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Learn your AC Delco battery date codes, or get screwed...
Now that some people are having trouble with Optima batteries (there are several threads on various forums), I decided to replace my dead battery with an AC Delco OEM battery.
I went to my local Chevy dealer to get a new battery for the Z. They said they had some that would fit the Z and lucky me, they were on sale. I got one and put it on a trickle charger to get charged to the max before installation. It took a day and a half to charge all the way up, so I got suspicious.
I went to the AC Delco website and found out that the date of manufacture code is a P or S (not significant) the month MM, the year Y and a letter R or G for place of manufacture. The code on my battery was P115G or November of 2005.
Most everything I read about batteries said to buy one that is less than 6 months old, because they start sulfating. Less than 3 months is ideal.
I called the dealer in advance and explained to them that I wanted to exchange my "new" one year old battery for a fresh one. He looked up my car and said, "Come on down. We have the right AC Delco battery in stock but they are not on sale, you have to pay the difference".
When I get there the guy takes the first battery I got, back; does all the paper work, and sends me to the cashier to pay the difference (total price close to $100 dollars). I do all this and he comes out of the back with a factory plastic wrapped AC Delco battery. I look at the date stamp and it says P053R. As we have learned the P doesn't stand for anything the 05 stands for MAY and the 3 stands for 2003 ! I asked the guy about it and he said "yea, there is a stack of them, and they are all the same". I said "look at the 'green eye' do you see any green?" he said "no it's black". I asked do you know that means this battery is TOTALLY discharged?" he went in the back and when he came out he said "they are all the same". I asked for my money back and I left.
These dealers are a class act; aren't they?
Happy ending though. Found a dealer that had one with a code of P106R.
What does that mean class?.... Yes. It was made last month
Another reason to get a battery that is only a few months old is that Delco redesigned the side terminal battery to reduce leakage around the terminals. They just changed to the new design this year, and offer a better warranty.
50 month free replacement on 7 year models.
I had battery go bad that was about a year old, the local parts store did not have any 6 year batteries like the one I had, so they gave me a 7 year battery to replace it.
Also, I don't know how the difference could be $100 on any Delco battery. I have never paid more than about $1.00 for every month of rated battery life.
Thanks for the post!! My battery failed last week just before putting the car away for the winter. I used my Bonneville's battery till the Vette got put away for the winter. Next spring I'll be checking on the date codes thanks to you.
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