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I recently took my Toyota Corolla in to a dealer-based service center for a wheel bearing replacement. They took the liberty of also testing my battery for some reason, and told me that it did not pass the test. They quoted me around $150 for the factory Toyota battery, but told me that other third party batteries could cost less.

My question is, are there any major differences between a stock factory (in this case, Toyota) battery, or a different third party battery?

This dealer is known for scare-tactic style things. They tried to do this with my brake rotors, telling me they would pass inspection but were dangerously rusted. My Dad and I confirmed that they're actually fine. I do believe the battery test, as the car is 10 years old at this point, and I don't know if the battery was ever changed.

  • I'd question their testing process if something that is dangerously rusted passes – BadAtMaths Aug 12 '16 at 14:03
  • @BadAtMaths Agreed. I had the rotors replaced when the car was bought in 2012, and while there is some rust build up, there's no noticeable noises when braking. – Kaizerwolf Aug 12 '16 at 14:09
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No. This is one of the oldest tricks in the book.

When I worked for BMW North America, I was in charge of battery field service. I took a trip to the Deta Douglas battery plant, manufacturing BMW branded batteries in the US, to be used in place of "BMW" Varta from Europe. There are very few actual battery plants left, as working with lead and acid is never a first career choice...

The difference between Diehard Silver and Diehard Gold? (which were made by either Johnson Controls (aka Interstate) or Exide) . . .

Nothing. Well, one thing... the Price!

The battery construction and chemistry are the same. The stickers and decorations are fancier. The price is higher, but the warranty is extended. Instead of 12 replaced and 24 more prorated, you might see 18 months replaced and 42 more prorated.

There are no OEMs that make their own batteries, at least that I know of. They get somebody else to do it (Johnson Controls, Douglass, Exide) with their own colors and branding.

With a dealer branded battery, price is liable to be three times as much, with a warranty more limited than a quality (I'm fond of Instersate) "aftermarket" battery. In fact, OEMs are looking to sell a car, not give you a 5-year battery. Battery aftersales have a different agenda.

Only in cases of extremely odd battery shapes and capacities would I consider dealer replacement.

  • my thoughts exactly... – Old_Fossil Aug 13 '16 at 4:49
  • Thanks for the info! I'll be better prepared for it when the time comes to change the battery. – Kaizerwolf Aug 13 '16 at 16:03
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It would make no difference with aftermarket or car dealer. Battery manufacturers make the exact same batteries for both. The only difference is the car manufacturer puts their label on it and charges the customer a lot more than the car parts place down the road. Personally I avoid car dealers like the plague and an honest mechanic recommended by friends. If the battery at the parts is identical in voltage, current capacity, cranking amps, and dimensions for your car. Buy it..

As for rusty rotors brake pads and the process of braking are wonderful rust removers.

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