Who knew that buying a car battery could be so confusing? It's just a battery, right? How do you sort through the confusion, and buy the best battery for your vehicle? There are some essential things you'll want to know when you need a new battery for your car.
â€¢ Know your group size. This doesn't mean how many people you're going to talk to when going car battery shopping to make sure you get the right one. Group size refers to the size of the battery itself, and the position of the terminals. Making sure you get a new battery in the right group size means the battery will fit correctly in your car and that the terminals are positioned correctly. Your owner's guide or a helpful auto shop attendant should be able to help you select the right group size.
â€¢ How much amperage do you need? A battery needs to be powerful enough to start your car engine. The "power" of the battery is referred to as its amperage. The more amps, the more powerful the battery is. Higher CCA (cold cranking amps) means that your car battery will more effectively start in cold weather -- weather below 0 degrees Fahrenheit (-17 Celsius). CA or "cranking amps" refer to the batteries amperage when the temperature is 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius). The colder the climate in which you live, the more important these numbers are for your battery purchase.
â€¢ Ask about reserve capacity. A battery's reserve capacity is how long the vehicle can run on battery power alone. This value is rated in minutes so you'll have an idea of how far you can go before the engine quits. It helps to know the battery's reserve capacity as you make your selection.
â€¢ Long life batteries. Do you make short trips and frequent stops, or do you primarily make long road trips? If most of your trips are short ones, usually less than 30 minutes, you'll probably want to make sure you buy a long life battery. The longer a battery's life, the better it will function without extended recharge times.
â€¢ Battery guarantees. Many batteries come with guarantees -- the promise of the manufacturer or dealer to replace the battery if it doesn't work. By getting a good guarantee, you can rest assured that you're getting good value for your money.
â€¢ Batteries are better newer. Batteries are marked with manufacture dates and just like fruits and veggies, the fresher, the better. Check the battery's date on the stamp code, and look for a battery that has been on the shelves for less than six months.
If your battery isn't a good one, your car won't start and we all know how frustrating that is. It definitely pays to do some research and make an informed decision when buying a car battery.
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