When it comes to your car, picking the right battery is an important part of car maintenance. Without a properly working battery, the car cannot run—for the battery acts as the heartbeat of a car.
Most people know that cars come in all shapes and varieties, but a lot of people don’t think about the varieties of car batteries. That is—until their battery needs to be replaced. When it does come time to pick out a new battery, there are a few things to consider in order to find the right one.
What to Look for When Replacing the Battery on Your Car
For battery maintenance, it is recommended to check your car’s battery at least once every three to five years. When it is time to find a new battery for your car, the car’s manual will be your best friend. The manual contains major information on certain factors that are important when replacing a battery. Here are a few factors to look at when replacing it:
The Type of Battery
Generally there are two types of car batteries out there:
- Lead Acid Batteries: These require some maintenance from the driver, and do not last as long as their counterpart, but they generally cost less. This is best for people who don’t mind/ have experience with car maintenance and are primarily looking to save money.
- Absorbed Glass Mat: These batteries do not require regular maintenance from the driver and hold more charge than lead acid batteries. They also have features such as the ability to withstand recharges and fuel efficiency. These batteries cost more money than their counterpart, but offer more benefits. These are best for those who don’t use their vehicle for long stretches of time and prefer a hands-off approach with their car.
The Size of the Car’s Battery
This is an important part of knowing what battery to pick. Car batteries come in different sizes; in the battery world this is also known as group size. Each group size will have a different sized length and width, which fits a certain car’s battery tray (the place where the battery sits in your car). In a car’s manual, many retailers provide their customers with reference guides for the variety of cars out there.
The Age of the Car’s Battery
When looking at batteries, it is important to know that it is not safe to reuse an old battery—and so a brand new, unused battery must be used for the replacement. When it comes to new batteries they all have a manufacturer’s date code of when they were made, stamped on them. Pay attention to the date code, as generally it is best to pick a battery that is no older than six months from the date of manufacturing.
The Brand of the Car’s Battery
This is another important factor when determining what battery to pick. The car’s manual should have a recommended brand to go with; it is often best to follow the recommendation. If wanting to cut costs the manual should also have battery requirements in it, so a person can move forward with those. There are many brands out there, some more expensive than others. The cost should be balanced with reliability.
Other Things to Consider When Picking the Right Battery for Your Car
Other than the basic elements that make up a battery, there are other factors—that occur outside of the car engine itself—to consider:
The Weather Outside the Car
If you live or constantly travel in an area that has cold weather, pay attention to the cold-cranking amps (CCA)—this is a feature that measures a batteries ability to start in cold weather. For people who use their car every day for their commute in cold weather, a high CCA is crucial to the reliability of their car.
For hot weather, it is important to find a battery with a high constant charge (CC)—essentially the life of the battery. Hot weather can cause wear damage to a battery quicker than a moderate or cold climate. Here is a battery-life test to help consumers.
It is important to check a car’s manual for CCA and CA info and to stay at—or closely above—whatever rating is recommended for a car.
Your Car’s Warranty
If a car is still on a warranty, a person may be able to get their battery changed for free or with some type of discount. Usually this repair is made straight from the dealership—who have knowledgeable staff to do the searching work for you. So before looking to change the battery of your car, check up on its warranty (if any).
The Car Servicer
Because the battery of a car is so crucial to its function and life, make sure you find a reputable servicer to work on your vehicle. Check out reviews or customer complaints before handing off your vehicle to a servicer.
Who Manufactures Car Batteries?
In the United States, there are three major companies that build batteries; Johnson Controls, Exide, and East Penn. The major car battery brands out there are built by them. These manufacturers pay attention to car sizing and power requirements to produce batteries that fit all sorts of vehicles. So as long as you stick to these major brands, there shouldn’t be a huge difference between them.
When picking a new battery, it is important to consider the different variables that are involved both inside and outside of the engine. When it comes time to pick the right battery, your car’s manual will be an important tool in guiding you. Additionally, being knowledgeable about the different variables to consider can be extremely helpful in making sure you find the right battery for your car.