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Email sent to Optima Batteries:
Q: Just wanted to clarify what JCWhitney has at their site.. They indicate that the “yellow” top optima battery will work for the 2011 Nissan Juke.. is this true?.. your recommendations?..
Hello!
The Yellow Top D35 is listed as a direct fit replacment for your 2011 Nissan Juke.

Thank you,
Mary Jo
Optima Customer Service

 

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OK Cool. Thanks
 

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Yellow Top is a deep cycle. I wouldn't recommend using the yellow top as a cranking battery. I'd get a Red Top D35 instead. They are designed for cranking. If you were running a multi-battery set up I'd run the red top closest to the starter then a yellow top in the trunk. I ran dual yellow top in my truck and ran into issues, swapped my engine bay battery to a red top and the issues disappeared.
 

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Anyone running the Optima color top batteries in their Juke?

Red top - 8020-164
Yellow top - 8040-218
 

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I ran an Optima Red in my Nismo Frontier. I never had an issue with it. I'm running a Diehard Platinum in my Xterra right now, haven't had an issue with it either.


That having been said, I went against the grain when purchasing it. Apparently, Optima was sold off to a different company and the batteries are now produced in Mexico to far lower standards than they used to be. I'm not sure if this is just anti-Mexican production sentiment, or if there is any truth to it. Like I said, I never have had an issue; but the internet is absolutely littered with stories of new optima batteries failing at less than a year or barely over - far more so than other battery brands it seems.


When I change my Juke's battery (sooner than latter, the OEM Nissan batteries seem to start leaking around the posts at about year two), I plan on getting an Odyssey battery. Apparently they are ridiculous, downright bulletproof and will last the life of the vehicle basically guaranteed. Pretty sure it's what the military uses in all of their vehicles. Pricey though.
 

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Very good reviews for the Odyssey. Thank you for this.

 

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The Optimas are not as tall as the Lead Acids. Your Battery hold down will not fit from my experience with my 2012 and a Red Top.
 

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Hello, I noticed your conversation involving our batteries. While it's a bit dated, since Joe bumped it back to the top, I thought I would address some of the comments. Mary Jo is as correct today as she was nine years ago about a D35 YellowTop being a direct-fit replacement for the Juke. The YellowTop is a dual-purpose battery, designed for both starting and deep-cycle use and it has plenty of cranking amps to turn over a 1.6-liter (I use a YellowTop to start my 7.4-liter truck engine). If you are into car audio, a YellowTop is a better option than a RedTop. If your Juke is stock, a Group 35 RedTop will work just fine.

The internet has been littered with false rumors about the demise of Optima since we started selling batteries and as the biggest AGM battery brand in the world, the target on our back is bigger than ever. We own our production facility in Mexico, that is the only place we make our batteries and they are the only batteries produced there. If there were any truth to rumors about quality issues, we'd lose our biggest customers, who test our batteries before buying any, before we sold them a single battery. You can take a virtual tour of our production facility here- Tour the OPTIMA Batteries Plant

We hear a lot of people throw around the “bulletproof” label to describe products, but we decided to put that description to the test with our batteries. We've done it before, but we don't need a lot of arm-twisting to go make loud noises-

To address the other comments, if you can find a battery with a lifetime guarantee, buy it. Optima batteries are lead-acid batteries. All of our RedTops & YellowTops come with various adapters that can be used to make them taller or wider, as needed for fitment.

Jim McIlvaine
eCare Manager, OPTIMA Batteries
www.pinterest.com/optimabatteries
 

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Hello, I noticed your conversation involving our batteries. While it's a bit dated, since Joe bumped it back to the top, I thought I would address some of the comments. Mary Jo is as correct today as she was nine years ago about a D35 YellowTop being a direct-fit replacement for the Juke. The YellowTop is a dual-purpose battery, designed for both starting and deep-cycle use and it has plenty of cranking amps to turn over a 1.6-liter (I use a YellowTop to start my 7.4-liter truck engine). If you are into car audio, a YellowTop is a better option than a RedTop. If your Juke is stock, a Group 35 RedTop will work just fine.

