What could possibly be worse than the Monday morning commute to work?
How about when you go to start your truck one cold January morning in preparation for your drive and all you get from the truck is endless cranking or a dull click from the starter?
Of course, batteries are pushed the hardest in the winter and in our freezing conditions it was really no surprise that the fail so often in these conditions.
Unfortunately, I speak from experience, as this had actually happened to me. I hadn’t driven the truck at all that weekend, so my batteries were just done with life after sitting inactive that long in the cold.
I learned a couple of important lessons that day, number 1 being that jumper cables do you no good at all if no one is around to give you a jump, number 2 being that when 5 year rated lead acid batteries haven’t been replaced in 7 years, they’re pretty darn prone to fail at any point.
What is the best truck battery?
If you shop around in stores and online these days, you’ll find that there are more than a dozen different main battery brands. What you probably didn’t know (and neither did I) but there’s really only a few of the main manufacturers that are actually producing the batteries for all of these different brands.
In case you were wondering, the breakdown of the manufacturers of the different mainstream brands are as follows:
Johnson Controls makes Duralast (for Autozone,) EverStart, AutoCraft (Advanced Auto’s brand) as well as Diehard and Interstate.
Exide is another of the big guys, they put out batteries under their own Exide brand, as well as under Orbital, Bosch and Marathon.
EnerSys Energy Products is the company behind the Odyssey brand batteries.
East Penn Manufacturing is well known for producing the Deka brand automotive batteries.
Which size batteries to buy?
The comparisons below focus mainly on which of the group 65 batteries are the best option, as this is the size I needed for my 6.0 powerstroke. Of course, if you are in the market for a new truck battery, you would want verify that your truck uses this size group also before buying one (a lot of diesels do).
For other trucks, check the following:
- 2000-2005 Dodge Ram w/Cummins 5.9L: Group 65 Requires 2 Batteries
- 2006-2017 Dodge Ram w/Cummins 6.7L: Group 94R Requires 2 Batteries
- 2003-2007 Ford Powerstroke 6.0L: Group 65 Requires 2 Batteries
- 2008-2014 Ford Powerstroke 6.4L: Group 65 Requires 2 Batteries
- 2015-2017 Ford Powerstroke 6.7L: Group 65 Requires 2 Batteries
- 2008-2010 Chevy Duramax LMM: Group 48 Requires 2 Batteries
- 2011-2016 Chevy Duramax LML: Group 48 Requires 2 Batteries
Take note: If your truck uses two batteries, it is best to have a matching set, as it will extend the overall life of your truck’s electrical system. Always replace in pairs for a dual battery setup.
Odyssey 65-PC1750T Automotive and LTV Battery
Odyssey has been making the best batteries around for quite awhile now, and while they are definitely not the cheapest option, they are virtually unbeatable in terms of quality. This monster in particular provides 950 CCA (cold cranking amps) which would be enough power to start the most stubborn of trucks, even in extreme weather conditions. The sealed AGM (absorbed glass mat) design of the battery will hold up to almost all conditions that you can throw its way, from vibration to very cold and very hot temperatures no problem.
Odyssey 65-PC1750T Automotive and LTV Battery
- Cold Crank Amp (CCA)- 950
- Better warranty: Limited 3 and 4 year full replacement warranty - not pro rata
- Includes SAE Automotive terminals
- Mounting flexibility: Non-spill able design, vibration resistance- design protects against high impact shock and mechanical vibration
- Extreme temperature tolerant- Operating temperatures from -40 degree Celsius (-40 degree Fahrenheit) to 45 degree Celsius (113 degree Fahrenheit).
Deka Intimidator Extended Life AGM Battery 9A65
Skip the inflation of buying a name brand, and go right to the manufacturer with these Deka batteries. These are made by East Penn Manufacturing, who have been behind the scenes of many of the most popular battery brands for decades. This model has the AGM technology along with 860 CCA at 32° F to start you up reliably, even in colder temperatures. The advantages of the AGM construction are vibration resistance (good for off-road) and longevity. The Deka brand in particular is an exceptionally good value because of the elimination of the middle man who slaps an auto parts or battery store brand on and marks up the final cost for no good reason – as they’re still an East Penn made battery.
