A won’t be able to start your car without a battery. When you insert your key in the ignition and try to crank it, a signal will be sent to the battery and it will convert the chemical energy into electrical energy which is needed to start the engine. A car battery usually lasts for about 3 to 5 years but due to some factors, it can suffer premature wear which can warrant a replacement. When buying a replacement battery for a car, many might ask, are all car batteries the same? No, they are not. There are different types of batteries and each one differs in a lot of ways. The type of battery your car needs depends on its specific energy needs and on your car’s make, year, model, and specifications.
Are all car batteries the same? Are they interchangeable? Keep in mind that they are not. When purchasing a replacement battery for your car, you need to consider factors like the battery’s brand, size, age, battery terminal type, reserve capacity rating, and cold-cranking amp rating. Different types of batteries include calcium batteries, deep cycle batteries, flooded batteries, absorbed glass mat batteries, enhanced flooded batteries, gel batteries, and electric vehicle batteries.
Are All Car Batteries the Same? – Is There Any Difference in Car Batteries?
The battery might be small compared to the major components of a car, but the role it plays on the car’s overall operation is pretty big. It is responsible for providing power to the car so it can run smoothly. Car batteries usually last for three to five years, or maybe more when it is well-maintained. But, it can wear down over time and become less efficient within three years, especially if the car is being driven everyday. It tends to deteriorate gradually every time the car’s engine charges it up. You will usually have to replace your car battery after three years.
When it is time for a car battery replacement, many might ask, are all car batteries the same? There are people who probably think that car batteries are interchangeable. But they are not, all car batteries are not the same. However, they do have one important similarity and that is, in how they function. Most car batteries are known as starting, lighting, and ignition batteries which means that they work to start a car, and provide the needed power to run the car’s lights, radio, and other electrical components. Most cars also offer a standard 12v output.
Although car batteries have some similarities, that does not mean that the answer to the question, are all car batteries the same, is yes. There are many differences in car batteries, including the size, its terminal type and configuration, reserve capacity, mounting system, and the number of cranking amps and cold cranking amps.
When your car battery is due for a replacement, you need to make sure that you will be getting the right battery for your car. You can consult your owner’s manual to know the specifications of the car battery you need to get. There are different types of car batteries which include:
- Calcium batteries
This car battery type is a lead-acid battery. It doesn’t have antimony on its grid but has a calcium component instead which is added to the car battery’s positive and negative plates. Calcium batteries are known to be low-maintenance since they use lead instead of antimony which is more affordable and widely available.
Although there are calcium batteries that require a higher charge voltage to achieve the same level of a normal antimony battery’s charge, most calcium batteries don’t require it. If your car needs an antimony battery, then this type of battery won’t be a good substitute since you won’t be able to enjoy a hundred percent state charge. According to the experts, calcium batteries work better on electric cars.
Using a calcium battery also has some pros and cons. Its advantages are its a hundred percent maintenance-free, it has a longer lifespan when compared to other batteries, it has higher cold cranking amps, and accepts higher charge rates. As for its disadvantages, calcium batteries take a while to recharge after being run flat and it will need a calcium specific charger for it to restore its hundred percent state of charge.
- Deep cycle batteries
A deep cycle battery is a lead-acid battery that is made to be regularly deeply discharged, with most of its capacity being used. This battery is one of the most common types of batteries sold in the market today. This is not like most starter batteries that usually discharge only a very small part of the capacity, offering short-high current burst when cranking.. This deep cycle battery can be deeply discharged regularly, making use of as much of its capacity. It can be discharged by as much as 80 percent.
This type of battery is equipped with much thicker plates than the standard car batteries. Its plates are solid lead plates and not sponge – one thing you have to check when purchasing a deep cycle battery to make sure you’re not getting the replica one.
- Flooded batteries
Also known as a wet cell battery, a flooded battery is lead-acid battery which is considered as the most common type of battery used in cars today. It is widely available and is more affordable. It can be easily charged and is capable of working in various types of climates.
It might come cheaper but flooded batteries have a shorter lifespan compared to the other battery types. It tends to fail prematurely when exposed to extreme cold and heat temperatures. This type of battery contains an electrolyte solution or battery acid which means that it should always be kept upright. The liquid in flooded batteries also makes them more susceptible to problems such as leaking and corrosion.
- Absorbed glass mat batteries
This type of battery is a bit similar to the flooded batteries. But with the absorbed glass mat or AGM battery, it uses glass mats to contain the electrolyte fluid inside the battery instead of allowing the said fluid to freely flood the plates in the battery. Plus, a battery acid spill won’t likely happen to an AGM battery since it is sealed. AGM batteries are also more bulkier than the flooded batteries.
