How does a battery work?
A battery stores energy in chemical form that can be released on demand as electricity. This electrical power is used by the cars ignition system for cranking the engine. The car's battery also may power the lights and other accessories. Should the alternator belt fail, the battery might also need to power the vehicle's entire electrical system for a short period of time.
What should I consider when
buying a battery?
SIZE: What are the dimensions of your original battery?
POWER: What are the Cold Cranking Amps required to power your vehicle?
WARRANTY: Automotive batteries are backed by a warranty package. Chose what is right for your vehicle's needs.
When I am replacing my battery
or cleaning the terminals, why is it important to remove the ground
Before you start, always check the type of grounding system the vehicle has. If you remove the positive connector first in a negative ground system, you risk the chance of creating a spark. That could happen if the metal tool you're using to remove the positive terminal connector comes in contact with any piece of metal on the car. If you are working near the battery when this occurs, it might create an ignition source that could cause the battery to explode. It's extremely important to remove the ground source first.
How can I tell if a battery is
You can usually find a small decal on the side of the battery
container giving you the month and year the battery was shipped out
of the plant. The letter corresponds with the month, starting with
"A" for January, "B" for February, and so on. The number represents
the year with "9" standing for 1999, "0" for 2000, and so on. A9,
would be January, 1999. C0 would be March, 2000.( The letter "I" is
skipped so the letter "M" would be December.)
What does CCA mean?
Cold Cranking Amps is a rating used in the battery industry to
define a battery's ability to start an engine in cold
temperatures. The rating is the number of amps a new, fully
charged battery can deliver at 0° Farenheit for 30 seconds,
while maintaining a voltage of at least 7.2 volts, for a 12 volt
battery. The higher the CCA rating, the greater the starting
power of the battery.
What are MCA or CA rates?
This is a rating used to describe the discharge load in amperes
which a new, fully charged battery at 32 degrees F (0C), can
continuously deliver for 30 seconds and maintain a terminal voltage
equal or greater than 1.2 volts per cell. It is sometimes referred to as
Marine Cranking Amps or Cranking Amps.
What is reserve capacity?
Reserve Capacity, (RC) is a battery industry rating, defining a
battery's ability to power a vehicle with an inoperative alternator or
fan belt. The rating is the number of minutes a battery at 80 degrees F
can be discharged at 25 amps and maintain a voltage of 10.5 volts for a
12 volt battery. The higher the reserve rating, the longer your vehicle
can operate should your alternator or fan belt fail.
What can excessive heat do to a
Hot temperatures will deteriorate a battery's life quicker by
evaporating the water from the electrolyte, and corroding and weakening
the positive grids.
When my car won't start,
how do I know for sure if my battery really needs to be
Many other problems can keep a car from starting, so you need to
do some troubleshooting. Stores that sell batteries will often
do battery testing free of charge, so that is a good first step.
Check out other
troubleshooting tips when you click on "Your car won't
Start? on our home page.
How do I safely jumpstart
Jump Start a Battery" under Battery Basics on this site. An
exercise lets you practice what to do.