Most car batteries need replacing every three to five years. The duration of time highly depends on your driving conditions, environment, and several other factors. When your car battery dies, it can be a huge inconvenience.
Not only do you have to find a way to get your car towed or pushed to the nearest service station, but you also have to pay for a new battery. And if you’re like most people, you probably don’t know much about vehicle batteries.
In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about choosing vehicle batteries so that you can make an informed decision when it comes time to replace yours.
Check the Power Requirement
The voltage and Amp Hour (Ah) rating of the battery you purchase should match or exceed those printed on the original battery. If your car has a lot of electrical accessories, such as a sunroof, heated seats, or a large audio system, it’ll require a higher-rated battery to start and run properly.
The owner’s manual will indicate the minimum battery power required. The most common ratings are 12 volts and 24 volts, but some vehicles require 36-volt batteries. The amp-hour rating is also essential. It tells you how much current the battery can provide over a period of time.
Check the Reserve Capacity
The reserve capacity (RC) of a battery is how long it’ll continue to provide power after turning off the engine. This rating, measured in minutes, is an important consideration for those who frequently use their vehicles for short trips and then have to idle them for long periods of time.
The RC rating is also important for people who live in hot climates. The battery can lose power more quickly when it’s constantly being used and recharged in high temperatures.
To find the RC rating of your battery, look for the number on the graphic that corresponds to your vehicle make. Once you have located the rating, multiply it by 75 to get the approximate number of minutes the battery will last when the engine is turned off.
If your vehicle’s RC rating is 120 minutes, your battery will last for approximately 900 minutes (15 hours) when the engine is turned off. If you frequently use your car for short trips around town and then have to idle it for long periods, or if you live in a hot climate, you’ll want to choose a battery with a high RC rating.
Check the Battery Size
Batteries are typically designated by group size, which is the battery’s width in inches. The most common sizes are Group 34, Group 35, and Group 37. The height and length of a battery can also vary, so it’s important to check your specific vehicle’s owner’s manual to see what battery type is recommended.
If you’re not sure which battery to buy, take your car to a mechanic and have them test the battery. You can also talk to a vehicle battery provider at Endurobattery.com. They’ll tell you the size of the battery that is needed and can help you find a replacement.
Check the Maintenance Requirements of Your Vehicle
Though “maintenance-free” batteries don’t require any regular maintenance, there are still a few things you can do to extend their life. If your car has an alternator belt, be sure to check it regularly for wear and tear. A belt that’s too loose will cause the battery to work harder than it should, which can shorten its life.
Also, make sure to keep the battery terminals clean. Corrosion can build up on the terminals over time and reduce the battery’s performance. You can use a wire brush to clean them off, but be careful not to damage the insulation around the cables.
What Battery Type Does Your Car Need?
There are three main options for batteries. These are lead-acid, nickel-cadmium, and nickel-metal-hydride. Lead-acid batteries are the most common type.
They’re inexpensive, durable, and easy to find. However, they also tend to be quite heavy. Nickel-cadmium batteries are less common than lead-acid batteries, but they offer a longer lifespan and can be recycled.
Nickel-metal-hydride batteries are the most recent type of battery technology. They’re lighter and more powerful than nickel-cadmium batteries but also more expensive. When choosing vehicle batteries, it’s important to consider the type of car you have, the climate you live in, and how often you use your car.
Check the Battery Life and Ampere Hour Rating
The life of a battery is typically measured in discharge ampere-hours (Ah). The higher the Ah rating, the longer the battery should last. You can find this number on the same sticker as the date of manufacture.
A battery that’s three years old or younger will have an Ah rating between 400 and 500. As a car battery ages, its Ah rating will decrease. If you want to get the most accurate estimate of your battery’s remaining life, use a battery tester.
Check the Type and Position of the Terminals
The type of terminals on your battery is important because it’ll determine the tools you need to remove and install the battery. If your car has side-terminal posts, you’ll need a wrench to remove and tighten the nuts that hold the battery in place. This is one of the top car battery features you need to consider.
Top-post batteries, which were once more common but have mostly been replaced by side-terminal batteries, require a screwdriver to remove the battery cables. Some vehicles have a combination of top and side terminals. If you’re not sure which type of battery your car has, consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual or take it to a mechanic for testing.
Check the Cold Cranking Amps
The cold-cranking amps, or CCA, rating is a measure of a battery’s ability to start an engine in cold weather. It’s imperative to consider if you live in a colder climate.
Batteries with high CCA ratings are better equipped to handle the extreme temperatures associated with starting a car engine. The higher the number, the better. You can find a battery’s CCA rating on its spec sheet or label.
When choosing vehicle batteries, always compare costs and warranties. Comparing battery costs is an essential part of buying a new battery. A new battery typically costs between $50 and $200, depending on the type and size. That said, the longest and most comprehensive warranty is usually the best deal.
Batteries are heavy and expensive to ship, so many retailers have special policies that allow customers to return them. This can be helpful if you accidentally pick up the wrong size or type of battery.
Choosing Vehicle Batteries for Your Car: A Guide
Choosing vehicle batteries can be confusing, but it’s important to consider a few critical factors before making a purchase. The most important considerations are the RC rating and the size of the battery. It’s also helpful to know about the different types of batteries available so you can make an informed decision.
If you’re not sure which battery to buy, talk to a vehicle battery provider and have them test the battery. They will be able to tell you the size of the battery that is needed and can help you find a replacement.
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