If you are searching for “how do I know what battery to buy for my car?” Take a look at this car battery buying guide and follow these steps:
1- Figure out the group size of the battery
2- Understand the minimum cold-cranking amps for your battery
3- Check the battery’s cell type
4- Decide on the brand and the warranty
Your vehicle's battery is one of the most critical components that you want to make sure it's working overtime. The battery is responsible for providing the initial charge to the engine and gets your vehicle going.
Without a perfectly working battery, your engine will not crank, and you'll have difficulty starting the vehicle. This can be extremely challenging if you're driving in extreme weather environments where the temperature is very high or very cold.
When the battery is not working properly, the only option would be to replace it immediately. However, replacing the battery can be challenging, especially if you don't know which battery to buy for your vehicle.
This article provides you with a battery buying guide to help you answer the question of “how do I know what battery to buy for my car?” Once you follow this article, you should not have any problem purchasing the right battery and preventing installing the wrong sized battery into your vehicle that could cause some damages.
How do I know what battery to buy for my car?
When it is time to replace your vehicle's battery, you'll notice one of the very common symptoms indicating that the battery is approaching the end of its lifetime. For instance, you'll see that the battery case is probably cracked, the terminals are not in good condition, and probably the battery is different in size than before.
Once you notice any of the mentioned symptoms, the only option would be to replace the battery. If you're wondering, “how do I know what battery to buy for my car?” Here's all you need to do:
1- Figure out the group size of the battery
The first thing you need to familiarize yourself with is what's known as the battery group size. Typically, batteries are grouped by size. This size indicates how big the battery case is. It will also have some specifications on the battery’s direction and orientation.
Check the battery’s group size on the battery labeled
If you don't know where the battery size is located, look at the battery and find the number on a label to the right corner of your battery's font size. Remember that you might not find this label if the battery was previously replaced because, typically, automakers will put the group size on the label.
Look for the battery’s group size on your vehicles owner’s manual
If you cannot locate the label and figure out the battery size, consider checking your vehicle owner’s manual because it will for sure tell you what your vehicle battery group size is. This information is usually located in the specification section.
Search online for your vehicle’s battery’s group size
Finally, if you still had issues locating the battery group size, consider looking online. Again, there are plenty of online resources to put your vehicle's make, model, and year to get information about the battery specifications. For instance, consider checking autobatteries.com as a very common website with almost a massive database of batteries and their related group sites.
2- Understand the minimum cold-cranking amps or the “CCA” for your battery
The next piece of information you need to answer is the question, “how do I know what battery to buy for my car?” Here's what's known as the cold cranking amps or the “CCA.”
The cold-cranking amps refer to the amount of electricity and charge in the battery suitable for starting her vehicle in cold temperatures.
Typically, the engine requires more electric charge to start when the weather is very cold as when it's warmer. Thus, the battery must always have the electric charge needed to start the engine in cold temperatures.
You can find the CCA number on the battery label. The number is typically located either on the side of the battery or the top, and it will say specifically the CCA number. But, again, if the battery is not the original one that came from the manufacturer, you might have difficulties locating the correct CCA number. Again, you will need to refer to the vehicle owner’s manual or search online for some guidance.
As a rule of thumb, you can go higher what the CCU number without any major issue in your vehicle, but you will not be able to go lower because you will not be able to start the vehicle in cold temperatures.
3- Check the battery’s cell type
Once you have the battery group size number and the CCA number, the next step is to determine what the battery cell type is?
There are plenty of available car batteries cell types that your vehicle might be using. Each one has its characteristics and comes with a different price range. In general, most vehicles will have one of the following three battery cell types:
The conventional lead-acid battery
The conventional lead-acid battery is the typical type of battery you'll find in almost all vehicles. It typically consists of two lead plates, one positive and the other negative, and they're both put together in one cell.
The conventional batteries are good enough to operate most vehicles, but they're not the best quality. The good thing about these conventional batteries is that they are the cheapest, and that's why most vehicles are equipped with them.
