In order for engines to start, cars are equipped with car batteries. Automotive batteries are rechargeable batteries that supply electricity to cars. Without an automotive battery, your car won't start. However, extreme temperatures, frequent short trips, and a damaged charging system can drastically affect a battery's life. If you hear clicking sounds when starting your car and if your vehicle's battery already has sulfate build-up, you need to replace the battery immediately. Just like when buying other car parts, choosing the right car battery is not easy. Below is a list of what you should look for in a good car battery.
Car batteries come in different sizes. A battery's size defines the placement of terminals and the outside dimensions of a certain car battery. For instance, size 65 fits large Ford models. On the other hand, size 35 fits newer Toyota, Nissan, and Honda models.
Always choose the battery size recommended by your vehicle's manufacturer. If you'll buy the wrong size, it won't fit in your car's battery tray.
When buying a replacement car battery, take note of these power ratings:
- Reserve capacity (RC): Measured in minutes, this power rating measures a battery's ability to sustain 25 amperes of electrical load at 26.7 degrees Celsius.
- Cold cranking amps (CCA): This rating measures in amperes the amount of current that a battery can sustain for 30 seconds at -18 degrees Celsius.
Buying a battery with a high CCA rating is a good idea, so you'll have more power on cold winter days especially if you live somewhere cold. Never buy a battery that has a lower CCA rating than your car's OEM battery.
A good batter not only relies on its power rating-it relies on how it's constructed as well. Nowadays, most batteries fit into two main categories: lead-acid and spiral grid.
- Lead-acid type: By using flat positive and negative lead plates submerged in sulfuric acid and water, lead-acid batteries produce energy needed to start a car. Most cars use this kind of battery because of its affordability and well-established quality.
- Spiral grid: By mixing electrolyte with absorbent glass mats (AGM), spiral grid batteries create energy. Though they are more expensive, spiral grids have exceptional vibration resistance, less discharge, and longer lives.
If you're having a hard time choosing between these two, you should consider your budget first. Batteries range from 100 USD to 500 USD. If you have the resources, we recommend that you buy the spiral grid. But if you don't, then you should settle for the lead-acid type.