Did you know the average car battery only lasts between three and five years? Car battery longevity depends more on how much you use them than on their chronological age, though.
Even a ‘young’ battery in heavy use will start to lose power and let you down. So, if you’re struggling to start up your car, or it’s stalling and sputtering a lot more than usual, it’s probably time for a new battery.
Avoid these car battery shopping mistakes to ensure you choose a battery that’s in it for the long haul.
Buying a Cheap Battery
Buying a cheap battery might seem like a good option when you’re faced with unexpected battery failure, but you’ll only end up shopping for a new one sooner than you’d like.
Unless you live in an extremely cold climate, excessively costly batteries aren’t the best bet either. Expensive batteries may have better specs, but you may never enjoy the benefits offered by these high ratings.
Rather, opt for a battery in the mid-price range that suits your vehicle’s needs precisely.
Most moderately-priced batteries are FLA (flooded lead acid) batteries. They comprise lead plates, sulfuric acid electrolytes, plate separators, and water.
These are the most common types of batteries and are well suited to most vehicles where the battery remains in the engine bay.
Absorbent glass mat (AGM) batteries have a fiberglass mat covering. They don’t vent any gasses, don’t need to remind upright in storage, and have a longer lifespan than FLA batteries.
Due to these benefits, they’re a more expensive option.
Not Shopping Around
Unless you do your homework to find a reputable brand, supplier, and installer for your battery, you could end up with a substandard experience at a high price.
Do some online research by reading reviews and checking the rating of batteries before you part with your hard-earned cash, or ask friends and family for recommendations.
Check the battery life tests for various batteries before you decide. These independent tests help you compare the lifespan and performance of each model, so you can make the best choice for your car and your budget.
It’s also imperative to choose a reputable and qualified installer, or your battery won’t perform as it should.
Be sure to read up on battery maintenance while shopping around, too. Some batteries require more frequent cleaning and servicing than others.
Battery prices depend on the size, capacity, durability, and type of battery you choose. Compare all those that suit your car to ensure you get the best value for your money.
Not Knowing Your Specs
Buying the wrong type of battery for your car is as bad as settling for the first cheap battery you find. You must know two important specifications when shopping for a car battery.
Cold Cranking Amps (CCA)
CCA defines a battery’s performance in cold weather. It indicated the number of amps a 12-volt battery will deliver at 0° F for 30 seconds while maintaining a voltage of 7.2 V or more per cell.
The higher this number, the more power your battery will deliver when you start your car.
Similarly, cranking amps refers to the same principle in warmer temperatures.
Remember, your battery’s output will decrease with age, so the higher the CA or CCA, the longer your battery will last. For this reason, it’s best to choose a battery that meets or exceeds your car manufacturer’s recommendations.
Reserve Capacity (RC)
RC indicates how long your battery can deliver a sustained level of power. This metric indicates how long a fully-charged battery can output 25 amps of current in an 80° F environment before it runs down to 10.5 volts.
The RC of a battery tells you how long your battery will last if it has to power your whole car in the case of electrical failure elsewhere.
Electric Car Battery Shopping Mistakes
A faulty battery is problematic in a gas-powered car, but it’s a catastrophe if you own an electric vehicle. These are the worst mistakes you can make when replacing an EV battery:
Ignoring Your Car’s User Manual
Most major car brands have arrangements with a particular EV battery manufacturer. These factories create batteries that match your vehicle’s energy needs.
The manufacturing manual that came with your car should mention the type of battery you need, or at the very least describe the size and strength of battery you need.
Failing to Check the Existing Battery
If you don’t have access to your manufacturer’s manual, the best way to find the right battery for your EV is by inspecting the existing battery.
EV batteries have different reserve capacities. This RC coordinates with the alternator to power your vehicle’s electrical system and provide lasting power.
Without adequate RC, your vehicle will stall or fail repeatedly. A deep cycle battery with a high RC level is usually best.
The physical size and dimensions of your vehicle determine the size of the battery you should use. Taking a few minutes to measure the car’s battery compartment or old battery will help you figure out the right size for your vehicle.
Be sure to take note of the location of the battery connections to make sure that the new battery fits the space correctly.
Buying a Stale Battery
Avoid buying used batteries, they won’t power your car correctly. Rather, buy your battery from a reputable dealer who can offer a guarantee of the battery’s life and a warranty in case you experience any problems.
Ensure Smooth, Safe Travels
Sidestepping these car battery shopping mistakes can ensure you get value for your money and prevent you from becoming stranded due to a malfunctioning vehicle.
So, avoid buying cheap car batteries, make sure you meet your EV’s specs, do your research, and always choose reputable brands and installers.
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