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Hi All,
My 2001 RAV4 is a lil over 4 yrs old now. I have noticed that the starter struggles a bit in the mornings to start the engine. Perhaps the battery is on its way out. Is it a strain on the alternator/starter if I delay replacing the battery? How long have your batteries lasted? Since the battery is not easily accessible, I havent bothered trying to open the cowl to see if there are any indicators on the battery. that might tell me to go replace the battery right away.
For those of you who have replaced their batteries, what brand and where? Did you do it at the dealership or a Sears/NTB/Pepboys kind of place. What is the min CCA rating we need for the RAV?
Thanks!
Ravster
 

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The average life of a car battery is about 3 years, however in my experience OEM batteries tend to last slightly longer than aftermarket ones. A car battery can last anywhere from six months to ten years depending on many factors, including how often the vehicle is driven, the number of starts, load on the battery, and number of discharge/charge cycles. If you have an alarm or aftermarket electronic equipment it will shorten the life of the battery.

So if your battery has lasted over 4 years, that's pretty good, and I wouldn't be surprised if it is time for a new one. Some batteries last longer; the OEM battery in my parents' Subaru lasted 9 years before it finally kicked the bucket. The battery in my '01 Rav4 is only two years old, because the dealer replaced the orginal one when I bought the Rav two years ago. So I really can't compare mine to yours even though our Ravs are the same year.

The first thing you should do is go to local auto parts store or service center and have them perform a test on the battery and electrical system. This is a very simple test, they just hook up a computer to your electricl system to run diagnostics. It only takes a few minutes, and most places (such as AutoZone or PepBoys) do it for free. Odds are that it's probably the battery, but it's good to get it tested just in case it's something else like a bad relay or solenoid.

As for the batteries themselves, the Rav takes a group 35 size battery, with reverse top-mount posts. Most places carry them as it is a common size.

The best by far is Optima, but they are expensive, and most people don't need them. I would only suggest an Optima if you have a lot of battery-draining accessories. Exide also makes a battery similar to the Optima, called the Orbital.

For conventional batteries, Exide and DuraLast are some of the best, and they have the best warranties.

Honestly, brand name doesn't make a huge difference, because one brand of batteries can be produced by many different manufacturers. For example, batteries sold under the Sears Die Hard name are made by a dozen different manufacturers.

When you look for a battery, you want to try to find the battery with the highest CCA rating (cold cranking amps) for the size that fits your car, and also a good warranty, such as 60 months or more. For the Rav you want a minimum CCA of 500.
 

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Thanks for the input, Jeff!

Well..as I suspected, the battery was totally dead while heading back home last nite. It was raining hard and the security guys at work gave me a jump start and I headed to walmart . They had a stock battery for 40 bucks with free installation, but werent taking any more vehicles. Lucklily I had left the engine running and went to Pep boys where they installed ProStart Premium (18/72 warrantly) for $70 including installation charges ($6).
It was no fun opening the battery cowling with a penny coin in the driving rain in the middle of the parking lot! I hope Toyota has done a better job with the battery access in the 2005 Rav4 :|
Ravster
 
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Consumer Reports

Check out the October 2005 Consumer Reports. They are rating car batteries.
 

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Thanks

Thanks for the heads-up on the CR battery report, parkwaycruiser.

My OEM battery is almost 5 years old. Along with a coolant change, a Toyota dealer svc dept will check the battery tomorrow (part of a winterization coupon special). I wanted to check out the battery in advance, so I'd know a little something if they call me at work and advise replacing it. It was only a minor struggle with one fastener (I'd removed them one other time). Lo and behold, the battery does have a little viewing window, and a nice color code legend alongside it. My battery is showing blue, which means OK. Good. I also wiped everything clean, so the tech would know I'd been there, and be less likely to waste my time trying to sell me something I don't need. Don't know this service dept, don't know if I can trust them.

Funny, the battery is called no-maintenance, but one of the reads (clear) in the indicator calls for adding water. And there are six accesses to do this. So why is it called no-maintenance?

I always turn off all my power equipment before shutting off the engine, to ease the load on the battery the next time I start my RAV. I've heard people say that Toyota puts in a pretty good, long-life battery. I wonder how long this OEM battery might last?

RAV on.
 

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Ravster, I know the feeling of changing the batter in rav4. I have to change my 4yrs old battery today, too. It died on me today, so I bought the $59.99 one from Pepboy. The car wouldnt start, but the horn and sound system were still working. I thought if the battery is dead, none of that will work.

I have a question about the battery. I connected my remote wireless fog light directly to the battery. Will that effect the battery life? I connected the red wire to the positive part of the battery, and the ground wire to the frame of the car.
 

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HooH said:
Ravster, I know the feeling of changing the batter in RAV4. I have to change my 4yrs old battery today, too. It died on me today, so I bought the $59.99 one from Pepboy. The car wouldnt start, but the horn and sound system were still working. I thought if the battery is dead, none of that will work.

I have a question about the battery. I connected my remote wireless fog light directly to the battery. Will that effect the battery life? I connected the red wire to the positive part of the battery, and the ground wire to the frame of the car.
How did you connect a wireless foglight directly to the battery if it was wireless?? :twisted:

Anyway, if you correctly wired everything, there is no problem directly connecting to the battery if you choose to do so. Your alternator, fuse box, and aftermarket stereo all draw power directly from the battery. It should have no negative effect on battery life.

If you want an awesome battery look into Odyssey batteries. I do not know if there is an application that fits the Rav4, but these are the drycell, deepcycle batteries that will out last practically any other battery and provide more cranking power for its size compared to other companies. They make good stuff. Another similar company is Optima, but I have heard that they do not last as long as Odysseys.

As for CCA, I would shoot for anywhere between 600 and 800 as a nominal amount. Anything less, isn't worth it in the cold. I always buy batteries with at least 800 CCA to avoid any cold morning starting problems
 
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