Deka Intimidator Extended Life AGM Battery 9A65
20 amp hour rate: 75
Battery End Type: Top Post
BCI Group Size: 65
CA at 32 degrees F: 860
CCA at 0 degrees F: 750
Country of Origin (Primary): US
XS Power D6500 XS Series 12V 3,900 Amp AGM
The XS Power D6500 is actually an AGM battery, which means it has the superior glass mat inside. It’s also made in the USA, which is good to see these days. Apparently these XS Power batteries are used in a lot of custom audio cars, so that’s a good indicator of massive capacity which translates well for diesels.
XS Power D6500 XS Series 12V 3,900 Amp AGM High Output Battery with M6 Terminal Bolt
- 12 Volt battery with CA: 1070, Ah: 75
- Absorbed Glass Mat (electrolyte is suspended in fiberglass)
- Spill proof, sealed, valve regulated and vibration resistant
- Ultra low internal resistance
- Mount in almost any position
Delphi AGM Group 65 Battery
This Delphi has surprisingly good pricing, but also with a trusted name brand behind it and AGM technology. Many folks swear by this battery, it is a popular option with a lot of diesel guys. Boasting high cycling capabilities and being very charge receptive, as well as 100% leak proof, it’s a really good choice for most daily drivers.
Delphi BU9065 MaxStart AGM Premium Automotive Battery, Group Size 65
- Extended cold cranking amps delivery means more power for today's demanding electronics
- Group 65 battery with 750 CCA (cold cranking amps) and 150 R. C. (reverse capacity)
- 20x the vibration resistance of conventional batteries
- Superior vibration resistance, optimized component compression , and fortified posts, straps and welds
- Fit type: Vehicle Specific
Hard start issues caused by low batteries
On a diesel truck, the amperage of your batteries is of even more importance than on a gas powered vehicle. When you turn your key and engage the ecm, glow plugs, ficm, fuel pump and starter, a huge draw is put onto the batteries, and they really need to be healthy for everything to work as it should.
I’ve seen trucks before that sounded really healthy and fine when cranking over, but just seemed to not want to start. I later found that this was because the batteries were not supplying enough amperage for all of the ancillaries to do their jobs.
With this in mind, if your truck starts having issues with starting, the first thing to test would be the batteries, if they are older than their rated lifespan.
If you’re not sure if your batteries are actually bad or not, the best way to find out is by hooking up a battery tester and seeing what the readout and load test have to say about how healthy your batteries and charging system are.
You can always do a quick multi meter check for the minimum 12v when the truck is off and at least 13v running, however a battery with a bad cell can still put out 12v but not be able to provide enough amperage.
The best way to take all of the guesswork out of the equation is with a battery testing tool such as this one:
FOXWELL Battery Tester 12V Automotive Battery Analyzer Health/Faults Detector BT100 Pro
- A MUST FOR HOME ➤ This 12 volt battery analyzer offers you an easy way to analyze the battery cell health status, view battery charging status and detect faults and bad cells without stepping out and paying too much.
- BATTERY CAN BE TESTED ➤ Auto battery testers allow you to check battery condition of 12V 100-1100 CCA regular flooded, AGM flat plate, AGM spiral, as well as GEL batteries, and give you an accurate test result in 3 seconds.
- USE IT AT EASE ➤ Large backlit LCD display, clear arranged keypad and menu-driven operation make the act intelligent battery tester much easier to operate. Powers itself off the battery, especially born for the beginners. The 12v car battery tester can be used directly out of box and you don't have to do update.
- SAFE AND RELIABLE ➤ The vehicle lead acid battery tester doesn’t emit light, heat or spark, and won’t discharge the battery. It also has polarities wrongly-connected protection, over-voltage protection and automatic temperature compensation.
- HIGH-QUALITY SERVICE ➤ We aim at trying our best to offer you customers the best battery tester voltmeter and product services. Response in time, refund allowed, one-year product service and other policies available to make you unworried before/after the purchase.
FICM Damage caused by bad batteries
Another big thing to watch out for, especially with the 6.0 powerstroke, is bad batteries taking out your FICM (Fuel Injection Control Module). A defective FICM can easily keep your truck from running correctly, or even at all, often throwing codes for all of the injectors, which is a dead giveaway.
It’s a good idea to always periodically check you batteries to make sure that they are not putting excessive load onto the charging system, which is what ends up damaging the FICM.
Read more about how to trouble shoot and repair your control module in our FICM repair guide.
Hopefully this guide has been informative and has given you a better idea of which batteries you need for your truck. As always, if you have any questions or concerns feel free to leave us a comment below! Thanks for reading!