The enhanced flooded batteries or the EFB
On the other hand, the enhanced flooded batteries or the EFB batteries are more advanced, and they typically last longer while providing you with extra better characteristics. Usually, the enhanced water batteries are more expensive than conventional batteries, but many owners think it's worth it.
The great thing about the EFB batteries is that they are suitable for vehicles requiring more stop-start technologies, and they come in a sturdier durable form to help them last longer without needing a battery change.
The absorbent glass mat batteries or the AGM batteries
Finally, the eight GM or what's known as the absorbent glass mat batteries are almost the most advanced type of batteries you'll see in any vehicle. Their grades for aggressive driving conditions provide you with all you need to get your vehicle going without any difficulties, especially if you know that you would drive on off-road adventures.
The AGM batteries are more expensive, and they might not be needed for every vehicle. However, if you rely on the DVD player more often, the AGM option would be best for you.
4- Decide on the brand and the warranty
The final step in helping you determine “how do I know what battery to buy for my car?” is to decide on the brand and the warranty.
There are plenty available known manufacturers for producing the best car batteries that you want to consider. Or more experts typically recommend going with known manufacturers because newer unknown companies might not produce reliable batteries, and you will end up wasting your money. Thus, go with a reputable name, including big companies like Optima, Bosch, ACDelco, Diehard, and others.
Once you select the automaker, you can go ahead and select the battery grade. The grade refers to how long you want to use the battery and indicates the battery's lifetime. Typically, the highest battery-grade indicates that your battery is expected to last from 5 to 10 years without needing a battery change. As you go down the grade, expect your battery to last shorter.
One might wonder, why would I buy a low battery-grade? Well, lower battery grades are recommended for those planning to sell their vehicles soon, and they don't want to overspend on the vehicle. Plus, purchasing a battery that will last for a couple of months or a couple of years would be a better investment.
Once you're happy with the brand and the battery grade, you can go ahead and select the best warranty that works for you. Obviously, some warranties might provide you with the longest replacement term, but they require the highest costs. There are plenty of warranties that are good for up to 12 months, where others are longer for 48 months if not longer.
What happens if you put the wrong size battery in your car? And it doesn't matter what size of battery for my car?
Experts indicated that your vehicle must have the right battery size to prevent damages. Your vehicle is designed in a way to withstand a certain electric supply, and when you don't have the right amount of electric supply, you'll have difficulty starting the engine. As a result, your vehicle will eventually not work properly.
On the other hand, if you went with larger battery size, the vehicle would receive more or take charge than what it needs, and this will create a lot of spikes that could damage the vehicle's dashboard. This damage can be more severe if your vehicle is modern and equipped with very sensitive electric components.
If you're driving a small sedan vehicle with two doors, you won't need an as big battery as someone else was driving a large truck that needs a lot of electric supply to get started. Plus, larger batteries are more expensive. When you purchase one by necessity, you're almost throwing your money to waste because the battery will just cause major damage to your vehicle.
What does CCA stand for on a battery?
As we indicated earlier, the CCA number refers to what's known as the minimum cold-cranking amps. So this number indicates the minimum battery’s electric capacity suitable for starting your engine in colder temperatures.
As you might already know, your engine requires much more electric charge to get started in colder weather than when it's warmer outside. Thus, if your battery has sufficient charge to start and crank the engine in cold condition, you shouldn't worry about it in other temperatures.
It's important to understand your vehicle's CCA number to ensure buying the right battery that works for your car and prevent wasting your money on something that will not start your vehicle all the time.
Your vehicle's battery is a critical component, and if you don't have it working all the time, you'll have difficulty starting your car, which can be a big headache.
Since the battery is not designed to last forever, there will be a point of time where you have to ask yourself, “how do I know what battery to buy for my car?” This article provided you with the best battery buying guide with just four simple steps: understanding the group size, getting the minimum cold-cranking amps, checking the battery cell type, and deciding on the brand and the warranty.
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