There is also a spiral coil battery which is an AGM battery but it is made with a different construction. This battery also has a high output just like a standard AGM battery and is usually used in off road and high performance vehicles. A spiral coil battery is capable of creating higher current carrying capacity since its plates are rolled together with a thin absorbed glass mat in between, making more surface. It is known to be more resistant to extreme vibration and heat.
- Enhanced flooded batteries
An enhanced flooded battery, as its name suggests, is an improved version of a flooded battery, It is enhanced to meet the high energy demands of the modern vehicles. It is said that this type of battery can offer better durability, improved performance, and is more energy efficient compared to the standard batteries. It is said that enhanced flooded batteries are capable of providing up to 85,000 maximum engine starts.
- Gel batteries
Gel batteries have acid that has been gelled by adding silica gel. It turns the battery acid into a solid mass, making the acid impossible to spill even if the battery gets broken. However, because of this, gel batteries should be charged at a slower charge rate to keep it from overheating which can turn the gel back into a fluid.
- Electric vehicle batteries
Electric vehicles are getting more common today and this type of vehicle uses specialized electric vehicle batteries. Most electric vehicles today are using Lithium-ion or Li-on batteries which is a certain type of a rechargeable battery. This type of battery offers a higher energy density compared to the normal lead-acid or nickel-cadmium rechargeable batteries.
Are All Car Batteries the Same? – Do All Car Batteries Fit All Cars?
Knowing the different types of car batteries can tell us that the answer to the question, are all car batteries the same, is no. They differ in many ways and you need to know what type of battery your car needs and what specifications. There are people who ask, do all car batteries fit all cars? The answer is no, batteries differ in sizes too. In fact, the first thing that you have to determine when purchasing a new car battery is the size since not all car batteries fit into the battery tray.
Although there are a lot of car batteries being sold in the market today, not all of these batteries may work for your vehicle. There are vehicles that have larger or complicated electrical systems that will need a more powerful battery. That is why you need to make sure that you will choose the right battery for your car so you will be able to start your car without a problem. Here are some of the factors you need to consider to help you determine the type and specifications of the battery your car needs.
Like mentioned earlier, not all batteries will fit into your car’s battery tray. You need to consider the location and dimensions of your positive and negative posts and make sure that the battery is compatible with your vehicle. Pickup trucks, SUVs, and other larger vehicles may have a larger battery than the smaller cars like coupe. Vehicles have standard sizes or specific group sizes set when it comes to batteries to help avoid confusion and ensure that you will be able to install it without problem.
You should be able to find your car battery’s group size in the battery section of your owner’s manual. The common battery sizes are size 35 for newer models of Toyota, Honda, and Nissan vehicles, size 75 for many of General Motors vehicles, size 65 for larger Ford, Mercury, and Lincoln vehicles, size 34 for many Chrysler vehicles, and size 34/78 for several General Motors and Chrysler vehicles.
- Battery terminal type
There are some car make, model, and years that need batteries that have different terminal types and configurations. It is very important that you get the right one since the terminals are the ones that connect the battery to the car. The vehicles today usually have terminal types such as SAE, JIS, and L terminal.
SAW terminals have a cylindrical shape and its negative post is usually smaller than the positive post. JIS terminals are known to be thinner and smaller. Its negative post is also smaller than the positive one. L terminals are usually found on European car brands and it generally looks like small brackets shaped like an “L”. You will also spot a hole in the middle of the vertical end of an L terminal which is used to bolt the battery cables onto.
- Reserve capacity rating
The reserve capacity rating of a battery is its standing power or the length of time the car battery can supply the minimum voltage continuously which is needed to allow your car to run in the event that your fan belt or alternator fails. Choosing a battery with an impressive reserve capacity rating can be an advantage so you can still use your car even if the alternator fails.
However, do not just choose the one with the highest capacity rating since your car may have some specific reserve capacity rating recommended for your particular car model. You can consult your owner’s manual for this and choose the one that falls within the recommended range.
- Cold cranking amps rating
It is known that car batteries usually have a harder time cranking the engines in extremely cold temperatures. That is why there is a cold cranking amp which is a measure of your battery’s capacity to start your engine when the temperature is extremely low. This cold cranking amp rating can be found on a battery and it refers to the number of amps it can support for 30 seconds at 0°F. If you will be driving your car in extreme cold weather, choosing a car battery with an impressive CCA rating will be more beneficial.
Are all car batteries the same? It is not. Since there are different types of car batteries and they differ in many ways, it is important that you buy the right one for your car. You need the right battery to make sure that you can start your car without a problem.