Car batteries: What you need to watch out for!
The day when your car does not start is not the best time to buy a new car battery. But according to statistics, that's exactly what most people do. You'll likely need to replace your car battery once or twice during the life of your vehicle, as it gets old or worn out from heat exposure and repeated charging and discharging. A dead battery can be a real nuisance, especially if you can't find your jumper cable, don't have a power pack with you, or have to wait for roadside assistance.
By taking care of your battery, you can extend its life, and by paying attention to its condition and age, you can tell when it's time to look for a new battery … Before you fall by the wayside. Below are tips on how to find the best battery for your needs.
Look under the hood
If you pay attention to your battery's maintenance and know when it's time to replace it, you can choose a replacement on your own terms, including proper research and a convenient schedule.
Annual inspections should be part of an owner's routine maintenance, but it's especially important to check them before a long road trip. According to AAA, car batteries typically last between three and five years, ranging from 58 months or more to less than 41 months. Although almost all of today's automotive batteries are "maintenance free" Are, we recommend having your battery tested annually by a mechanic for resilience once it's 2 years old if you live in a warmer climate, or 4 years old if you live in a colder climate. This tests the ability to maintain voltage during operation, and the results let you know when it's time to buy a new battery.
Battery age is also a strong indicator that it's time to consider replacement. The date can be found on a sticker attached to the top or side of the battery. A battery manufactured in October 2021 has a numeric code of 10/21 or an alphanumeric code of K-1. "A" stands for January "B" for February, and so on (the letter "I" is skipped).
A battery should fit your car and your driving needs
Car batteries come in many sizes. Among the batteries we tested, there are from year to year. From size to size significant differences in choosing the best battery. This makes it impossible to make simple recommendations by make or model. It also means you shouldn't assume you'll get the same results by buying the same model of battery you're replacing.
Make sure you get the right size and terminal locations (or type) for your vehicle. Check the owner's manual or a fit guide in the store before you buy it.
In some cases, owners can replace an AGM battery with a conventional flood battery to increase longevity in hot climates, but it's best to consult a mechanic first. Many cars are equipped with AGM batteries to support a growing number of electrical components, and the charging system may be configured specifically for an AGM battery.
Make sure it's a fresh battery
Batteries lose power over time, even when stored. For optimal performance, purchase a battery that is less than 6 months old. Three months is even better. Most of them have a shipping code on the case. Some use a letter for the month ("A") For January). A number for the year ("1" for 2021); others use a numerical date.
Recycle your old battery
The toxic lead and acid in a battery can be easily recycled, and most dealers will dispose of the old battery for you. If you buy a new battery from a store, you'll likely pay an additional fee that will be refunded to you when you return the old battery.
It is important to choose a battery with the longest free replacement period you can get. A battery's warranty is measured in two numbers: the period of free replacement and the pro-rated period that allows for only a partial refund. For example, a code of 24/84 means a free replacement period of 24 months and a pro-rated warranty of 84 months. But the amount you're reimbursed usually drops off pretty quickly once you're in the prorated period.
Note that signs of neglect – such as z. B. Low water level and improper installation – can void the warranty. The same is true for heavy use, such as z. B. For high-end automotive audio and marine applications, if the battery is not recommended for them. Car batteries come in two basic varieties: the more traditional maintenance-free. The more advanced absorbed glass mat (AGM).
Lead-acid (normal) batteries
These batteries used to require drivers to regularly add water to the electrolyte solution, the liquid inside the battery that is the power source. Modern maintenance-free batteries use much less water than conventional "flooded cells". Low-maintenance batteries retain their fluid for the life of the battery, and the caps on these models should not be removed. There are still some batteries that can be refilled with distilled water; properly maintained, these can last longer in hot climates.
A lead-acid battery usually costs much less than a glass mat battery. However, it won't hold a charge that long. Can withstand a deep discharge less well.
Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM)
AGM batteries are designed to withstand repeated discharge and recharge cycles better than standard batteries. They are becoming standard in more and more cars as modern features such as fuel-saving stop-start systems, electronic safety and convenience features, and power outlets for mobile electronics increase power requirements.
But AGMs can cost 40 to 100 percent more than highly rated conventional batteries. Consider buying an AGM battery if you sometimes don't use your vehicle for long periods of time and the battery loses its charge. An AGM battery can handle a deep discharge better, and is more likely to fully recover if accidentally discharged.
Choose the right size
Batteries come in a variety of sizes. It's important to choose the right one to make sure it fits securely and provides enough power. If the terminals are in the wrong place, your vehicle's cables may not reach there, or they may not be tight enough. Refer to the owner's manual of your vehicle or a store installation manual. Many dealers will install the battery for free.