I think I have seen over 100 posts now on a 12v battery that has died in a Prius and what one should replace it. Prius owners seem to believe that the dealer is the worst option, but is it?
I made a 4-way comparison on AGM Prius batteries looking at warranty and cost. Here is what I came up with and what battery I think you should put in your Prius.
Toyota Truestart AGM OE Battery
Dealerships sometimes get a bad rap, but the thing is, have you looked into what they are offering? When it comes to a 12v replacement battery for your Prius, they are on the high end of price, but what are you getting?
The Truestart option for Prius comes with an 84-month warranty. Out of all the batteries that I reviewed, this is the best warranty for a few reasons. First, it has a 24-month FREE replacement warranty with an additional prorated 60-month warranty on top of that.
The other thing is (and this is in the fine print) the warranty on this battery includes a FREE tow to the dealership specifically to replace the 12v should that be the issue. Plus, you are getting a battery that is made for your Prius.
The cost? $231.41 MSRP, which should translate to around $250 once installed and after taxes when you turn in your core. So how do the others stack up? We will see.
Optima Yellow Top AGM Battery
When Optima batteries came to market, they were for sure better. Overtime, Optima has failed to live up to those standards they once set and now warranty everything they see. Not a great business model.
Optima warranty is a 24-month free replacement (according to the website). You get no prorated warranty either. Coming in at the highest price of $249.99 MSRP, this battery for what you get is seriously overvalued.
I do not care what Optima says on their website about it "can last up to 3x longer" I have replaced more yellow top batteries in Prius than I care to mention. This battery was the first loser in my book, no question. You do not get what you pay for here.
The Super Start Platinum Battery O'reilly
Slightly better on the price coming in at a $199.99 MSRP with core exchange, this battery seems reasonable for the price. However, the devil is in the details with this one.
The 36-month warranty only gives you a 12-month free replacement and a 24 month prorated. That is all fine and good, but most of the AGM batteries far exceed that warranty lifespan, so this battery warranty is basically useless.
In a pinch, maybe, or if you were selling the car and wanted to get your customer on the way, sure, it is cheaper, but cheaper is not always better.
NAPA Legend Premium AGM
This battery is the price winner. Coming in at an MSRP of $194.99 with core, before taxes, it is the lowest cost battery out of the 4.
The warranty on this one surprised me, 75 months. 18 months free replacement and a 57-month proration give you more than the other two aftermarket batteries.
The Toyota Truestart battery is the winner. It may be more money, but you get the best warranty, and if it dies, you get a free tow to the dealership to get another installed. With over 1200 locations across the nation, you seriously cannot go wrong with this.
The Truestart also offers the correct internal resistance, which is critical for battery health and longevity. One of the reasons that the Optima is not a great option is they cannot get the internal resistance correct.
The close second would be the NAPA because of the warranty and the price point; it is a good option. Anyway, I hope this clears up a lot of misinformation floating around, and you can now make an informed decision.
Thank you, and I hope your weekend is fantastic. See you in the next article; The automotive industry is changing and solid state battery tech is the reason.
Check out this wild new battery tech that Tesla has and why it will forever change the auto industry.
Peter Neilson is an automotive consultant specializing in electric cars and hybrid battery technologies. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Automotive Service Technology from Weber State University. Peter can be reached on Linkedin and you can tweet him at The_hybrid_guy on Twitter. Find his page on Facebook at Certified Auto Consulting. Read more of Peter's stories at Toyota news coverage on Torque News. Search Toyota Prius Torque News for more in depth Prius coverage from our reporters.