When it comes to your car’s battery, knowledge is power, and we mean it quite literally as the battery acts as a source of energy needed to start your vehicle. Without it, none of your vehicle’s electrical systems will function and you will be left stranded. On average, an automotive/car battery will last between 3 to 5 years. Of course, this will depend on your driving habits and conditions as some car batteries have been known to last longer than that.
When the time comes to replace your vehicle’s battery, it can be a daunting task as there are many options available on the market that come in different shapes and sizes. This makes finding the right one for your vehicle difficult especially if the brand that comes with your car isn’t available and you need to find a replacement. With that in mind, we have created a quick guide for you to understand and to help you out with your battery-buying process.
What is a car battery?
As a new car owner or an existing one, you might be wondering what an automotive/-car battery is, and how does it differ from the standard batteries you find in devices. For starters, it is a rechargeable battery that is used to provide an electric current to the starter motor of the vehicle. Car batteries, like normal household units, rely on a chemical reaction that it converts into electrical energy to power via your car’s starter motor and alternator. They differ from normal batteries, as the kind used in vehicles can withstand multiple charges and discharge cycles and can store a charger longer.
Where can I buy a car battery?
One of the first few steps in purchasing any item is knowing where to look. In the case of car batteries, these can be found at automotive shops or at stand-alone battery retail stores. Whichever you choose, they will have a selection ready that should be able to meet the requirements of your vehicle. Some shops may even offer emergency services such as battery replacement as part of your battery’s replacement, so keep that in mind when choosing a unit.
Things to consider when choosing a car battery
When it comes time to change your car’s battery there are several things to consider. Each one of these categories will help you choose the best option for your vehicle, in the event that the brand that came with the car isn’t available or if you want to look at other options.
Vehicles available on the market today, come with their own specifications with regard to batteries. Some cars have their battery terminals switched around, while others need a special battery such as those equipped with a start-stop system.
One way you can find out which battery fits in your vehicle is by looking at the old unit or by looking at the battery tray. You can use the measurements as a guide for purchasing your new battery. Manufacturers will often have the dimensions of a battery mapped out on their website as a guide for buyers. You can use that as a reference for your replacement unit.
A quick look at your owner’s manual can also help you figure out the correct size. If you do not have access to your owner’s manual, you can also research online via battery manufacturer websites as they will have charts and filters to help you find which battery fits in your vehicle. Make sure to go through them thoroughly. As with some cases, the batteries have reversed polarities to fit specific vehicles.
Choosing the right battery brand
Choosing the correct brand for your automotive battery can be a difficult task as there are many choices available on the market. Ideally, you should go with the brand that originally came with your vehicle, however, if this is not available in your area then make sure to choose a battery that fits the specifications in your owner’s manual.
While it may be tempting to buy the cheapest option on the market, we advise against it. What you save in terms of price, you sacrifice in terms of quality. Cheaper batteries may often not last as long as other quality products and may even perform poorly in the long run.
When buying a new car battery make sure to check the age of the unit you are buying. Newer batteries tend to have better performance and longevity than older models. Make sure to check the manufacturing date on any battery before you decide to purchase. If the unit is older than 6 months, we highly recommend looking for a newer unit.
Check the reserve capacity of the battery
The reserve capacity refers to how much the battery can continuously supply the minimum voltage needed to run your vehicle in the event that the alternator fails. This will also indicate how long your car can run on its battery alone. As many vehicles have different requirements it is best to consult with your owner’s manual to see the recommended reserve capacity rating of your car. Only choose automotive batteries that are in the recommended range listed in the owner’s manual. It is important to note that these reserve capacity ratings are often listed in minutes which you can use to countercheck with the replacement battery that you want to install.
A Few more things to remember
When buying a new battery make sure that it comes with a warranty. This will save you a lot of time and money in the event that something goes wrong with the unit you just bought. Make sure to always have the warranty with you or at least in the vehicle in the event that premature battery failure occurs.
Make sure to have your battery checked every time you do vehicle maintenance. Car batteries are not entirely maintenance-free and will need some attention every so often. Ensure that your battery terminals are clean and that your cables are free of corrosion or damage. Using a wire brush to clean the terminals while the battery is disconnected can also help you prolong its life span ensuring that a clean connection is always made.