How to Choose the Best Car Battery

Autocraft Gold and silver batteries

Why it's important to choose the right auto battery

With the number of different auto batteries available, choosing the right one for your vehicle can be confusing. It's especially important to install the right size battery for your vehicle. Installing a battery that's smaller than what your vehicle needs will result in a shortened battery life. Choosing one that's too big and produces more power than needed is a waste of money. So, consult your vehicle owner's manual or ask an Advance Auto Parts Team Member which battery is right for your vehicle.

Pro Tip

Don't forget to compare the warranty that states how long the battery should last when comparing different types of batteries. They're not all the same.

How car batteries work

Car batteries are electrical storage units that convert chemical energy to electrical energy. The battery in your car is a lead-acid battery. The acid, or electrolyte, reacts with the lead plates inside the battery to produce electricity. Overworking an automotive battery by installing one that's too small to meet all the vehicle's power demands may cause the electrolyte reaction to fail prematurely.

Terms to be familiar with when evaluating batteries

Automotive battery electrolyte is made of sulfuric acid and water. Use caution when handling car batteries because the acid, as well as any residue that's built up on the battery posts, is corrosive. Always wear eye and hand protection when working with batteries.

Cranking amps (CA) is the measure of the battery's starting power. Choose an automotive battery that matches the vehicle's requirements by consulting your vehicle’s owner or repair manual.

Cold cranking amps (CCA) is the measure of CA at 32º F or 0º C. If you live in a colder climate, this is an important consideration.

Maintenance-free auto batteries are pretty much the standard today, as compared to old-school batteries that required monitoring of the electrolyte level and the periodic addition of distilled water.

Auto battery terminals are located on the side of the battery or on top. Keep them clean and corrosion free for best performance using a battery terminal spray and terminal cleaning brush.

Installing a new battery

Removing and installing an auto battery is easy if you know how (and here's how). If you prefer having someone else do it, visit your local store where we'll install for free any new battery purchased there (most vehicles, most locations, unless prohibited by law).

Last updated June 15, 2017