The internet has been littered with false rumors about the demise of Optima since we started selling batteries and as the biggest AGM battery brand in the world, the target on our back is bigger than ever. We own our production facility in Mexico, that is the only place we make our batteries and they are the only batteries produced there. If there were any truth to rumors about quality issues, we'd lose our biggest customers, who test our batteries before buying any, before we sold them a single battery. You can take a virtual tour of our production facility here- Tour the OPTIMA Batteries Plant

We hear a lot of people throw around the “bulletproof” label to describe products, but we decided to put that description to the test with our batteries. We've done it before, but we don't need a lot of arm-twisting to go make loud noises-

To address the other comments, if you can find a battery with a lifetime guarantee, buy it. Optima batteries are lead-acid batteries. All of our RedTops & YellowTops come with various adapters that can be used to make them taller or wider, as needed for fitment.

Jim McIlvaine
eCare Manager, OPTIMA Batteries
www.pinterest.com/optimabatteries
Jim,

Since Johnson Controls sold Optima and it became part of Clarios, has there been any technology transfer with fellow Brookfield company Westinghouse? Any new innovations on the horizon (lithium)? Have you seen any synergies or economies of scale with Clarios that we might see a benefit from?
 

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Hello, I noticed your conversation involving our batteries. While it's a bit dated, since Joe bumped it back to the top, I thought I would address some of the comments. Mary Jo is as correct today as she was nine years ago about a D35 YellowTop being a direct-fit replacement for the Juke. The YellowTop is a dual-purpose battery, designed for both starting and deep-cycle use and it has plenty of cranking amps to turn over a 1.6-liter (I use a YellowTop to start my 7.4-liter truck engine). If you are into car audio, a YellowTop is a better option than a RedTop. If your Juke is stock, a Group 35 RedTop will work just fine.

The internet has been littered with false rumors about the demise of Optima since we started selling batteries and as the biggest AGM battery brand in the world, the target on our back is bigger than ever. We own our production facility in Mexico, that is the only place we make our batteries and they are the only batteries produced there. If there were any truth to rumors about quality issues, we'd lose our biggest customers, who test our batteries before buying any, before we sold them a single battery. You can take a virtual tour of our production facility here- Tour the OPTIMA Batteries Plant

We hear a lot of people throw around the “bulletproof” label to describe products, but we decided to put that description to the test with our batteries. We've done it before, but we don't need a lot of arm-twisting to go make loud noises-

To address the other comments, if you can find a battery with a lifetime guarantee, buy it. Optima batteries are lead-acid batteries. All of our RedTops & YellowTops come with various adapters that can be used to make them taller or wider, as needed for fitment.

Jim McIlvaine
eCare Manager, OPTIMA Batteries
www.pinterest.com/optimabatteries
Thanks for the, uh, advertising?

I've personally never had an issue with Optima but there is no mistaking that a cursory Google search leads to a LOT of disappointed people in recent years. More so than other battery brands, certainly other premium battery brands.

What do you say in retaliation to those significant numbers of people who say that your batteries have failed in very short order?

What do you have to say in response to after moving production from the USA to Mexico, presumably to lower production costs, that the price of your batteries increased?

In addition, what do you say to the idea that you sell your products at such a high margin that you simply aren't terribly concerned if people come back and buy another in the near future?

Keep in mind I have no personal issues with Optima. But if you're going to stick your neck out to try and sell your product on a car forum I'm assuming you're also willing to answer some difficult questions?
 

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Hi lne937s, if there has or has not been any transfer of technology, innovations, synergies or economies of scale since JCI sold Clarios, I'm pretty far removed from that activity, partly by design. As the guy with the keys to the Optima Twitter account, they generally don't share such news or developments with me, until they're ready for the whole world to know.

Hi SamusFarron, you have quite a few questions, so I want to make sure I give the most complete answers I can to all of them, so I apologize in advance for my lengthy response, but appreciate your willingness to ask. If you have more questions, ask away. Optima has been the market leader in the premium battery space (and enthusiast market) by a pretty significant margin since we created it. I'll admit I was pretty frustrated at one point, that our fitment tail was shrinking and the last new battery size we came out with was for the Prius. However, that perspective changed, when I was at our rig at an NHRA race several years ago and was approached by the owner of another aftermarket battery brand (popular in drag racing circles), who proceeded to try and pitch me on having Optima acquire their brand.

