Get Better Starts With a Toyota TrueStart Battery

July 14th, 2023 by

A mechanic is shown installing one of most popular Toyota TrueStart batteries.

We’ve all been there: you’re late for work, an appointment, or school pick-up, and when you go to turn the key, you get a few half-hearted cranks and then… nothing. This unwelcome surprise might be due to something as serious as a malfunctioning starter or nothing more than an overhead light that you forgot to switch off—but all too often, it’s the first sign that your battery is on its way out. Before you run out to the auto parts store for a new battery or buy whatever option the roadside assistance driver pulls out of their truck, it’s important to know one thing: not all car batteries are created equal.

If you’re looking for the perfect battery to power your Toyota car, truck, or SUV, it’s hard to do better than Toyota TrueStart batteries. Designed specifically with Toyota vehicles in mind and included in every new model, these batteries allow your ride to reach its full potential with an unbeatable combination of resilience and cold-weather performance. These batteries also carry one of the best warranties in the industry, offering drivers peace of mind and two years of complimentary roadside assistance for battery-related issues.

With many benefits over your run-of-the-mill batteries, choosing Toyota TrueStart is a no-brainer. For those who remain unconvinced, let’s take a closer look and see what makes these batteries stand out. We’ll also explore some of the common signs that your vehicle’s battery is nearing the end of its life and when it needs to be replaced with a genuine Toyota TrueStart battery.

Reasons to Choose TrueStart

There are many reasons to invest in a Toyota TrueStart battery, but the warranty is certainly one of the more compelling. Choosing TrueStart means buying yourself 84 months of worry-free driving. There aren’t a lot of things in this world that come with a seven-year warranty, which speaks to the quality and reliability of Toyota’s flagship battery. This comprehensive policy includes two years of free battery replacement, a prorated six-month warranty after those first two years are up, and two years of free towing to the nearest Toyota dealership in the case of a battery-related issue.

This all-inclusive policy is far from the norm in the industry, which begs the question: Why is Toyota so confident about its TrueStart products? It all comes down to their construction. While some brands cut corners and use sub-par materials to keep costs down, Toyota has pulled out all the stops when crafting the TrueStart battery.

It all starts with the battery’s matrix radial grid design, a novel construction method that’s well-suited to the high-power starting requirements of today’s vehicles. This design, along with the use of heavy-duty lugs, enhances the battery’s power flow, giving drivers all the juice they need for a smooth start. TrueStart batteries even include a negative plate paste expander that protects the battery from damage caused by high engine temperatures or extreme heat, allowing the battery to give its all at either end of the thermometer.

The most noteworthy aspect of Toyota’s TrueStart batteries might be their absorbent glass mat (AMG) construction. While lead-acid batteries were once the industry standard, a new generation of vehicles has created the need for a new generation of batteries. The advent of stop/start technology, power-hungry accessories, and extensive electrical systems have put a real strain on lead-acid technology, leading some brands to turn to AMG as an alternative. Designed with fiberglass mats that contain the battery solution, spills and leaks are a thing of the past. They’re also better at handling the high-voltage demands of the modern vehicle, won’t corrode, can be quickly recharged, and last twice as long as their lead-acid forerunners.

These reasons make TrueStart batteries a great value, yes, but they’re an even better bargain when you consider their long service life. Many of the cheaper batteries on the market don’t operate at a consistent—or correct—internal resistance, which can cause them to give up the ghost long before their time is up. TrueStart batteries, on the other hand, are designed specifically to work with Toyota vehicles and have their internal resistance fine-tuned to offer the best possible durability. Paying $170 for a TrueStart battery might seem a little high on the surface, but when you consider its robust design, longevity, and seven-year guarantee, it’s hard to argue with the value.

The TrueStart batteries rank well above the industry average in two important metrics: cold crank amps (CCA) and reserve capacity (RC). As any cold-weather driver knows, CCA refers to a battery’s ability to start your vehicle on those frigid winter mornings. A higher CCA means a more consistent, reliable vehicle—and TrueStart batteries certainly fit the bill with a CCA range of 320 to 950.

TrueStart batteries also excel in terms of RC, which describes how many minutes the battery can supply power without falling below the minimum voltage needed to run a vehicle. Some of the larger TrueStart batteries can keep an idling vehicle fully powered for 165 minutes, which means you’ll always have power when you need it most.

A close up shows a battery warning light.

TrueStart vs True-2

When it comes to Toyota-branded batteries, you actually have two tiers to choose from. The original Toyota TrueStart batteries offer unrivaled performance, come with one of the industry’s best warranties, and are a great value at around $150 or $180, but if you’re looking to save even more money, Toyota also sells a more budget-focused version of the TrueStart known as the True-2 that rings in at just $120 to $130. Both batteries offer great cold-weather performance and impressive reserve capacity, as well as nationwide warranty service at more than 1,200 Toyota dealership locations, but there are some important differences.

First off, the True-2 battery comes with a 60-month warranty rather than the generous 84-month warranty you’ll find on the TrueStart, and the batteries’ proration policy works much the same. If your TrueStart battery fails within the first 60 months of ownership, Toyota will refund a prorated portion of the purchase price. The True-2 battery carries a similar guarantee but is limited to 42 months. This is a pretty charitable policy by any measure, but Toyota takes it one step further by offering a free battery replacement for the first 24 months on a TrueStart battery and 18 months on a True-2 product.

