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.
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.