Car Battery Buying Guide
Most of us don’t realize how important the car battery is. Especially if your car won’t start and you don’t have jumper cables with you or have to wait for roadside assistance. It is recommended to replace the car battery once or twice during the life of your vehicle as it gets old and worn out from charging and discharging repeatedly. A regularly maintained car battery can last you longer, and you will know exactly when it is time to replace it.
Here are tips for buying the right battery for your car.
Check Under the Hood
As we mentioned above, if you pay more attention to your battery’s maintenance, you will know exactly when your battery needs a replacement. So that you can choose the battery according to your needs.
In every regular maintenance of your car, don’t forget to inspect batteries as well, especially before going to a long road trip.
Usually, car batteries last from 3 to 5 years, according to their specifications. But as most of today's car batteries are “maintenance-free," it’s recommended to test the battery once every 2 years by a mechanic if you live in a warmer climate or every 4 years if you live in a colder climate.
Another main reason to replace the battery is its age. You can find all the information with a manufacture date on a sticker on top of the battery or the side of the battery. A battery made in October 2018 will have a numeric code of 10-8 or an alphanumeric code of K-8. "A" is for January, "B" is for February, and so on (the letter "I" is skipped).
Get the Right Fit
Car batteries are available in different sizes. That’s why you should make sure you get the right size and type for your car. Check the owner's manual of your car before shopping.
Every time you decide to replace your old battery with another more optimum performance and better battery, always consult with your mechanic first.
Get a Newer Battery
Even when batteries stay in storage, they lose their strength over time. If you want better performance, then try to get the battery, which is less than 3 or 6 months old. Most have a shipping code on the case. Some use a letter for the month ("A" for January) and a number for the year ("8" for 2018); others use a numeric date.
When buying a new battery at a store, you can return the old battery as a battery's toxic lead and acid can easily be recycled. So that you can save money on the price.
Another essential thing to pay attention to when buying a battery is the warranty. A battery's warranty is measured in two figures: the free-replacement period and the prorated period—which allows only partial reimbursement. A code of 24/84, for example, indicates a free-replacement period of 24 months and a prorated warranty of 84 months. Remember, improper installation or low water level are not included in the warranty.
There are two basic types of car batteries: the more traditional maintenance-free and the more advanced absorbed glass mat (AGM).
Before it was required periodically to top off the water in the electrolyte solution, the liquid inside that is the battery’s power source. But for today’s maintenance-free batteries it is not needed as this type of batteries keep their fluid for the life of the battery, and the caps on these models shouldn’t be removed.
There are still some batteries which can be topped off with distilled water, but if you maintain them properly, these batteries may last longer in hot climates as well.
Lead-acid batteries price is significantly lower, but they do not hold a charge for as long and are less able to tolerate a deep discharge.
Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM)
AGM batteries withstand better repeated draining and recharging cycles than standard batteries. Today AGM batteries become a piece of standard equipment in many cars because of increased demand for power (for example, fuel-saving stop-start systems, electronic safety and convenience features, and power outlets for mobile electronics).
And their cost is much more expensive than regular batteries. But AGM batteries can better stand for deep discharge, and there is a chance to recover if it is accidentally drained fully.
Get the Best Battery for Your Vehicle
It is essential to choose the right battery for your car to ensure that it provides enough power. If the terminals are in the wrong place, your car’s cables might not reach, or they might not fit securely. Always check your owner’s manual before buying.
Here are some variants of batteries and the types of cars to which they may fit.
Size 24/24F (top terminal): Fits many Acura, Honda, Infiniti, Lexus, Nissan, and Toyota vehicles.
Size 34/78 (dual terminal): Fits many large Chrysler vehicles and many 1996 to 2000 GM pickups, SUVs, and midsized and large sedans.
Size 35 (top terminal): Fits most Japanese nameplates, including many new Honda vehicles and most Nissan, Subaru, and Toyota vehicles.
Size 47 (H5) (top terminal): Fits many Buick, Chevrolet, Fiat, and Volkswagen models.
Size 48 (H6) (top terminal): Fits many European as well as American vehicles from Audi, BMW, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, Jeep, Mercedes-Benz, Mini, Volkswagen, and Volvo.
Size 49 (H8) (top terminal): Fits many European and Asian vehicles from Audi, BMW, Hyundai, and Mercedes-Benz.
Size 51R (top terminal): Fits many Japanese vehicles from Honda, Mazda, and Nissan.
Size 65 (top terminal): Fits large cars, trucks, and sport-utility vehicles from Ford or Mercury.
Size 75 (side terminal): Fits some General Motors midsized and compact cars and a few Chrysler vehicles.