Best Battery for C5 Corvette – Learn to choose the Type, CCA, Class

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Best Battery for C5 Corvette

Whether you’re on a budget, need high CCA, replacing a leaking C5 battery, or sick of Side-Posts, this will help you power your ‘Vette!

The fifth-generation Chevy Corvette C5 used to be our favorite ‘Vette, but that was until the all-new C8 Corvette came crashing in with a mid-engine layout and supercar attitude. But still, the C5 heralded an all-new architecture over the fourth-gen model. It came with a new design and a new aluminum LS1 V8 engine.

However, your Corvette C5’s battery is not meant to last forever. If you’ve been treating your C5 with the love and care it deserves, then you’re probably already familiar with the best Corvette batteries. But with a plethora of new battery choices, enthusiasts are constantly hunting for the best deals and longest warranties. Truth be told, when searching for the best C5 Corvette battery, you need to get back to the basics before starting your search. And with that, we’re here to help.

Quick look:

Don’t want to read the full article? Here’s the summary of our favorite power packs.

  • ACDelco Advantage – Top overall choice
  • Duralast Gold – Highly rated by consumers
  • EverStart Maxx – Budget friendly and easily found at Walmart
  • Optima Redtop – Powerful and reliable… but expensive

Best Battery for C5 Corvette: Here’s what you need to know

The Chevy Corvette C5 was manufactured from 1997 to 2004.

All C5 Corvettes from the first production year to 2003 should be fitted with a 78-class battery with a minimum rating of 550 CCA. This means the OEM battery in a C5 Corvette is a side-post battery.

But there’s a problem. General Motors only started installing AGM batteries in the Corvette in 2001. This means earlier models with wet-cell batteries are prone to leaking. The worst part is, GM decided to install the engine ECM underneath the battery tray. So, if the battery starts to leak, the ECM gets infected and eventually dies. When talking about any car with a dead ECU, this is bad news and will cost huge money to rectify.

We’ll talk about preventing battery leaking later on.

If you have a 2004 C5 Corvette, the best battery is an 86-class unit with a minimum 500 CCA. Yes, the last model year of the C5 Corvette came with conventional top-post batteries replacing the previous side-post units.

 

Here are the best batteries for C5 Corvette that won’t break the bank

We’ve done the dirty work for you. Here are the best C5 Corvette batteries that offer superior performance and longevity at a lower price.

 

1. ACDelco Advantage 78A 670 CCA

ACDelco Advantage Battery 78S

Bottom Line
This is arguably the top choice for your ‘Vette. It fixes the leaking issue, and one of the lowest priced options.

The ACDelco Advantage has a more robust and durable impact-resistant plastic casing to offer better durability. Featuring corrosion-resistant terminals and maintenance-free design, this battery is rated at 670 CCA and is good for 110 reserve minutes. It also comes with an 18-month free replacement warranty.

Perfect for all 1997 to 2003 C5 Corvettes, the ACDelco Advantage is a solid battery for its sub-$160 price tag. We like the fact it has unique envelope separators within the plates. It not only improves acid circulation to ensure a steadier voltage supply, but it also keeps the battery cooler to deliver a longer service life.

2. Duralast Gold Battery

Duralast Gold Battery 75-DL

Bottom Line
With consistent high marks from Consumer Reports, you know you’re getting a long lasting and quality product with Duralast. 

Autozone’s Duralast Gold Battery is another low-budget option for the C5 Corvette. This particular Duralast battery is a group 75, but it still fits neatly under your Corvette’s hood. You don’t need to worry about the terminals since group 75 batteries have side posts like group 78 batteries.

Duralast Gold is manufactured using high-quality impact-resistant polypropylene. The battery plates are coated with a special paste that Duralast claims will improve starting performance. But the best part is the standard 3-year warranty. Considering you have 700 CCA and 95 reserve minutes for around $180, Duralast Gold remains a sterling choice.

3. Walmart EverStart Maxx

EverStart Maxx Lead Acid

Bottom Line
This is the cheapest option that we would recommend. 3 year warranty, 700 CAA makes it perfect for giving new juice to your car. You can pick ’em up at Walmart so they’re easy to source too.

It’s hard to beat Walmart’s Everstart Maxx in terms of affordability. Starting at less than $100, you get a lead-acid, side post, maintenance-free battery with a 3-year free replacement warranty. the EverStart Maxx is rated at 700 CCA and has a reserve capacity of 95 minutes.

If your budget is low and you need a new battery for your C5 Corvette, look no further than the Everstart Maxx.

