Guide to buying a car battery
Waking up in the morning and finding out your car won’t start can ruin your day. If you are thinking about buying a car battery follow our guide so you can have the information to make a sound purchase.
There are multiple types of car batteries. Some are stronger while others are too large to fit in certain cars. Buying a car battery that is specifically made for your car can get you on the road with certainty.
Do you actually need a new battery?
When your car doesn’t start most people assume that the battery is bad. While the battery can be the culprit there can be other reasons why your car won’t start.
Other reasons why your car won’t start
Loss of charge
If your battery hasn’t charged back up it may be too low to start the battery. Cars require the battery to have a good amount of charge to start the vehicle. If there isn’t enough power your car won’t turn over. Charging your car’s vehicle with a battery charger or jumping it with jumper cables might get you back up and running.
Did you know that the battery light on your dash doesn’t always refer to the battery? The illuminated battery light actually refers to the charging system. In other words, your alternator might be bad.
While your car is running the alternator is what supplies electricity to the car. If the alternator isn’t charging the battery then your car will start running entirely off the battery. Just like any other battery, the charge will drain until there is nothing left.
A bad alternator could kill your battery’s charge and make it nearly impossible to start back up. You can usually take your car to an auto parts store near you for a battery test.
A decent battery connection is required to start your vehicle. If your battery connections aren’t working properly then your car might not start. The connections, which are called battery terminals, can corrode over time. As the metal starts to deteriorate the connection gets worse.
If it gets to the point where there is a good enough surface are then your car may not start. You can typically prevent this by using battery terminal grease, foam battery covers, and by regularly cleaning the terminals of corrosion.
In worst-case scenarios, you can replace the battery terminals. While it isn’t the most difficult thing to do some cutting is usually required.
While the battery might be good and fully charge there are other times your car might not start. If there is a fuel issue your car might turn over but not start. You place the key in and turn. The car acts like it want’s to start but it never does.
Could you be out of gas? Maybe your fuel pump or something in the fuel system has failed. Without proper diagnosis, there is no way to know what is wrong. In most cases, this is when you want to get your car towed to your mechanic. Cars need fuel, compression, and electricity to start. If you are missing any of these things your car won’t start.
So do you actually need a new battery?
If you have checked all of the options above then you may want to get your battery tested. You can use a tester at home to see if your battery is bad. You could also take the battery to a shop to have it tested.
They should be able to tell you if your battery voltage is low or if there is an internal problem. Sometimes when a battery is old it starts to leak or bow. If you see that your battery is looking rather plump odds are the battery is bad.
Can you rebuild batteries?
Rebuilding batteries is typically called Battery Reconditioning. It is possible to rebuild a car battery. As long as you find detailed instructions and use proper safety you can rebuild your battery at home.
You may be wondering how to recondition a battery. This process includes replacing battery components with new pieces. Checking everything for its condition will show you if items need to be replaced.
What are some things you should know when buying a car battery?
Cold Cranking Amp
When purchasing a battery it’s good to know what Cold Cranking Amp (CCA) your car requires. CCA is determined by an equation but more or less says how much cranking power your battery needs to start your car.
With less than the required cranking amps, your battery may struggle to start your car. It might even lessen the life of the battery. That is why it’s important to get a battery that meets or exceeds your car’s cold cranking amp requirement.
If you look at the battery you should typically show the Cold Cranking Amp. For instance, it may say CCA 500. That means that the Cold Cranking Amp rating is 500.
Batteries come in all shapes and sizes. A battery for your car might be too small for someone else. When purchasing a battery you want to make sure that you are getting the correct size.
The battery typically sits in a battery tray with a hold-down. If your battery is too large it may not fit in the tray at all. In addition, you won’t have a way of keeping it secure in the car while you’re driving. The same goes for a smaller battery. It might fit in your battery tray but you might not be able to secure it.
Warranties are very important when purchasing a battery. You could spend $79 on a battery and have to replace it in a few months. Cheaper batteries don’t always come with a warranty.
By purchasing a battery with a decent warranty you can have peace of mind that you won’t have to worry about your battery failing in a couple of years. If there is an issue your warranty should cover the battery which means no out-of-pocket money for you.
Depending on where you purchase your battery the warranties can vary. Find which battery fits within your budget and try to get one with a warranty.
As stated before batteries come in different shapes and sizes. This also includes the terminal location. When buying a car battery you want to make sure that the terminals match up with your car.
The red terminal and the black terminal should match up with your current battery. If the terminals are reversed you shouldn’t put it in your car. Hooking up a battery backward can destroy your car.
Take a picture of where the terminals are in your car and make sure that the new battery has everything in the same location.
There are a few different terminal shapes on batteries. Some are side posts, some are top posts and others can be a mix of both. Check to see if your car has its terminals on the top or the side.
Unless the battery has top and side terminals you can’t put a side post battery where a top post battery was. Having this information when you are purchasing a car battery can save you a headache.
If you are looking to purchase a new battery for your car there is certain information that can prove to be helpful. By determining what kind of battery, the correct size, and strength you can go purchasing a battery knowing that you are getting what’s right for your vehicle.
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