How to Buy a Battery for a Mini Cooper

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How to Buy a Battery for a Mini Cooper

The popularity of the Mini Cooper continues to persist. These compact cars are great for zipping around town and are surprisingly roomy thanks to their boxy frames. Mini Cooper sales have been going strong for well over a decade. These cars are fuel efficient and come with quite the dose of get up and go. As with all vehicles, parts in the Mini Cooper need to be replaced from time to time. Routine maintenance can only extend the life of some components. The battery is one such component that needs to be replaced every few years.

Whereas before, a driver had to lift up the bonnet to determine what kind of battery was required, the Internet now offers a convenient way to determine what battery is compatible based on the make, model, and year of the car. However, it is advisable that a shopper learn as much as he or she can about car batteries before going shopping for one. Shoppers should consider factors like construction, power ratings, and the shelf life of batteries.

How to Determine If a Mini Cooper Needs a New Battery 

More often than not, a battery is only replaced when it eventually fails. Since the battery is under the bonnet, it stays out of mind until it is too late. A dead battery in a Mini Cooper, or any vehicle for that matter, is an inconvenience. Along with being late for work, a Mini Cooper driver also has to fork out money to pay for the services of a tow truck to get the vehicle to a nearby garage. Therefore, it is important to keep track of when the battery was last replaced to anticipate the need to replace the battery before it fails.

The average car battery lasts up to four and a half years, but there are several factors that can reduce the life of the battery. Extreme temperatures can adversely affect a battery's lifespan. In cold climates, more energy is required to start the car. Moreover, a faulty vehicle charging system can shorten the life of a Mini Cooper battery. Leaving headlights or parking lights on, as well as charging devices in the car are all sure fire ways to drain the battery. Driving around for intervals less than 20 minutes may not give the vehicle enough time to recharge the battery.

Once the battery has been replaced for the first time, the driver should keep track of the time that passes. Drivers can also visit local auto stores where they perform free battery tests. A Mini owner is encouraged to check the car's battery at least once per year to determine how much life is left in it.

Choosing a Battery for a Mini Cooper

Though all car batteries are made of the same components, not all are compatible with all vehicles and are suitable for all situations. Therefore, it is important to determine the make and model year of the car before going shopping for a battery. Since a Mini is a compact car, it requires less power than an SUV, and therefore, only a small battery fits a Mini Cooper. Factoring in battery size is important when shopping for a replacement battery. Additionally, Mini owners should familiarise themselves with the various power ratings and also consider the climate and their driving habits. Like all batteries, a car battery also has a shelf life. Therefore, the condition, or freshness, plays a part in how long the battery can be expected to perform.

Size of the Battery

The type of battery needed for any car is first and foremost based on its physical dimensions and where its positive and negative terminals are positioned. These specifications are referred to as the 'group size'. One should never purchase a battery that is outside the group size for Mini Coopers. There are many models of Mini Coopers on the market, so shoppers must factor in the model and determine whether they have a Mini Cooper S, Mini Cooper 1300, or another model. An ill-fitting battery may not fit snugly, causing it to move around in the car. This may cause damage to the car and the battery. To find out which group size your Mini Cooper belongs to, look in the owner's manual or ask a sales associate at the dealership or enquire at an auto specialty store.

Power Ratings

Buyers should also consider the battery's power ratings. Cold cranking amps, shortened to CCA, refers to the amount of current a battery can supply at -18 degrees Celsius for 30 seconds. The CCA unit of measurement is amperes. The reserve capacity, or RC, is measured in minutes and calculates the time a fully-charged battery can provide 25 amperes at 26.7 degrees Celsius. The sections below further explain why these power ratings are important to consider when buying a battery for a Mini Cooper.

Cold Crank Amps

Winter temperatures undoubtedly chill the car, and colder weather can negatively affect a car's battery. As temperatures drop, the battery's available power diminishes, yet the amount of power required to crank the car grows. When shopping for a battery, a buyer is encouraged to buy one with a CCA rating higher than the original, especially if winters tend to be long and freezing. One should never buy a battery with a CCA rating lower than the original. The chart below demonstrates this inverse relationship as temperatures drop.

