Maintenance Free Battery

Can a battery with flooded cells and regular removable vent caps be called a .. 'Maintenance Free Battery.."? I have the dreaded 36R battery in a 98 Taurus..Motorcraft BTX-36R Silver
Series -Maintenance Free. Rated for 96 months-ie. 8 years. Last week the eye turned red while waiting at the mall with the radio playing(so much for a long reserve-130 minutes when new- I said.) The car would not start, battery was barely 3 years old. Got a jump from Mall security. On the way home I started thinking about what to replace it with...should I go back to Motorcraft, $98 or should I buy something else like Sears Diehard, $90..these have been very good to me in the past. Or, just get a regular battery and some longer cables and save $30. As an after thought I attempted to pop open the vent covers and was shocked to find 1) they were just regular vent covers, and, 2) The battery fluid was so low that the plates were just about getting ready to break the surface, actually one cell did have some plates breaking the surface.I was pissed. What the damn does .." Maintenance Free.." supposed to mean? I take it to be, never needing to add water...assuming the charging system is working properly. I filled the cells with distilled water to the mark, as I have always done with regular batteries. What did I have to lose..?Overnight the red-eye went away and the battery appears to be fine once more. I have never had a battery failed so soon in its rated life. This is my first Maintenance Free Battery. Are we being shammed on these batteries. Should these have called Low Maintenance Batteries, instead of Maintenance Free Batteries. I guess many people have had to replace these batteries prematurely because they are labeled incorrectly and as such have never been maintained. For reference, I have repeatedly gotten up to 6 to 9 months service beyond the rated life of regular flooded cell batteries in the past.
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They're not regular vent covers, since they have no vents. The internal design of your battery (with recuperator galleries) is the same as the "sealed" batteries, except that yours has removable cell covers. Generally, if left alone, the covers won't let any battery fluid out, but stuff happens, and someone may have pulled the covers in the past to check, and didn't get a perfect seal when replacing the covers. A voltage regulator that's allowing the battery to be overcharged can also cause this. If you want go real "high tech" on a battery, spring for an Optima at $120-$150 each.
"S.E.W" wrote:

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S.E.W wrote:

why not just go to auto zone and get a $50 battery, tops for the price and expect it to last for about 3 to 4 yrs. and when it goes out you dont have to worry about a warranty or such and it will come out cheaper.. i dont think any battery will last 8 yrs. and when they start prorating it you still gonna pay big buck for the amount you owe......
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...

i always get the biggest battey that will fit in the tray. taht way i get the most CCA (important here in toronto) and also a little extra leeway in case i leave the lights on. the biggest actually costs the same as the one specified for my car. eys, the same. ...thehick
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Ever since I first saw the 96 Taurus, I felt Ford pulled a fast one on us when they took away the group 65. and gave us that special expensive 36R. My solution was to get a pre 95 battery tray and install a Group 65. More CCA and Reserve for a much lower price. Of course, I had to replace the Negative battery cable with a longer one.!
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How about my '86 Isuzu Pup original battery that worked just fine up to 1999? Definitely oversized for the (4 cyl. diesel engine) it had to service, but quality I wish I could buy for my other vehicles. My '88 Ford (diesel van) has gone through four replacements of both large and expensive batteries.
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Don't buy a Walmart battery, whatever you do. Yes, they are cheap, but they only last as long as their warranty (one or two years). I've had several of them, and will never buy another.
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I put a new Wal-Mart battery in my truck, March 1994. I replaced the battery in November 2002. It was still working OK; it was just a preventative maintenance thing. Sorry to hear about YOUR bad luck.
snipped-for-privacy@my.com wrote:

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called
NO.
Free Batteries.
By Definition: "A maintenance-free battery, is a battery which can be operated without regard to position." They usually does not contain free Sulfuric acid. Therefore the flooded cell battery does not meet this criterion.. Low Maintenance Batteries is what they should be properly called

because
Many people take the labeling of.." Maintenance Free Batteries.." Literally, and as such never get the full service they could have gotten.

If you are not afraid of opening the hood of your car and getting your hands dirty, or, are driving off-road trail, you probaly do not need the extra expense of the Optima Battery, which is a true Maintenance Free Battery. Take your pick, it is your money.
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S.E.W wrote:

I once got a ten year old battery to last for another 4 years this way. Sure, the voltage kept creeping ever-lower, but the old type batteries never completely died if you added some distilled water every so often.
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See the Following: www.batteryfaq.org
Tons of Great information on Batteries in one place
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