The worst possible time to have to worry about replacing your car battery is when it’s already too late. There is nothing more frustrating than finding your vehicle with a dead battery, but it happens to us all. Performing an annual charge inspection is a great way to give yourself the time you need to get a new battery for your car before you’re stuck with a drained one.
There are so many brands and styles of the best car batteries flooding the market that it can be tough to know which one is right for you. You can start by taking a look at your vehicle manual for advice from the manufacturer. The size and style of battery should be listed for your convenience. You can also take your car to any local dealer and they can recommend and even install the right battery on the spot.
When choosing a replacement battery you will want to consider the style and make of your vehicle, performance requirements, the climate conditions where you live and whether you do more highway or city driving. All of these factors are an important part of weighing your choices for a new car battery. Let’s take a look at the basic breakdown of what you need to know before you buy your next car battery.
Types of Batteries
Lead Acid (Regular)
This is the style of battery that you will find in most cars built prior to 2015. This style of battery retains its water for life while self-recycling the charge. They are affordable and widely available in most sizes and styles. They have a lower charge life than AGM batteries and they do not tolerate any deep discharges well.
Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM)
These batteries are built to handle repeated drain and recharging. You find them most commonly in newer hybrids. Modern cars use more electricity to operate with GPS systems, automatic starters and multiple media ports. It is estimated that this style of battery will be in most vehicles within the next decade. They have a high tolerance for deep discharge and a long charge life, but are also nearly twice the cost of a regular battery.
Sizes & Styles
A compact sedan will need a much smaller battery than a full size SUV, so it’s important to know what size and style of battery is the best match for your car. Lead Acid batteries range in sizes from 24 to 75. Take a look in your owner’s manual for the correct size.
Batteries come with either dual terminals, top terminals or side terminals. You will need to know which style your current battery is to ensure a match. If you get the wrong style, you may not be able to mount your battery securely and complicate matters when you need access for charging.
- Choose a battery that has the highest ratings in Cold Crank Testing and has the longest charge life.
- Make sure that your battery is fresh. All batteries should come with a manufacturer’s date listed on the label. You don’t want a battery that is older than 6 months as they can lose their charge sitting in inventory.
- Compare warranties. Choose coverage that gives you the longest period of free replacement over a long prorated period where you will only have partial coverage.