Temperature (Celsius)

Battery Power Available

Power Needed to Start Engine

26.7

100 per cent

100 per cent

0

65 per cent

155 per cent

-17.8

40 per cent

210 per cent

-35.6

25 per cent

350 per cent

Drivers should be aware as temperatures decrease, available power decreases and the power required to start the engine increases. Therefore, the higher the CCA rating, the better the battery performs in colder temperatures.

Reserve Capacity

Reserve capacity measures the period of time a battery can supply power should an alternator fail. Though in the past the RC rating has been ignored by a majority of consumers, there is a pressing need to factor it in when buying a Mini Cooper battery. The popularity of handheld electronics has led to the increased use of car adapters, which can drain the battery if users are not careful.

Battery Construction

Since most batteries in the same group size look alike, it might be difficult to determine which battery is the better choice. Although there are no physical indicators, certain brand names such as Bosch and VARTA have reputations for producing some of the best performing car batteries. Additionally, a Mini Cooper battery with extended warranty is a good indication the manufacturer stands behind its product.

There are two main categories for classifying batteries: conventional and spiral grid. Most batteries are conventional, also called flooded, or lead-acid. Two lead plates, a positive and a negative, are positioned in  sulphuric acid and water. A chemical reaction between the two starts the Mini Cooper.

The spiral grid batteries rely on more advanced technology, and consequently, cost more. This type of battery is considered an upgrade from conventional car batteries. Spiral grid batteries last twice as long as conventional batteries, and they are designed to require no maintenance. These batteries are beneficial for those Mini drivers who live in extremely cold areas or simply want to buy the longest lasting batteries they can afford.

Condition and Freshness

Like most batteries, all car batteries should be used within a certain period of time. When shopping for a new Mini Cooper battery, it is important to pay attention to dates of manufacture, since older batteries can lose their charge when sitting on shelves. Shoppers should look for the dates of manufacture, and buy a battery no more than six months old. Should someone purchase a used Mini Cooper battery, ask the seller how long the battery has been in use. The battery should also be thoroughly inspected and tested before money is exchanged.

How to Buy a Battery for a Mini Cooper on eBay 

eBay has hundreds of current listings for Mini Cooper car batteries for you to choose from at any given time. Refer to your owner's manual to get the specifics or look at the battery under your car's bonnet. eBay shoppers can narrow the field of options by filtering the results based on model, manufacturer, condition, and price.

When sifting through results, a buyer is encouraged to read the entire item description and assess the photos to determine if the battery is compatible with his or her Mini Cooper. Should the seller not list the manufacture date, you should feel free to ask for this vital information. Though sellers are not obligated to reply until after the item has been purchased, many have a FAQ section or are happy to answer any questions. To contact the seller, simply click on the seller's user name in the listings and then when you get to the profile page, click on the relevant contact link.

Top Rated Sellers

A seller with a long standing reputation for excellent service and customer satisfaction, as well as speedy shipping is awarded eBay's Top-rated Seller status. Look for the Top-rated Seller icon next to the seller's username.

Conclusion

Buying a battery for a Mini Cooper is not complicated so long as the driver has some specific information on hand when shopping. In addition to group size and properly fitting the battery, climate should be another deciding factor. Those who live in harsh winter climates must give serious consideration to cold crank amps and reserve capacity ratings. A Mini Cooper driver should never buy a battery with a CCA rating lower than the stock battery. If anything, Mini owners should go for batteries with higher ratings. The reserve capacity rating is now more important than ever, especially considering that many drivers and their passengers now use cars to charge mobile phones, MP3 players, and electronics while on the road.

Shoppers must also be attentive to the date of manufacture, and should not buy batteries that have been sitting on shelves for longer than six months. Stale batteries can lose charge faster, thus shortening their lifespans. Most batteries last up to four and a half years, but climate can shorten the lifespan of a car battery. A Mini Cooper driver is encouraged to have his car's battery tested once a year to ensure that he is never stranded by a dead battery.

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