12v Battery

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Re: 12v Battery

Post by drcdb15 » Tue Apr 04, 2017 5:54 pm

ScimmyMike wrote:, same 5 year warranty
Can I just raise a general 'alert' about these fine-sounding warranties? Mod, you may like to move this to a new thread as it's perhaps going off topic a bit. Anyway...

Regular readers will know that I'm more than a tad miffed to find the battery on MB61 died without warning recently, after only 16 months' service. It has in it's short life been mollycoddled - perhaps a tad too much - with trickle chargers, being kept in the warm garage, disconnected while standing or charging, regularly charged by running the car either on a run or in the yard every 10-14 days, etc etc - in other words, 'trying to do the right thing'.

Despite this, it died after just 16 months - but no worries, it has a 4-year guarantee, if only I can find the original receipt and paperwork... and... ah, yes, here it is. But wait, what's this in the small print? The warranty does NOT cover 'sulfation'. Hmm, I wonder what that means, exactly... so some internet research produced this: 85% of lead acid battery failures are essentially down to sulfation (http://jgdarden.com/batteryfaq/carfaq16.htm).

But how can I tell if my battery is sulfated or not? Well the supplier (Alpha Batteries) helpfully offers 'return the battery to us and we'll test it'. Oh good, a nice impartial analysis there, then... Or, if I get it tested locally, I can send them the test certificate. Now I don't know about you, but here where I live I am spoilt for choice, there are so many test labs around they're like nail bars, ooh, within 5 miles of my front door there must be at least... NONE!

OK, let's look at sending the battery back to Alpha for their impartial test - their web site says they can collect it by courier, but at what cost? So, I phoned them up to ask: answer "well we can do it for about £20 but just get a courier to take it, it'll be about a tenner" [and Alpha, if you're reading this, I taped the call so I know *exactly* what was said]. Only a tenner? Well, what a bargain - but before I hurry off to my local post office, I think I'll just do a wee check...

Collect Plus, my preferred choice - won't take anything over 10kg - and the 097 battery weighs 14kg without any packaging! So they're out.

The Post Office - medium parcel - up to 20kgs - success! Oh, but no - wet acid batteries are "prohibited items" even if you can find the transit plugs you removed when you bought the battery over a year ago.

I know - Yodel. They delivered my new battery, so they *must* take batteries... but they don't unless you're a registered Dangerous Goods shipper and have a contract wit them.

OK, so poor old Joe Public is going to have a problem sending the battery back - but suppose he could? Suppose he really could find a courier - would it really cost 'a tenner' ? I regularly compare prices between Collect Plus and the post office, and although Collect Plus is frequently cheaper, it's not by much. So the post office is a reasonably good guide to what a courier would charge, just knock off about 10%.

A 14kg battery, packaged to let's say 15kg, counts as a 'medium parcel' under 20Kg - cost: £28.55.

So, even if you *can* find a courier to take your dead battery, it's going to cost you around £25, and then it will be tested BY THE VERY PEOPLE WHO SOLD IT TO YOU, and even if they really *are* impartial, there's still an 85% probability that the battery has failed due to a cause not covered by the warranty anyway. In other words:


Do NOT be swayed by any warranty given by a mail order supplier - it is completely meaningless. The only way you can enforce a warranty will be if you can cost-effectively take the failed battery in person to the supplier - your local factor or whatever. And even then, the odds are stacked against you that the failure will be down to something you can actually prove *and* which is covered.

MB61; formerly 1978 SE6A 3.5 V8; 1986 SE6B 2.9 EFi.

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Re: 12v Battery

Post by scimjim » Tue Apr 04, 2017 6:05 pm

Which is why I use Halfords (with trade card) as I've swapped several batteries just before the warranty expires without any problems - and have a selection of receipts on the cork board in the kitchen :-)

Jim King

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Re: 12v Battery

Post by peter freeman » Tue Apr 04, 2017 6:31 pm

I also buy batteries from Halfords - only had one fail after three years on a four year warranty - changed it no problem.

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Re: 12v Battery

Post by Roger Pennington » Tue Apr 04, 2017 7:16 pm

I would have no hesitation in buying batteries from Halfords, if I had a trade card. I don't, though, so both my current GTE batteries came from Tayna. Excellent service both times, and not much over half the price. But I accept that it's a gamble - if they don't last four years, I will have lost (though not much, as the replacement will still be cheaper than full retail). :)


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Re: 12v Battery

Post by ScimmyMike » Wed Apr 05, 2017 12:40 am

Yeah, postage, warrany, whatever, Tayna are only in Abergele, I'll just drop it off on my many travels, (I have sites in North Wales as it happens for the next 8 years) I was actually just stating that they said 5 year warranty (probably manufacturers NOT suppliers) to indicate I was comparing apples with apples and not with pears, not buying because of it, my GTE had a Varta fitted and that with my typical usage has lasted 8 years and still going strong when it was sold and I've had many decent brands last 10 years of more so not in the slightest bit worried, it's only £60 at the end of the day!

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Re: 12v Battery

Post by Nigel Clark » Wed Apr 05, 2017 8:11 pm

+1 for Halfords.

And if anything goes wrong, they're local. Just make sure to keep the receipt.


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