How to buy auto batteries
An auto battery buying guide
Auto batteries are one of many essential automotive replacement parts for auto and tire maintenance. There are many different types of auto batteries made for specific brands and types of cars. When thinking about how to buy auto batteries, consider a few simple points to find the auto battery brand and battery to power the automotive electrical system in your vehicle.
>> Look for the freshest battery
As you shop for auto batteries, battery boosters and auto battery chargers, remember that any top rated auto battery will not be older than six months. There is a code that every battery manufacturer puts on their battery that tells you the battery's age, and it will either be displayed on a sticker on the packaging, or it can be found in the product description. The code is simply a combination of one letter and one number. The letter stands for the month the battery was manufactured with "A" being January, "B" being February and so on. The number will be the last number of the year the battery was manufactured. So, "B3" means the battery was made in February 2013 and "A2" means January 2012. This code is a good way to perform auto battery comparisons at the store.
Auto parts stores are required to recharge the batteries that sit on their shelves every three months, and buying a fresh battery ensures that your battery has a good charge.
>> Consider the battery's reserve capacity
Reserve capacity is how long the battery can sustain a minimum load in minutes. Specifically, this is the time (in minutes) that the battery can deliver 25 amps before the voltage of the battery drops below 10.5 volts. This is important because in today's cars there is almost always a slight drain on the battery even when the car is off. This drain comes from car alarms, car stereos, clocks and computers. Also, if you make a short trip, your battery will not have time to fully recharge, in which case the reserve capacity comes into play even more. Check the reserve capacity time on the battery you are considering and remember that a higher capacity is better. While you could use auto diagnostic tools to determine the battery's reserve capacity, you likely won't need to. The reserve capacity should be readily available on the battery, in the packaging or from the manufacturer.
>> What voltage and type of auto battery does your car need?
Auto battery sizes are sorted into numbered categories, and car manufacturers build their cars with a specific battery number in mind. Some cars are built for size 75, for example. Ensuring that you use the right size category means the battery will be compatible with the car's other auto body parts.
You can check your car's owner's manual to find your auto battery size, or you can examine the old battery that your car used before you decided to buy a new one. Most cars use a 12.6 volt lead-acid battery. However, there are cars that use different voltages and different electric charge methods. Additionally, if you are looking to buy a marine battery, you should check with your boat's owner's manual because marine batteries are different from car batteries.
>> Determine the necessary cold cranking amps (CCA) for your vehicle
The best auto battery for your car will have enough cold cranking amps to start your car even in the coldest weather. CCA is a measurement of the amount of power that your battery will be able to deliver when it is 0 degrees Fahrenheit outside. Don't confuse CCA with CA, cranking amps, which is the amount of power the battery delivers at 32 degrees Fahrenheit. The top rated auto batteries will have enough CCA to start your car. Check your car's owner's manual to see if it specifies a recommended number of CCA. You should meet this recommendation, but be sure not to go over 200 amps of this number either.
>> Examine whether the battery is a no-maintenance or a low-maintenance battery
No-maintenance types of auto batteries will never require any maintenance on your part, while low-maintenance batteries will require you to replenish the battery water occasionally. Water will evaporate as you use your battery. No-maintenance batteries are sealed and include extra water at the top of the battery to replace the water that evaporates. Low-maintenance batteries are not sealed. You will have to open these batteries occasionally and pour distilled water into the battery. Be sure you are comfortable with the operation of either as you think about how to buy an auto battery.
Be sure to research individual auto battery brands as well as various types of auto batteries while making your auto batteries comparison. This way, you will be able to make an informed decision on which is the best auto battery to buy for you. By picking out the right auto battery to use in your vehicle, you will be able to start it reliably in a number of different conditions for a long time.