Since I moved to downtown Dickinson a couple of years ago, I began buying car parts from NAPA because it is not very far from where I live. I noticed that the prices at NAPA are higher than Checker O’rielly, CarQuest, AutoZone, Runnings, Menards, and WalMart. I continued to go to NAPA, because it saved me the trouble of having to drive across town.
In October of 2018 I bought a large pickup truck battery from NAPA in Dickinson. This battery was 1,050 cranking amps, 850 cold cranking amps, and it cost about $158. I believe in buying the highest capacity battery that will actually fit in a vehicle, over and above the minimum required cranking amps for that vehicle, that way, if the battery is ever working at less than 100%, it will still have enough cranking amps to run the engine starter.
On Saturday I tried to start the truck that I had put this new NAPA battery in back in October of 2018. This battery was dead, and when I looked at this battery, I could see that both ends of the battery case were bowed out from the battery being frozen. Once a battery becomes frozen, it is usually completely ruined.
This new battery should not have gone bad, and it should not have frozen like this. Yes, when a battery becomes discharged, it is more likely to freeze, but this new battery should not have become so discharged that it froze like this.
If you want an explanation of how and why a car battery can freeze in the winter, here is a good article https://www.farmandfleet.com/blog/frozen-battery/ . From this article, here is a chart that shows how a battery is more likely to freeze when it is not fully charged.
Source: BCI Service Manual ©1995
In Dickinson, the coldest that it got down to this winter was about -30 degrees Fahrenheit. From the above chart, using the math formula for linear interpolation, at -30 degrees Fahrenheit, this car battery should not have frozen until it had less than 69% full charge. I don’t doubt that this car battery had less than 69% charge, but it should not have been this discharged.
Here is the way that I look at it, I currently own eleven vehicles, and I have owned this many vehicles for the past ten years. All eleven vehicles go through the spring, summer, fall, winter temperature cycles. For these eleven vehicles, over the past ten years I have replaced every battery at least once, that’s at least twenty-two batteries that I have dealt with in the past ten years, batteries from different manufacturers. In this time, I have only ever had about three or four frozen batteries, which always occurred on a battery that was four, five, or six years old, and on a vehicle that was not being driven.
I don’t think that it is normal or reasonable for a five month old battery to freeze in North Dakota on vehicle that is being driven. If this were the case, everyone in North Dakota would have to replace their vehicle battery every year.
On Saturday afternoon, I removed this five month old battery from my truck and I took it back to the NAPA store in downtown Dickinson where I bought it, along with the receipt. The female parts person at the counter said that they would not warranty this battery because it was frozen. I said to her that I know it is frozen, it shouldn’t be frozen, a five month old battery shouldn’t freeze like this.
I argued with the female parts person, and there was no manager at the store. I said that I would come back when the manager was there on Monday, or that I would call the regional manager.
I was going to try to explain to the manager at NAPA, or the regional manager of NAPA, that for more than ten years, I have owned many vehicles at the same time, and I don’t have to replace new vehicle batteries after five months, maybe after four, five, or six years, but not at five months. But then I thought to myself, I don’t want a replacement NAPA battery, so why even waste my time arguing with them.
I made up my mind that I will never buy another car battery from NAPA because they freeze even when new, and NAPA doesn’t warranty this. But even if NAPA did warranty this, why would I want another battery from NAPA because they freeze even when they are new. I will also try to not ever buy anything from NAPA again.
Local people in Dickinson, the manager of NAPA, and the regional manager of NAPA probably will not agree with me about what I am explaining, so here is a much better explanation about NAPA batteries from someone else: https://www.contractortalk.com/f41/napa-batteries-never-again-379305/