What to Look for in a Good Car Battery
In order for engines to start, cars are equipped with car batteries. Automotive batteries are rechargeable batteries that supply electricity to cars. Without an automotive battery, your car won't start. However, extreme temperatures, frequent short trips, and a damaged charging system can drastically affect a battery's life. If you hear clicking sounds when starting your car and if your vehicle's battery already has sulfate build-up, you need to replace the battery immediately. Just like when buying other car parts, choosing the right car battery is not easy. Below is a list of what you should look for in a good car battery.
Car batteries come in different sizes. A battery's size defines the placement of terminals and the outside dimensions of a certain car battery. For instance, size 65 fits large Ford models. On the other hand, size 35 fits newer Toyota, Nissan, and Honda models.
Always choose the battery size recommended by your vehicle's manufacturer. If you'll buy the wrong size, it won't fit in your car's battery tray.
When buying a replacement car battery, take note of these power ratings:
- Reserve capacity (RC): Measured in minutes, this power rating measures a battery's ability to sustain 25 amperes of electrical load at 26.7 degrees Celsius.
- Cold cranking amps (CCA): This rating measures in amperes the amount of current that a battery can sustain for 30 seconds at -18 degrees Celsius.
Buying a battery with a high CCA rating is a good idea, so you'll have more power on cold winter days especially if you live somewhere cold. Never buy a battery that has a lower CCA rating than your car's OEM battery.
A good batter not only relies on its power rating-it relies on how it's constructed as well. Nowadays, most batteries fit into two main categories: lead-acid and spiral grid.
- Lead-acid type: By using flat positive and negative lead plates submerged in sulfuric acid and water, lead-acid batteries produce energy needed to start a car. Most cars use this kind of battery because of its affordability and well-established quality.
- Spiral grid: By mixing electrolyte with absorbent glass mats (AGM), spiral grid batteries create energy. Though they are more expensive, spiral grids have exceptional vibration resistance, less discharge, and longer lives.
If you're having a hard time choosing between these two, you should consider your budget first. Batteries range from 100 USD to 500 USD. If you have the resources, we recommend that you buy the spiral grid. But if you don't, then you should settle for the lead-acid type.
Battery Buyer’s Guide
- The battery of your car is the heart of the vehicle’s electrical system.
- A car battery is a device that stores energy in chemical form. It converts chemical energy to electrical energy in order to power the electrical circuits within your car.
- There are different types of car batteries, such as lead-acid batteries, AGM batteries, lithium-ion batteries, gel batteries, and SLI batteries.
- A car battery can last up to five years as long as its electrical system remains in great condition, is not subjected to extreme heat on a regular basis, and goes through full charging cycles regularly.
- It is best to buy the type of battery that is described in your owner’s manual.
- The price of a car battery replacement is around $70.
The battery of your car is the heart of its electrical system. The car battery has evolved into different types and forms to suit the continuous technological and mechanical advances of automobiles. The introduction of hybrid and electric vehicles, for instance, brought about lithium-ion batteries.
Aside from your car’s model, there are other factors to consider when buying a car battery. This includes your vehicle’s engine size, battery technology, and reserve cranking power. Learn more about car batteries in this helpful guide.
How does a car battery work?
A car battery is a device that stores energy in chemical form. It converts chemical energy to electrical energy in order to power the electrical circuits within your car. Furthermore, the battery does not only start your car, but also stabilizes voltage in order to keep your engine running.
What are the types of car batteries?
The lead-acid battery was the first rechargeable battery for commercial use. It was invented by Physician Gaston Planté in 1859. Lead-acid batteries remain to be widely used today thanks to their dependability and affordability.
Modern vehicles have a huge demand for absorbed glass mat (ACM) batteries because of higher cold cranking amps (CCA) and reserve charge (RC) increases. This kind of battery is like the lead-acid type, except it has electrolytes held in glass mats. AGM batteries are safe from spillage because they can operate in any orientation.
Lithium-ion batteries are mostly compatible with hybrid and electric automobiles. They can store more energy and are lighter compared to traditional lead-acid batteries. However, this kind of battery tends to have a shorter lifespan, which is usually up to three years regardless of use.
