A battery is an important asset for your car and it is perfectly alright to spend on it. Apart from providing power to start the vehicle, a car battery also gives electrical energy for the accessories like lights and door locks to work. It also acts as a stabilizer which takes action to control voltage spikes. Once it stops working, your car is useless. So, better be careful while you choose a battery. The choice of the battery depends largely on where you live. There are places that have extreme climates and those that have mild temperatures throughout the year. Here are some things to keep in mind while looking for a car battery.
Things To Remember While Picking A Car Battery
- Reserve Capacity
While selecting a battery, you have to find out what is its reserve capacity (RC). It denotes the minutes the battery is able to supply voltage continuously in case a need arises. While the car is running, the power is supplied by the alternator. In certain climatic conditions like excessive heat, more accessories like air conditioners and fans start using energy. When this continues for a long time, there is a chance for the alternator to completely stop working. In such situations, the car battery takes over the duty with its reserve capacity getting prominence. The longer the reserve capacity, the better it is for your car because you could avoid getting stuck on the road. The reserve capacity is specified in minutes. It is not usually printed on the battery. But, you can always ask the assistant in the store to find a battery with a longer RC.
- Cold Crank
Cold cranking amps is a measure of the car battery to start the engine even on extreme cold temperatures. It is common knowledge that during harsh winters, vehicles don’t start easily as the oil becomes too thick. Cold cranking amps is also used to refer to the number of amps supplied for 30 seconds at 0 degrees Fahrenheit. For people living in warm climates, this quantity is not so important. But in places where the temperature drops to 0 or below, cold cranking amps should be taken into consideration.
When you go to buy a battery for driving in cold conditions, go for the ones that have higher cold cranking amps. This ensures that your car’s engine will definitely start even in days with very low temperatures. Here, you cannot deny the fact that people in tropical climates need not worry too much about this number.
- Size Of The Battery
Size, also called group size, refers to the width, length, and height of the battery. Batteries have different sizes so that they fit in the battery tray of different cars. Before buying, you may refer the guides provided by the battery manufacturers and the car company to find the battery size suitable to your car. Remember that the battery should fit securely in the tray. If you mistakenly buy the wrong size, it may harm the car.
- Age Of The Battery
The age of the car battery refers to the time since it was manufactured. Knowing the age of the battery gives a hint about its performance. A battery is considered best if the age is less than six months. The date of manufacture is usually printed on the battery case. So when you go to the store, make sure that you verify the date which is printed. The date code is engraved on the positive terminal of the battery. The information given on the label starts with two characters. The first is a letter indicating the month of manufacture. For example, A denotes January, B for February and so on. The next is a digit which indicates the year. 9 indicates 1999, 0 for 2000 and so on. Be careful to choose a battery that has not been on the shelf for long. It is better to avoid placing order in the local service stations as you may not get fresh batteries
- Battery Brand
Brand refers to the identifying mark given to a product. The brand name could be same as or different from the name of the manufacturer. Every car comes with an instruction manual which gives details about various parts associated with the car. The best way to choose a brand for the battery is to go for the one specified in the manual. If you cannot afford it, then buy one that meets the requirements mentioned.
It is better to drop any idea of buying a cheap brand. Though it might seem money saver at the time of purchase, it could cost too much in the long run. Cheaper batteries are found to have numerous faults that affect the battery performance and ultimately its life. This results in the need for changing the battery very often thus losing all the money you thought you have saved.
- Climate Recommendations
It is advised to check the climate recommendations provided by the battery’s manufacturers. A lot of research goes into the process of framing these recommendations. Batteries suitable for cold weathers have a high value of cold cranking amps and reserve capacity. Batteries for hot weather have higher electrolyte-to-lead ratios so that they can endure the excessive heat. You can also take help from the support assistant in the store to choose the right battery.
Taking care of the above factors is essential for the optimum performance of the car battery whether the climate is cold or hot. In addition, go for regular battery checks to ensure a prolonged life. It is better to not compromise on the quality of the battery thinking of the cost. You will have to change a number of cheaper batteries in place of one good battery. So, buy the best one which is recommended by the manufacturers. Check if you can get some discount on the price if the battery is covered by the vehicle guarantee.
Wanda Greaves writes for BatteryChargersExpert.com – a great website dedicated to help people to find, use and do anything with their batteries, chargers or related electricity devices. Check out her latest article about Best Car Battery Charger.