4. Optima Redtop Battery

Optima AGM Battery 78

Bottom Line
Power power power! It’s the most expensive one on our list, but if you’re hardcore and need the best of the best, Optima is your choice. 

Optima’s Redtop is one of the best batteries for any type of vehicle. In fact, the company claims Redtop is the best AGM battery for the money. However, you’ll pay more for its innovative Spiral Cell Technology, which is at the heart of every Optima battery.

This AGM battery has a spill-proof design and provides a stronger starting power. It’s rated at 800 CCA and 100 reserve minutes, which is more than enough for your C5 Corvette. This particular Optima Redtop group 78 is a legit choice, but there’s a slight problem…

The Optima Redtop retails at around $270, which is a lot of money for a new car battery. But if your C5 Corvette is daily-driven or modified for track duty or racing applications, the Optima Redtop is highly recommended.

Do I need an expensive battery for my C5 Corvette?

All car batteries will eventually lose the ability to hold a charge and eventually die. There are no exemptions to this rule. And in our experience, you basically get what you pay for when talking about car batteries.

Our advice is to avoid the overly cheap options and go for mid-tier brands offering mid-tier prices. In our experience, paying around $150 to less than $200 for a new battery is fair enough, but those costing above $200 requires serious thought.

It also depends on how often you drive your C5 Corvette. For daily-driven Corvettes, you need the most dependable battery you can afford. But if you have a garage queen or weekend warrior, going for the more affordable option is a wise choice.

Do you store you ride over the winter? Learn how to tend your battery in storage.

What causes battery leaks in older C5 Corvettes?

The primary culprits are faulty design issues and overtightening the terminals on the side posts. Earlier battery models were built with cheap plastic cases that are prone to cracking and leaking as the battery wears out.

Also, overtightening the terminals on the side posts will also crack or break the fragile plastic case. When this happens, battery acid will start leaking from the terminals. If you’ve been around a lot of C5 Corvettes, you probably know this by heart: Make sure to regularly peer under the hood to check for battery leakage.

Leaking car battery terminals

However, all of that is in the past. Most of the C5 Corvettes we’re seeing are now fitted with modern AGM batteries. In some examples, owners retrofitted conventional top post batteries instead of the OEM side-post units without encountering any problems. But then again, it all depends on the vehicle. If you have a bone-stock unit, it’s better to stick with the OEM recommendation:

78-class with a minimum of 550 CCA, preferably AGM or gel cell if you have a 1997 to 2003 C5 Corvette and an 86-class battery with a minimum of 500 CCA for 2004 models.

On the other hand, if you have a modified C5 ‘Vette, the choice is up to the tuner.

How to prevent battery leaks in Chevy Corvette C5

Easy. When it’s time to inspect/replace the battery, make sure to properly torque the terminals not more than 11-foot pounds. Remember, overtightening the terminals in any car battery causes undue pressure and stress on the posts, terminals, and casing.

The golden rule is to consistently follow the prescribed torque recommendations when working on your C5 Corvette. In this case, use a torque wrench to ensure the terminals are no tighter than 11-foot pounds. If you do this, you can forever say goodbye to battery leaks in your C5 Corvette, and this applies to both wet and VRLA car batteries.

What are the types of car batteries?

There are two main types:

  • Wet Cell
  • VRLA (valve-regulated lead acid)

Wet batteries are the old-school choice and have multiple filler caps on top of the case. Those filler caps are needed so you can replenish the battery with distilled water regularly.

On the other hand, VRLA batteries are sealed and, hence, spill-proof and ‘maintenance-free.’ This means there are no filler caps and there’s no need to add water. There are two types of VRLA car batteries: gel and AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat). Both work in the same way albeit differences in the way the electrolytes are ‘held’ inside the battery.

 Pro Tip  We guess the next question is ‘what’s the best battery type for my C5 Corvette?’, right? Our answer is VRLA.

 

You can choose between gel or AGM depending on how much you can afford. Remember, wet batteries are the best choice if you’re feeling cheap, but you need to be a true gearhead to keep wet batteries from leaking in your C5 Corvette.

Conclusion

When choosing a new battery for your C5 Corvette, make sure to get the right size (battery group) to avoid any inconveniences. Also, make sure not to overtighten the terminals regardless if you have a wet or VRLA battery. And even if you have an expensive spill-proof battery, it’s a good idea to visually inspect and re-torque/re-tighten the terminals at least once a month (or once a week for daily-driven cars) as part of your routine maintenance schedule.

– Vince

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