How to Choose the Best Car Battery

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.


Car batteries are electrical storage units that convert chemical energy to electrical energy. The basics of how a car battery works haven’t really changed much in 70 years. The battery in your car is a lead-acid design; acid, or electrolyte, reacts with the lead plates inside the battery to produce electricity.

Not surprisingly it takes more power to turn over a big engine than a small one, so your battery needs to be sized and rated accordingly. Vehicles today also have far more demanding electrical loads from numerous computers, modules, and accessories and will need a battery with enough power for those systems to work properly. 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.


Automotive battery electrolyte is made of sulfuric acid and water. When the battery discharges, the positive and negative lead plates become lead sulfate, and the electrolyte loses much of its sulfuric acid becoming mostly water. When it charges, the negative plate consists of lead and the positive plate lead dioxide, with the electrolyte regaining its acidity. 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. At temperatures below freezing, many batteries can only deliver about 50-60 percent of their cranking amps, as the chemical process in the battery’s cells is actually slowed down and compromised.

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.

Automotive battery terminals or posts 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.



How to Choose Your Autocraft® Battery

At Advance Auto Parts, you can find the Autocraft car battery that’s the perfect fit for your engine and your car’s needs.

Advance’s Autocraft economy battery is a great choice for tight budgets; it’s got a one-year warranty and is perfect if you’ve got an older vehicle you may not hang onto for much longer. Next step up is the Autocraft Silver, with a two-year warranty, and the top of the line is the Autocraft Gold. The Autocraft Gold battery comes with a 3-year warranty and is perfect for vehicles that need a strong, long-lasting battery.  AGM is a definite upgrade from traditional lead-acid designs, and simply outperforms them when it comes to high-demand situations. The Autocraft Platinum AGM comes with a 3-year warranty and should be used for vehicles with lots of power accessories. AGM is a definite upgrade from traditional lead-acid designs, and simply outperforms them when it comes to high-demand situations. The Autocraft Platinum AGM comes with a 3-year warranty and will last twice the life of a standard flooded battery.

For vehicles that have a high-wattage sound system, consider the Optima Yellow Top absorbed glass mat (AGM) battery. AGM batteries are designed to withstand deep discharge/charge cycles without being compromised, and can continue to deliver plenty of amps to your sound system (with plenty left over to start the engine).


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).


Are you looking for your vehicle battery size? Add your vehicle to see all of the battery options for your make and model.

Last updated November 4, 2019