I don't think he realized how low I was on the totem pole, but since he was offering, I started asking questions- How much volume do you sell annually? What is your warranty rate? I was stunned by both answers and coming out with a Prius battery suddenly made a whole lot more sense to me. There are millions of Prius on the road and hardly anyone offering a DS46B24R battery. There might only be a couple thousand 16-volt drag cars in the world, this guy wasn't even selling 10,000 batteries per year and had a double-digit warranty rate that would close our doors. It wasn't that his batteries were of poor quality, but more of a case of drag racers not taking proper care of their batteries and his retailers not following proper warranty procedure- first attempt to charge, then load test to confirm warranty service is needed before replacement.

Like us, many of the “bad” batteries returned to his company under warranty were “discharge-only” and worked fine, when properly-recharged. As a larger brand, we are better-equipped to absorb those unnecessary warranty returns (and the negative reviews), but it sliced his margins razor thin and seemed like it wore him out. The same is true for many other smaller brands, which is why you'll see some of them include language in their warranties about minimum voltage levels (some will void warranties if battery voltage is found to be below 10.5 volts). The reality is that we have more retailers selling our batteries than many of the other premium brands have batteries to sell, so the volume of conversation about our products, both positive and negative, will be much larger. We try our best to train retailers to provide the best service they can for their customers and we try to educate consumers as best we can to maximize battery performance and lifespan.

So on the subject of our Monterrey facility, that was an addition initially and not a move. Unlike most of the brands sold in the US, Optima is a global brand, sold in more than 150 countries around the world and a significant percentage of our batteries are sold outside the US. Demand in the early-2000s was increasing to the point, that it made sense to add a second facility to service international markets. At the same time, the last primary lead refinery in the US announced their closing, so the handful of batteries that use 99.99% pure virgin lead, would be sourcing it from Central and South America.

When the economy tanked, demand for premium batteries did as well and the decision-makers at our company were left with the hard choice to close one of our production facilities. While they both made excellent batteries, one was brand-new, much closer to lead suppliers and much closer to international shipping. Contrary to popular belief, the most-expensive part of manufacturing batteries is not labor, but moving the lead. As you can see from the video tour, our production process is largely-automated and human hands rarely touch our batteries until they get hooked up on formation tables. Moving lead from the mine (or recycling center for most other batteries) to the refinery, to the factory, to the end-users is the most expensive part of making a battery, which is why most battery production facilities are close to population centers, auto assembly facilities and seaports.

Regardless of what the margin is on our products, one of the basic tenants of running any business is that it is far less expensive to keep an existing customer, than it is to acquire a new one. To suggest that we don't care if we get repeat business because we make a bunch of money off an initial sale just doesn't hold water. Our best salespeople are customers like you, who had great experiences with their Optima and share that experience with others. Most satisfied customers never take the time to express that satisfaction, while a far higher percentage of dis-satisfied customers will go out of their way to tell everyone they know to avoid a product that they felt didn't meet their expectations. Most of what I do on forums doesn't involve selling, but helping people sort through electrical issues. However, if I'm lucky enough to find someone describing any battery as “bulletproof,” I'm happy to show them what that really looks like.

Jim McIlvaine
eCare Manager, OPTIMA Batteries
www.pinterest.com/optimabatteries
 

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A little bit of research goes a long way. I'm impressed by your response, demeanor, and knowledge when faced with those difficult questions. Well done!

 

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Bargeld, I appreciate the kind words, but answering questions from a satisfied customer is on the easier side of what I come across. The harder conversations are when someone has gone through three of our batteries (in addition to the battery they replaced) and I'm trying to remotely diagnose their issues, which at that point, are probably electrical in nature, but unrelated to their batteries.

Jim McIlvaine
eCare Manager, OPTIMA Batteries
www.pinterest.com/optimabatteries
 

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@OptimaJim On another note, why did Optima go to back to flat plates on some models of Yellow Top? Spiralcell was the signature technology for the brand.

Also, I find it interesting that transporting lead is the largest expense for something that we then put in our cars and move around for tens of thousands of miles... Any efforts to reduce battery weight?
 