There are some downsides to opting for the more affordable True-2 over the TrueStart. First off, TrueStart batteries are the only warranty replacement battery approved for new Toyota vehicles. If you decide to go with a True-2 or non-Toyota battery, you could invalidate your vehicle’s warranty and end up costing yourself big bucks. The True-2 also lacks the TrueStart’s matrix radial grids, patented lead alloy, negative plate paste expander, and some of the other cutting-edge technology that makes TrueStart batteries such a popular choice amongst Toyota drivers.

In terms of CCA, the two batteries are on a pretty fair footing, with TrueStart taking a slight edge with batteries that range from 320 to 950 CCA as opposed to 400 to 625 for the True-2. The same holds true for RC, where the TrueStart outshines the True-2 with a range of 45 to 165 RC to the True-2’s 70 to 130 RC.

When Is It Time for a Replacement?

Unlike some other components of your vehicle that might fail without warning, your car battery will usually display a few tell-tale signs that it’s on its way out. Knowing what to look for and being able to recognize some of the signs of a battery that’s past its prime can mean the difference between a quick and easy battery replacement and one that takes place on the side of the highway when you’re already running behind.

So what are some of the symptoms of a failing battery? We’ve compiled some of the most common indicators so you’ll know what to look out for if you suspect your car battery is on its last legs.

Battery Light

This one might seem like a bit of a no-brainer, but an illuminated battery light on your vehicle’s gauge cluster can actually indicate any number of battery-related issues. When this light pops on, it could mean that your battery is drained and in need of replacement, but it could also be pointing to a loose or corroded battery cable, damaged cells within the battery itself, faulty wiring in the vehicle’s electrical system, or even a problem with the alternator or voltage regulator.

Try cleaning any visible corrosion, cleaning the battery terminals, and refastening the cable clamps. If none of those methods work, you could be in the market for a new battery or a more complex issue that will require further diagnosis. On some older vehicles, a weak battery might also cause the ‘check engine’ light to turn on due to insufficient current, so keep an eye out for that icon as well.

Slow/No Engine Crank

A car engine that won’t turn over is one of the most common symptoms of a failing or dead battery or a faulty starter, but there’s an easy way to know the difference. Use jumper cables to get the vehicle running, then let it idle so the alternator can top off the battery. After waiting a half hour, turn the vehicle off and try starting it back up after a minute or so. If your engine is consistently turning over, chances are you’re dealing with a failing battery and not a starter.

Frequent Jumps

This goes hand-in-hand with the previous item on the list, to some degree, but if you’re consistently whipping out the jumper cables to get your vehicle started, chances are you should be on the hunt for a replacement battery. This can be even more prevalent in the cold winter months when low temperatures exacerbate the situation—but no matter when it occurs, it can be a major pain in the butt.

A healthy battery shouldn’t be in chronic need of a boost to get started, so if you find yourself all too familiar with the “red to dead, red to donor…” jumper cable mantra, a new Toyota TrueStart battery might be just what the mechanic ordered.

A close up shows jumper cables attached to a battery.

Bloated Battery

There’s nothing wrong with being a little shapely unless you’re talking about your car battery. A bloated, swollen, or otherwise misshapen battery case is never a good sign and could actually lead to some serious issues if not promptly addressed. There’s no rehabbing a swollen battery, which is usually caused by high temperatures or an electrical overcharge—so if your battery is starting to look a little plump, it’s time to make tracks for Haley Toyota of Richmond.

Battery Leak

A healthy battery shouldn’t leak, and it definitely shouldn’t smell, so these can be helpful warning signs when trying to diagnose your battery. An overcharged or damaged battery can begin to leak clear or cloudy white fluid from small cracks in the battery case, so if you see any mystery drips under the hood, be wary.

Far more obvious—and noxious—is the smell of a damaged battery. A damaged battery can also begin to vent gas that will have a distinctive sulfur smell. If the scent of rotten eggs assaults your olfactory sense next time you’re behind the wheel, you could be dealing with a sulfuric acid leak that not only signals the end of a battery’s service life but can also cause extensive damage by dripping acid onto other vulnerable engine components.

Start Right With Toyota TrueStart Batteries

Toyota TrueStart batteries represent a tempting upgrade for anyone looking to elevate their driving experience and make those sketchy starts a thing of the past. If you’re intrigued by the longevity, value, and performance of TrueStart batteries, a trip to Haley Toyota of Richmond might be in order. Here you’ll find a full range of TrueStart batteries, along with experienced and friendly service technicians who can help you get the right battery for your specific Toyota model.

Buying direct from the dealership guarantees that your new battery will be installed correctly; it’s also a great way to ensure you stay within the terms of your warranty. All Toyota TrueStart batteries come with free battery tests at any Toyota dealership, where they’ll measure a battery’s voltage and CCA, calculate how much longer it might last, and give you a chance to head off potential battery issues before they become expensive emergencies.

Now you know, so don’t hesitate to make TrueStart batteries your go-to choice for your Toyota.