When the time comes to change your battery, you now have more choices than ever before. Today’s batteries use improved technology, which gives them better power and longer life. This guide discusses what you need to consider when choosing your next battery.
Where you can get information about your new battery replacement type and characteristics
Which type of battery you should choose depends on your intended use, weather conditions, and the best battery characteristics for the purpose. The best source of information about the type of battery you should choose can be found in the Owner’s Manual. You should pay special attention to the battery’s technical specifications recommended there. You will also find there information about the recommended type of charging system. This is true whether the battery is for a car, motorcycle, marine use, a power tool, or lawnmower. It is always best to use the type of battery recommended by the manufacturer.
Other sources of information: a sticker on the original stock battery you intend to replace, and also, out of simplicity, you can either go to the store or battery finder services online. Input your year, make, and model, and it’ll tell you exactly what batteries fit your vehicle.
You should never put a battery in any mechanical device designed for a higher voltage than recommended because you could damage the device. Putting one in that does not have enough power can cause the device to malfunction and fail to work correctly.
Battery Group and Size
What you’re looking for on here is the group size. For example, it can be a group 4D, 78, H7, or group 51R, or any other group size. That’s the size of your battery. Choosing the correct BCI group is the most important components of the battery buying decision. BCI stands for Battery Council International and is the organization that sets the standard when it comes to the size, power, and location of the posts on batteries made for different purposes. While some battery groups are interchangeable, for the most part, cars, boats, and other vehicles are made with a specific battery group in mind.
The difference in battery groups is their physical size and shape, but each battery group can also have certain technical aspects. For instance, they will have different ampere-hours, cold-cranking amps, and voltages. The size is important because the battery must fit into the battery holder snugly without moving around. Sometimes, post location can be a major factor. For instance, if you have a sports car with a hood that sits close to the engine, a battery with long top posts might not allow the hood to close. Some battery groups have posts on the side for this exact reason.
If you buy a battery smaller than the holder, then the battery can move around and become damaged. This can cause a dangerous spill. If you get a battery that does not have enough power, then the vehicle might not start. You can substitute one battery group size for another in some circumstances, but you might have to replace the battery holder tray and tie-downs.
There are acid and non-acid batteries, such as Lithium, LiFePO4, and other newer types of lithium batteries. In acid batteries, you have a choice of flooded, AGM, deep cycle, and starting (SLI) batteries. But you can focus on two common types now. There is your standard flooded battery, which has been used forever, and then now we have AGM batteries, absorbed glass mat, which is a little bit more durable. So they’re built more durable to withstand vibrations and higher electrical loads. A lot of cars, especially newer cars today, have tons of sensors. They have that start-stop technology, where if you come to a light, the engine shuts off automatically, and then as you press on the gas, the car starts and goes. If your car has that, it needs an AGM battery, so check. If OEM requires an AGM, make sure you put an AGM back in. And even if your vehicle comes stock OEM with a flooded battery, you could always upgrade to an AGM battery if you want. It’s not necessary, but you can, especially if you’re running higher electrical loads and have off-road lights, winch, or aftermarket speaker system. It’s definitely something to think about if you have anything that adds an extra electrical demand.
When it comes to battery power, you must pay attention to the specifications very closely. Most batteries for cars are 12-volt batteries. They will also be listed for a certain amount of amperes. An easy way to think of this is that amperes is the amount of power the battery can store. The voltage is the rate at which the battery can deliver the power. If you think of it like a water faucet, the amperes is the amount of water in the tank, and the volts would be like the water pressure in the pipes and how strongly the water flows out.
It is essential to know the ranges of volts and amperes recommended by the auto or tool manufacturer. You should never exceed the maximum recommendations, but once again, getting a battery that does not have a high enough rating will not allow the car or device to function properly.
One specification that you will see on a battery is ampere-hours (Ah). This is a measurement of how long a battery can maintain a certain level of steady current before it drops to below optimal levels. A battery with a higher number of ampere-hours will go for a longer period before it needs charging. It might be noted that when purchasing batteries, certain factors can have a negative impact on the battery and drop the ampere-hours. For instance, cold weather, keeping a heavy electronic load on the battery, and the battery’s age can reduce the ampere-hours of the battery from its original.
Another specification that you will find on the battery is the CCA or cold-cranking amps. This is the amount of power that the battery can deliver in a single burst to start the engine in a cold environment (0°F/-18°C). Cold weather has a negative effect on the battery’s ability to deliver the amps necessary to start the vehicle. The more cold cranking amps you have, the more power you have reserved in your battery to start your car, even in cold weather.
The CCA is an important factor for those in colder climates, but you also need to consider the battery’s deep cycle capability. Many starting batteries can’t withstand low levels of discharge without some damage. A deep cycle is made to be discharged to low levels and recharged many times over its life. Treating a starting battery in this way will significantly shorten its life. You need to get the right type of battery for your needs, climate, and use.
Battery price and warranty
And then finally, when you go to buy your battery, you’re typically going to have a couple of options. So these are all the same exact battery size, but we have the lower end, the less expensive, all the way up to the higher end, the most expensive. And the biggest differences here are warranty and power. So which one should you get? It all depends on your car and how you drive. For example, what I like to do on my daily driver, gets the most abuse, it gets used the most. I want reliability. I’ll go with the most expensive battery, the highest end with the four-year warranty. This is what I’ll put in my Hummer. This is what I have in my truck. And this is a good option for if you need to save some money or you need a battery, but you might be getting rid of the car, it might not last. Save your money and go with something like that. All right. So now you know everything you need to know on what battery to get for your vehicle.
Once you have found your battery group number, then you can use our website to start a serious comparison and find the best battery from this group at the right price.
If you want your car to function properly for many years to come, you should use a battery that is recommended for it. Always consult the Owner’s Manual, and if it’s not available, you can read a sticker on your old battery to ensure you are searching for the right type and size of the battery. This assures a long battery life and will extend the car’s life, too.
Eric Strong works in the automotive repair industry more than 12 years. His work included repairing electrical systems in various vehicle systems. A hybrid electric car battery replacement experience expanded his understanding of automotive battery technology. Read More…