Get the right kind of power
How do you know which battery is right for your vehicle? Here are some of the key factors you should consider. If you are unsure of the requirements in any of these areas, check your vehicle manual or talk to your mechanic for the original equipment (OE) manufacturer’s recommendations for:
- Technology type: Different vehicles and driving styles can place varying demands on your battery. It’s important to first determine whether a conventional starting battery will meet your vehicle’s needs, or whether a deep-cycle or AGM battery is required.
- Battery group size: This refers to the battery size that will best fit the physical dimensions, terminal locations and type required for your vehicle. Group size is typically based on your vehicle’s make, model and engine type. Although some vehicles may accommodate a battery from more than one group size, it is important that you use a battery approved for use in your vehicle. Consult a replacement guide to find the battery group size that works for your vehicle. Also, make sure your new battery will fit and be held down properly according to the vehicle manufacturer’s specifications.
- Replacement batteries should equal or exceed the OE battery in ratings. Replacing a battery with a battery that has a lower capacity rating than the original equipment may result in poor performance and shorter life. If the replacement battery has considerably less capacity than the OE battery, it may not crank the engine adequately at cold temperatures. Consult a replacement guide to ensure that the replacement battery will fit with the correct clearance under the hood.
- Cold cranking amps (CCA): CCA is a rating used in the battery industry to define a battery's ability to start an engine in cold temperatures. Generally speaking, it is easier to start an engine in a warm environment than in a cold environment. The rating refers to the number of amps a 12-volt battery can deliver at 0°F for 30 seconds while maintaining a voltage of at least 7.2 volts. The higher the CCA rating, the greater the starting power of the battery.
- Reserve capacity (RC): RC is a general indicator of how long a new, fully charged battery can continue to operate essential accessories if the vehicle’s alternator fails. It identifies how many minutes the battery can deliver a constant current of 25 amps at 80°F without falling below the minimum voltage, 1.75 volts per cell, needed to keep your vehicle running.
- C20 capacity: Some premium batteries also define their C20 capacity in ampere-hour (Ah). C20 capacity is an indicator of how much energy is stored in a battery. It is the energy a battery can deliver continuously for 20 hours at 80°F without falling below 10.5 volts.
In general, for CCA, RC and C20 ratings, the higher the number, the better. However, there are still other factors to consider when choosing the right battery.
- If you live in a cold climate, the CCA rating is a more important consideration than it is if you live in a warm climate. Battery starting power deteriorates as the battery ages, so a battery with higher starting power should give you more confidence over time.
- If you live in a hot climate, heat accelerates battery degradation. You may want to choose a product that is specially designed for the hot climate.
- If you’re looking to power a vehicle with numerous electronic features or plug-in accessories, you should consider a deep-cycle battery or a battery made with advanced technology like AGM.
- Warranty: Look for a hassle-free warranty that includes a free-replacement time frame.
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