We are about to settle down for the winter here in Akron, Ohio. Usually that means putting the winter wheels/tires on our vehicles, making sure the major work is done to your car and also putting some warm clothes in the trunk just in case a breakdown occurs. One thing that is often overlooked, until it is too late, is your battery.
Optima Batteries has been one of the leaders in this category, mainly because they are well known for their fully sealed, anti-vibration build. When you buy an Optima, you first off have to realize they are not as cheap as your run of the mill Pep Boys battery. Add at least $50 and go up from there - so when Optima is on your radar, be prepared to pay more. You are getting more though from Optima. First off you get free replacement for 3 years, that of course is if you don't abuse or misuse the battery. Second, you are getting a fully sealed battery. Which means battery acid won't ever leak out. Sometimes this is a must have for custom applications. Third, Optima Battery coils are tightly wrapped with what they call SpiralCell Technology. Basically, it won't vibrate or break down as fast as a standard battery. Put all that together, without getting crazy technical, and you have yourself a great product.
One of our in house vehicles, a 2007 Trailblazer SS, was in need of a battery before the weather got too cold. This is not one of the easier batteries to replace, but it also isn't the worst I've ever seen.
The Trailblazer somewhat hides the battery on the drivers side, towards the front of the vehicle. First step is removing the plastic trim piece that runs across the front support. A few pins and some random bolts - this part is pretty simple.
After the plastic trim is removed, you now have access to the black support bar that covers the battery and cover. Two larger bolts at the ends, and one smaller one down at the base of the battery are removed, then the bar can come out.
Once the bar is removed, you are able to break loose the battery connections. I always do negative first and I am sure there is a proper procedure or reason to do one over the other first. Basically, be safe and take proper precautions when working with any batteries.... With the connections loose, the box/cover can be wiggled up and out. There is a vent hose hooked to the front as you can see above. Either remove it from the box or front end, ours just popped off the box. Easy to put back on during reassembly.
There is a tiny block bolted behind the battery, on the backside/vehicle cabin side. This is to secure the backside of your battery. For the Optima, this is removed and not resused, as Optima gives you a new one that is battery specific.
After all that, you can carefully lift out the old battery. Sitting them next to each other, you can see a few differences in build quality, size and shape. Most notably, the Optima doesn't have the large quantity of liquid sloshing around inside. It uses a different type of technology where the cells wick a small amount of liquid. The case is fully sealed too, which allows no leakage.
After admiring our new battery, not something you do everyday, the Optima is lowered in place. The block I mentioned above is fitted to the Optima "Six Pack" shape so it is held in place. On the TBSS, there is also a lip towards the front it slides under. Installation is reverse order of everything I spoke of above. With the Trailblazer having the weird plastic case, I was nervous the Optima shape wouldn't clear or fit. Installation had no issues and it fit like a glove.
After all that talk about such a nice product, build quality, etc - The Optima Red Top is almost totally hidden in the Trailblazer. This isn't a show car though, so it doesn't really matter. I've seen some pretty impressive aftermarket mounts for the Optima, but like I said, we won't be popping the hood at the local Pop's Cruise-In anytime soon with this vehicle.
- A few notes and random things I've found from owning Optima Batteries over the years -
- Optima has a specific warranty that is fairly simple to use if necessary, just make sure you follow procedures and also keep your receipts. Click Here For Warranty Info
- Rumor has it, Amazon has never been an authorized dealer. I've heard stories where people have purchased from Amazon and had trouble doing a warranty exchange. Be sure to buy from a valid reseller - AutoZone, Summit Racing, etc.
- Quality - Optima has been labeled online by some as falling off with quality in recent years. Personally, I have never had Optima issues. This is not my first Optima and will not be my last. They have lasted for many years and started our different vehicles reliably over and over again.
- Charging - Be sure to use the correct charger and method when hooking your Optima up in the winter or whenever. We use small trickle chargers in our garage, but Optima now has a line of nice looking chargers.
For more information on which battery is best for your application or just to do some research, please visit Optima Batteries