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lne937s, that's a great question about the SpiralCell design, versus our newer flat-plate design we refer to as PureFlow. The simple answer is that automotive engineers, in their infinite wisdom, have decided there needs to be more than 60 different BCI battery group sizes, as well as unique DIN (German) sizes and unique JIS (Japanese) sizes. We don't make replacements for every group size out there, but we will try to offer sizes that are more popular in high volume and/or enthusiast vehicles, like trucks, Jeeps, sports cars, etc...

The DIN family of batteries feature recessed posts that do not extend above the top of the battery case, while more traditional batteries have terminals that do extend above the top of the case. One of the benefits of our cast strap design is that it allows us to use taller cells than a typical flat plate battery, which doesn't utilize as much space at the top of the case because of their tombstone weld design, which as the name suggests, looks like a tombstone, and rises up over cell partitions to make a connection to the other cells.

Even with that cast strap design and taller cells, the amount of space inside the dimensions of a DIN battery do not allow us to pack in as much energy as we need in a SpiralCell footprint relative to Ah as we need for newer vehicles. Cranking amps is never an issue, where a typical Group 35 for a Juke is rated at ~550-650CCA and our RedTop 35 is conservatively rated at 720CCA, but newer vehicles use a lot of electricity and need more reserve capacity. In fact, going forward, I expect all of our new sizes will probably be YellowTops, designed for both starting & deep-cycle use, because the deep-cycle ability is so important on newer vehicles.

In terms of reducing weight, Lithium-based technology is an option and is popular in some racing applications, although charging needs to be really well-regulated on those batteries. Some OE applications have lithium-based products, but those tend to be six-figure supercars. It is cost-prohibitive at this point for mass-produced cars & trucks. In everything else, battery weight is actually going in the opposite direction. My '94 GMC dually with a 7.4-liter engine starts ever day with a 33-pound 75/25 RedTop, but a 2014 Mini Cooper with a 1.5-liter engine uses a 52-pound H7. It's not about starting power, but reserve capacity.

Jim McIlvaine
eCare Manager, OPTIMA Batteries
www.pinterest.com/optimabatteries
 

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Good stuff. It is nice to have a technical exchange of info without it getting out of hand,

One question tho. I live very close to a MAJOR battery manufacturer called East Penn mfg or Deka. They are not close to any port etc and still use people to "Grid" cast their plates etc and still sell a quality battery at a competitive price right here in the USA.
 

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I guess “close” is a relative term. As it relates to seaports specifically and Aurora, Colorado being more than 1,000 miles from the closest seaport, the distance from Lyons to the Philadelphia seaport and the Port of New York & New Jersey are both less than 100 miles. I don't know how much that matters to East Penn, but it matters a lot to us (rail is important as well). The population density within 100 miles of Lyons, which would also include the New York & Philly metro areas, is also far higher than that of Aurora, Colorado.

I probably didn't do a good job of explaining our cast straps that connect the cells (which are made up of grids). This video runs through the entire production process, but the point that highlights the cast straps starts at around the 2:29 mark.

Our cast straps are unique in the industry. We mechanically insert our cells into the cases under pressure, to maximize the amount of active material we can put into that space under very consistent conditions (some other manufacturers do still insert cells by hand) and then the battery is physically turned upside down and the straps that connect the cells are then cast onto the battery. Most battery manufacturers use a weaker, more restrictive tombstone weld that goes over the cell partitions, which is also a common point of failure on those batteries.

At the end of the day, no major manufacturer can keep their doors open if they produce a sub-standard product and there's a lot more gray areas in the battery business than people might realize . Some retailers want a single-source supplier (manufacturer), while others want multiple manufacturers to bid against each other on business. As a result, those multi-manufacturer retailers will often receive all of their battery deliveries from one manufacturer, who may also delivers a competitor's batteries to those locations. In those cases, it's just more cost-effective to have a competitor deliver product if they have more infrastructure in place in certain regions and those roles may be reversed in other regions.

There may also be instances where customers do a poor job of forecasting demand or unusual weather patterns spike demand and battery manufacturers have to source additional product from their competition to fill the increase in demand. At that point, the customer (retailer) is more concerned about their order getting filled and having batteries to sell, than their country of origin, which may also be the case for the end consumer.

Jim McIlvaine
eCare Manager, OPTIMA Batteries
www.pinterest.com/optimabatteries
 
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