When figuring out how to choose a car battery, everything you have to take into account can feel overwhelming. You not only have to think about your budget, but the specific needs that your car, the environment you drive in and your driving style require, too. Also, batteries are not universal — a truck with a big V8 or diesel is obviously going to need a bigger battery than a 4-cylinder subcompact. Read on to figure out what you need to look for in your next car battery.
EVALUATING YOUR CAR BATTERY BUDGET
In order to know how to choose a car battery that fits your needs, you have to first figure out how much money you may be able to spend and how much you should spend. A standard lead-acid car battery is not going to be more than $100 to $200, with some at an even lower price point. However, if you want performance, a lightweight, resilient construction and a good warranty period, then a $100 car battery simply won't cut it.
Advance Auto Parts stores offer free battery testing and installation*.
PICKING THE RIGHT SIZE BATTERY
When replacing your car battery for the first time, you need to know the size, measurements and terminal position of your battery. Your owner's manual should provide you with all these details. Alternatively, you can remove the old battery, measure its length, width and height and check to see where the positive and negative terminals are located and what style they are. Based on this information, you can easily check an online size chart to find the designation for the type of battery you need. Once you have it, it's simply a matter of looking for the best offers available at online providers or your local Advance Auto Parts.
GETTING ADEQUATE PERFORMANCE LEVELS
Performance is what it's all about. Check your owner's manual for the minimum cold cranking amp (CCA) value that your car requires and look for batteries that have an equal or higher rating than that. Also, check to see what technology the battery uses. AGM, dry cell and lithium-ion batteries typically feature better performance than a classic, wet cell lead-acid battery. Finally, it's good practice to look for low-maintenance or maintenance-free car batteries that are rated to last at least five years.
Take a look at some popular battery accessories.
IMPORTANT VARIABLES TO KEEP IN MIND
Where do you normally drive? How often do you use the electronics in your car? Do you live in a cold climate that will put a lot of stress on a battery? All these factors will help determine which car battery is best suited to your vehicle. For example, a car battery that has a higher CCA rating is better in colder climates. Newer battery designs also offer enhanced service life and require less maintenance.
If you're still uncertain about how to choose a car battery that works for your vehicle and your needs, go to an Advance Auto Parts store close to you. A knowledgable Team Member will be happy to guide you to your new battery.
*Car battery testing and installation available on most automotive vehicles, at most locations, unless prohibited by law.