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A Beginner’s Guide to Buying Car Batteries

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One can say that every part of the car is essential, and they’re probably right. An automobile is greater than the sum of its parts. However, some parts are just more important than others.

Next to the engine, the battery is one of the car’s most important components. Without it, the car wouldn’t start. Just as your Subaru’s timing belt keeps the engine’s different components in sync, the battery provides the power required to power the starter motor, ignition system, as well as the car’s different accessories and electronic systems.

However, a car battery slowly loses its charge as it ages. A car owner can expect to replace their car battery multiple times unless they plan on replacing their vehicle every other year. If you are having trouble starting your vehicle, or if you’re due for a battery replacement soon, then it may be time to buy a new car battery.

Not all car batteries are built the same, and anyone looking to buy one has to look at a long list of factors so that they can choose the right one for their vehicle. A buyer must consider their vehicle’s make and type, battery type, and other important features that we will go into more detail later.

Here are some features you have to consider when buying a replacement battery.

1. CCA

CCA, or cold cranking amp, refers to the power derived from a battery at freezing temperatures. This is especially important if you live in an area with a temperate or cold climate.

As a rule of thumb, the higher the CCA, the more reliable a battery is when starting up in freezing temperatures. This doesn’t mean that a higher CCA rating automatically translates to better performance. The best way to determine whether a particular model works well is to research and read reviews.

2. Reserve capacity

Reserve capacity refers to the battery’s ability to deliver power over a period while the engine is off. Now, why is this important? Maybe you want to keep the lights and radio on while the engine is shut off.

On a more serious note, the charging system can fail, and it is up to the battery to sustain the car’s demand for power. The battery can keep the wipers, headlights, and radio as long as you’re driving on low power.

The best way to determine whether a car battery’s reserve capacity is sufficient is through research. A quick online search for the battery model will reveal whether a battery has a good track record or not.

3. Service life

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While most brands offer a three-year warranty for their products, the car battery itself should last much longer than three years. The average car battery tends to last for three to five years, but some manufacturers claim that theirs can last up to ten years. The best way to determine whether a particular battery has a good service life is to read reviews from owners who have used the battery.

4. Warranty

Only buy from a reputable brand that offers at least a three-year replacement warranty for their car batteries. This is the industry standard, and other brands even offer a longer warranty. Some companies even offer a refund if your car battery stops functioning even after the replacement warranty has expired.

5. Maintenance

The amount of maintenance a car battery requires largely depends on its design. Some car batteries require regular topping up of distilled water. If you have money to spare, I suggest going for a maintenance-free battery.

Getting one means you no longer have to open the battery case and refill the battery’s water levels. Some battery models even feature a sealed case to deter people from pouring water into the battery. The less maintenance you have to perform, the better.

6. Carrying handle

This is a feature so simple, yet so many manufacturers omit from their batteries. The average car battery weighs around 8 to 9 lbs, and many people can attest to how difficult and physically taxing it is to replace a car battery without a handle.

A final word

These are just some things you need to consider when shopping for a new battery. If you’re not sure where to start, it helps to talk to a trusted auto mechanic. They should be able to answer most of your battery-related questions.

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