As its name implies, a gel battery contains acid that is gelled. Thanks to their consistency, gel batteries do not spill at all even when broken. However, one disadvantage of this battery is its slower charge rate, which is what keeps it from overheating. Excess heat can turn the gel into liquid, which can possibly damage the cells of the battery.
A starting, lighting, and ignition (SLI) battery is a type of lead-acid, rechargeable battery. Though a good number of vehicles still use this kind of battery, it can become limited in supplying power to a vehicle. It can start your car and provide power to ignition, lights, radio, and other car components, but has a shallow charge cycle. Moreover, it can only deliver power in short amounts of time.
How long does a car battery last?
A car battery can last up to five years as long as its electrical system remains in great condition, is not subjected to extreme heat regularly, and goes through full charging cycles regularly. Just like any car component, a battery also needs replacing over time due to aging and wear and tear.
Signs of a faulty car battery
Difficulty charging and running on full power are some of the tell-tale signs that your car battery has to be checked. A faulty electrical system can affect the various electronic circuits of your car, including its lights, radio, and dashboard computer. Note that the more devices you plug into your car, the faster the battery tends to die.
Difficulty in starting the engine
A worn-out battery can cause a slow starting engine. The battery will take longer to charge for the starter, and the engine will take a while before turning over. When this happens, the best course of action is usually to replace the battery with a new one.
A bad smell coming from a gas leak in the battery is another red flag. If you smell such an odor after opening the hood, have your battery checked immediately.
You may notice white, ashy residue on your battery’s metal parts once the connectors have corroded. Corroded terminals mean that the negative and positive metal connections located at top of the battery are experiencing voltage issues. This can cause issues when you’re starting your car.
Climate, electronic demands, and driving habits all affect your battery’s lifespan. It can typically last from three to five years, but it is still advisable to check it regularly. Experts recommend having your car battery checked when it closes in to its three-year mark.
What is the best car battery?
There are many options in the market when it comes to car batteries, but there are also many factors to consider when buying a new one. Aside from the model of your car, it is essential to take note of the specifications of its battery before buying one. It is best to buy the type of battery that is described in your owner’s manual.
How much is a car battery?
The cost of a car battery may vary depending on its brand and specs. For example, you may be able to get a good car battery replacement for around $70.
DIY: Replacing a Car Battery
Because of daily use and various driving conditions, car batteries eventually get damaged. A damaged car battery can cause a vehicle to not start at all due to electrical resistance. So, if your car's battery is already damaged, you have to replace it immediately. Fortunately, car battery replacement is easy, and you can do it at home. This guide will teach you how you can do it at home. If you're a beginner at DIY auto repairs, it might take you 45 minutes to finish this task. If you're an expert, however, you'll be able to do the job in 20 minutes.
Difficulty level: Easy
What you need:
- New car battery
- Wire brush
- Combination wrench
- Socket and ratchet
- Anti-corrosion solution
- Battery-cleaning solution
Step 1: Park in a well-ventilated area, and let your car's engine cool for a few minutes.
Step 2: Once the engine is cool, open the hood and locate the battery. Depending on your vehicle, the battery may be located in the trunk or behind the front fender.
Step 3: Disconnect the black (negative) cable from the battery. You can do this by loosening the nut with a combination wrench. Once the cable is loose, slide it off the terminal.
Step 4: Detach the red (positive) cable by doing the same procedure.
Step 5: With your combination wrench or socket and ratchet, unfasten the battery hold-down clamp, screws, or bars securing the battery in place.
Step 6: Once all of the fasteners or screws are removed, carefully lift the battery out. Do this by grabbing from the bottom using both your hands. If your car's battery has a handle, use it.
Step 7: Using your wire brush and the battery-cleaning solution, brush the corrosion from the hold-down clamp and battery tray. Let the area dry before proceeding with the next step.
Step 8: Put the new battery in the battery tray, and secure it with the hold-down clamp. You can spray your new battery's terminal ends with an anti-corrosion solution to prevent battery corrosions.
Step 9: Connect and tighten the red cable followed by the black cable. Make sure that all cables are properly connected. If the cables are moving, your car won't start.
Step 10: Close the hood of your car firmly, and start your car. Make sure that all electronic devices are working.