ohm at work!...;) ).

This is the reason that dealer software auto-generate statement: "Customer stated that the car must be jumped every morning." A kind of expert system......missused in this case though.
 

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I don't know about you fellas but I've always had great luck with OEM batteries. My previous Nissan had the OEM battery for 10 years.... my wifes OEM batter is going on 7 years (75K miles), my fathers Nissan still has the original OEM battery and its a year model 1990!

I will always get an OEM replacement given my results.
 

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Major Geek
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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for all the feedback. Great board as always. Its unfortunate that it was already done by the time I posted. I, too, didn't like the thought of another high-maint battery, but 1,000 miles from home, they had me by the.. well, you know. Perhaps I should have at least asked to witness the test. He did offer to put the old one back in if I didn't believe him.

If I get another 3 years out of the $110 I spent on it, then I'll be okay with it. Last time I had major work done on vaca involved changing out the transmission on my 4x4 Jimmy at a dealer. I got home and my local dealer said every seal was leaking on the new trans. I replied, "and THAT'S why I had a dealer do it. Replace it for free and call me when its done." So they did.
 

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I found some interesting information in the 2005 Service Manual concerning the MO's battery.

The standard battery is a 52 AH battery with 582 Cold Cranking Amps (CCA).

However, if you have the Intelligent Key, then your MO is equipped with a more powerful battery - 64 AH and 720 CCA. That's 25% more CCAs.

I don't have the Intelligent Key (wish I did) and cannot understand why Nissan sees fit to install a larger battery on those vehicles. I can't see why a more powerful battery is required.

Can someone shed some light on this?

-njjoe
 

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i'm asumming more electronics to run and just incase someone decides to put in an auto car starter. we had to replace my grandpa's battery the other day in his 05 sentra. the little bat was almost running dry. i personally hate water batteries and rather spend the extra couple bucks for a maintence free to give you that extra peice of mind. apperantly the sentra's can house much larger batteries so we put one in that's almost twice the sice with almost twice the CCA's.total cost was $96CDN
 

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nissanlove said:
i'm asumming more electronics to run and just incase someone decides to put in an auto car starter. we had to replace my grandpa's battery the other day in his 05 sentra. the little bat was almost running dry. i personally hate water batteries and rather spend the extra couple bucks for a maintence free to give you that extra peice of mind. apperantly the sentra's can house much larger batteries so we put one in that's almost twice the sice with almost twice the CCA's.total cost was $96CDN
I got some news for you. A maintenance-free battery is a water battery. The key difference is the caps are replaced with vents. Under certain conditions, a maintenance-free battery can still run dry.

Unless it is a very expensive gel battery, the maintenence-free battery in your Sentra is a water battery.

-njjoe
 

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well i'm sure it can still run dry. there has to be some kind of liquid medium for the current to pass through. i think mine has sulfuric acid or something and there is no vent on it. there's just some little window that shows green.
 

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njjoe said:


I got some news for you. A maintenance-free battery is a water battery. The key difference is the caps are replaced with vents. Under certain conditions, a maintenance-free battery can still run dry.

Unless it is a very expensive gel battery, the maintenence-free battery in your Sentra is a water battery.

-njjoe
You are right. In fact in harsh climates, a maintenance battery will often last longer than a maintenance free since you can add water to it if required.

However with gel batteries available, I'm not sure why anyone would go "cheap" and get a normal water battery.
 
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