Do It Yourself: Optima Battery

Better Battery Adds Confidence

Mark Williams
Jun 1, 2011
If your truck is five or six years old and the battery hasn't been replaced, you should start thinking about an upgrade. Investing in a higher-quality deep-cycle gel-filled battery is worth the extra cost (they can run close to $200), especially if you're planning on running extra lights, a winch, or any plug-in accessories, as more accessories require extra capacity. Whatever you have, a good deep-cycle (meaning it will survive being deeply drained many times), heavier-duty battery is typically a vast improvement over the lead acid brick that came with your vehicle when new.
Photo 2/7   |   03b 2004 Acura MDX Optima Battery
For our install, we opted for an Optima Yellow Top battery to suit our future back-country adventures. Mechanically speaking, there aren't many installs easier than this one. All we needed was a pair of pliers and a rag. The whole install took about an hour, resulting in more cold-cranking power, more reserve power, more safety, and more confidence. The battery is completely sealed so there is no maintenance, no caustic chemical to spill, and up to 15 times more vibration strength. Optimas are sold as three models (Red for stronger starts, Yellow for deep-cycling and cranking, and Blue Top for marine and RV applications). Red Tops have CCA of 720 or 800, Yellow Tops 450 to 830, and Blue Tops 750 to 900. Whichever you choose, it's likely to be the last battery you buy for your vehicle.

1. Our factory Acura battery was beginning to lose its energy-holding abilities, requiring us to occasionally break out the battery charger for an overnight trickle. To remove your current battery, simply loosen the terminal clamp nuts and factory battery hold-down bracket.
Photo 3/7   |   01 2004 Acura MDX Optima Battery

2. With the plastic battery surround removed and mounting plate cleaned (with a light baking soda-and-water solution), cut a small piece of rubberized matting and place the needed Optima mounting adapter on the battery plate. Because the Optima is smaller than the factory battery, we needed to raise it to reuse the hold-down bracket.
Photo 4/7   |   02 2004 Acura MDX Optima Battery

3. The Yellow Top is a little smaller and heavier than the lead-acid battery it replaces. The smaller size allows more air to circulate in the engine compartment and gives it a cleaner look. We lined up the battery terminals to have the correct colors match up.
Photo 5/7   |   03a 2004 Acura MDX Optima Battery

4. Reattaching the terminals and hold-down bracket is a one-handed operation. When removing the original battery, be careful about spilling any fluids on your skin or clothing. Most parts stores will take your battery and many will give you credit for the core swap. If not, search out the nearest battery disposal center.
Photo 6/7   |   2004 Acura MDX Optima Battery

5. The swap will likely take less than an hour, but many vehicles may require a special procedure or code to reprogram things like auto up/down windows, the navigation system, and even the radio. This procedure will be necessary each time you disconnect the battery.
Photo 7/7   |   05 2004 Acura MDX Optima Battery


Optima Battery
Milwaukee, WI 53209



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