A batter is an essential component of your vehicle. Without it, your car won’t operate. The battery supplies power to the starter, the lights and the ignition, which is why it is such a vital part for a car. Over time, though, car batteries lose their capacity. When this happens, the vehicle experiences slower or more unreliable performance. Often times, when a car won’t start up, it’s because the battery is dead and needs to be recharged, or it needs to be replaced. Signs that a car battery is failing include difficulty with starting, reduced control of electronic equipment, or a completely failure to start at all. While a dead battery can be recharged, if it does die, it is a surefire sign that it needs to be replaced.
There are a lot of car batteries on the market, which can make finding the best one to suit your specific needs a bit of a challenge. To help you in your quest for finding the best battery for your vehicle, we have put together this handy buyer’s guide. In it, you will find a wealth of invaluable information that will make buying the best battery for the needs of your vehicle a lot easier. This guide offers pertinent information related to shopping for a car batter, including the different types of batteries there are, the factors that should be take into consideration to help you choose the best battery, and the power needs of your vehicle, among other things.
Types of Car Batteries
Since a battery is such an integral component of a car, it is important to understand which type will work best for the specific type of vehicle that you own. With that said, there are two main types of car batteries, which include:
- Flooded, or wet cell, lead acid car batteries
- Valve regulated lead acid car batteries
To understand which type of battery you need for your car, please keep on reading.
Flooded or Wet Cell Lead Acid Car Batteries
Flood or well cell car batteries are one of the oldest and most reliable types of car batteries available. This type of car battery is offered in two different styles:
- Serviceable – Serviceable lead acid free car batteries can be refilled with water when their electrolyte levels start to diminish.
- Maintenance free – This type of flooded lead acid free car battery retains its fluids levels for the life of the battery.
In order to function, both types of flood lead acid are batteries are filled with electrolyte fluid, which is responsible for creating the chemical reaction that is needed to create the flow of an electrical charge. They also boast freely suspended plates, which are insulated from one another, sealing the fluid in so that you don’t have to top it off.
Valve Regulated Lead Acid Car Batteries
Valve regulated lead acid car batteries tend to last longer than flood car batteries. This type of car battery is offered in either a gel cell or an absorbed glass version. Both types are low maintenance, are dry and are sealed to prevent spillage and leaks. They also recharge at a relatively fast rate. To better understand the difference between the two versions of valve regulated lead acid car batteries, take a look at the breakdown below.
- Gel Cell Car Batteries – These batteries use a gelatin substance in the electrolyte material, which helps to lower the amount of discharge that is created. They are better suited for use in warm weather or in high heat applications, making them a great choice for choice for high performance or heavy duty vehicles that tend to generate a lot of heat under the hood.
- Absorbed Glass Mat Car Batteries – This model uses very thin mats, which keep resistance low and create a high burst of amps, a process which makes starting up a vehicle quick and easy. They work very well in cold weather, as the materials used in them resist low and subzero temperatures well. They are also well suited for vehicles that are not driven on a daily basis, as they hold a charge longer than other batteries when they are idle.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Battery for Your Car
A battery is an essential part of your car, and as such, you want to choose the best option possible. In order to do that, there are certain factors that you are going to want to take into consideration when shopping for a battery for your car. The following factors should be taken into consideration because they can help you determine the best overall quality. When you take these factors into consideration, you will be able to choose the best battery for your vehicle with ease.
One of the most, if not the most, important factors that should be taken into consideration when choosing a battery for your car is durability, as the more durable the battery is, the longer it will last. A durable battery means that you won’t have to worry about replacing it as often, which not only enhances your driving experience, but also reduces the amount of money that you spend in the long run. The best car batteries are able to last for several years, especially when they are taken care of properly.
The Maintenance Procedure
Another important factor to consider is the maintenance procedure of the battery. Like all parts of your car, maintenance is important for a battery, as it will ensure that it runs smoothly, will extend the life of the battery, and will ensure that you don’t run into problems unexpectedly. Do note that some car batteries don’t require any maintenance, which is something that you may want to consider if you don’t want to worry about maintaining this part of your car.
The Group Size
The group size of a battery refers to its dimensions. It also describes the terminal orientation of the battery. When selecting a new battery for your car, make sure that the group size of the new battery is the same as the old one. In order to avoid making the mistake of purchasing the wrong size, it is a good idea to take the old battery with you to the retailer.
Cold Cranking Amps Measurement
Cold craning amps measurements refers to the number of amperes that a car battery produces with a 30 second time frame at zero degrees Celsius. Generally speaking, the rule of thumb is that a good car battery will have a higher cold cranking amps. When a battery has a higher cold cranking apms, it has a greater chance of starting the car, even in cold weather. Choose a battery that has at least the same cold cranking amps as the old battery, if not a higher cold cranking amps rating.
The Reserve Capacity
The reserve capacity of a car battery allows you to determine the length of time that the battery will run should the alternator die out. To figure out the reserve capacity, you will need to check the amount of time, in minutes, it will take the battery to reach 25 amps. You should also check to ensure that the battery maintains a stable voltage at a minimum of 10.5 volts the entire time it is in operation.
You should also take price into consideration when purchasing a new battery for your car. Generally, the higher the quality of the battery and the longer the life expectancy, the more expensive it will be.
Battery Service Life
Battery service life refers to the length of time that the battery is expected to last. On average, car batteries last 4 to 6 years, and there are a number of factors that will impact the life expectancy, including the weather that the vehicle is exposed to and your driving style.
Car Battery Features
Car batteries can offer certain features. These features are intended to improve the efficiency of the battery, to lengthen the life expectancy, and the make it easier to install the battery. Here is a look at some of the top features that we think you will find useful in a car battery.
Low Equivalent Series Resistance
Low equivalent series resistance improves the energy density of a car battery, thus improving the reliability and power of the battery.
Fiberglass Mat Separators
Fiberglass matt separators act as absorbent sponges, helping to deliver maintenance free, high performance power, lower self discharge and greater vibration resistance.
Spiral Cell Design
A car battery that features a spiral cell design makes the battery safer for you, your family and the environment.
The best car batteries will come complete with a warranty. Look for a minimum of a one year warranty. Should anything happen to the car battery during the span of the warranty, you could have it replaced, or you could have your money refunded. Make sure you read the details of your warranty to ensure that you understand exactly how it works.
The Best Car Battery Brands
There are various manufacturers that produce car batteries, which can make it difficult to determine which brand is the best to choose for your car. To help you make the best choice, we have tested several car battery brands ourselves and have done extensive research, reviewing user reviews and ratings. Our research has lead us to conclude that the following brands of car batteries are the best of the best.
Bosch is the maker of high quality components for cars. Their batteries are among the best on the market. They are extremely durable, offer great power and last a long time. They also require minimal, if any, maintenance, and can operate in even the harshest of conditions.
Another one of the best battery brands is Duralast. This brand produces several types of batteries that provide outstanding performance, are easy to install and last a long time.
We also found that Ever Stat car batteries were among the best of the best. This brand’s batteries are constructed of the highest quality materials and the most cutting edge technologies. They last a long time and are easy to maintain, if they require any maintenance at all.
Interstate is also highly regarded for the high quality car batteries that they produce. They are easy to install, last a long time and provide exceptional durability and performance.
Die Hard produces some of the highest quality car batteries available on the market today. They can withstand extreme conditions, provide exceptional power and are extremely reliable.