Replacing a car battery should always be on your car maintenance schedule because the process is easy. In the united states today even I the times of untrusted batteries we still have three companies that produces most batteries that are maintenance free– Delphi, Exide and Johnson Controls Industries. These companies are the manufacturers of the batteries but are marketed under different names. What really matters in a battery is not the name on it, what matters most is the age, cold cranking amps, group size and reserve capacity.
- Group size: this determines the outer dimension of the battery and where their terminals are. When buying a battery make sure the group size matches the one of the battery you are replacing or else you end up buying a battery that your car can’t use. Luckily most battery retailers arrange their batteries in sequence like make of the car, the year they can be used for and the model.
- Cold cranking amps: This is shows the ability of the battery to start a car at 0 degrees Fahrenheit (-17 degrees Celsius), when the chemical potential of the battery is low and the engine oil is thick. During cold weather, the higher the CCA the higher the chance for it to start. This is usually on the sticker of most car batteries as either CA, or cranking amps. This is measured at 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius) and most times a higher number. However, it does not give 100% accuracy when assessing the ability of the car to start in a cold weather.
- Age: all batteries have a set date by the manufacturer on them and those batteries should be sold within six months of the set date. Before buying a battery make sure to check the dates. At times the dates are written in codes. Mostly the coded dates starts with an alphabet that indicates the month—for instance A for January, B for February, C for march and so on, and the years are represented in numbers like 0 for 2000, 1 for 2001 and on.
- Reserve capacity: finding this number on a battery is the most useful but difficult. It shows you the amount of time your car can run using only the battery power should incase the alternator dies. This number is usually found in the battery manual at the store or online but rarely on the battery itself.
Carefully go through the rules and follow them then you should be able to go through the worst you battery can bring and also get a more reliable one when needed.