How to Find the Correct Battery for Your Car

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The Various Types of Car Batteries Available and How to Find the Correct Model for Your Car

Those who have watched old footage of classic automobiles cringe at the thought of having to step outside and use a hand crank to get a car started. Luckily, for those who have been driving any time during the past nine decades, the car battery and the electric starter came along to replace the hand crank and provide a means to start and operate a car more efficiently. In later years, the car battery has become a far more necessary tool, since modern cars have a wide array of electronic devices that must be started and run in unison with the car battery.

For this reason, it is important to know exactly what kind of car battery is needed for a specific car. The best way to do this is to become educated on the nature of the different kinds of car batteries that are available, and then determine the steps for finding the right battery for a specific car. This can make it easier to buy a car battery in an auto parts store, or online via eBay.

Wet Batteries

Wet batteries are the earliest and simplest types of car batteries. Wet batteries basically consist of two metal plates, one positively charged, and one negatively charged. These two plates sit in a pool of battery acid, causing a chemical reaction that creates electricity, although the negative plate is actually held within a separator bag that keeps it apart. The reason for this chemical reaction is in the metals used for the plates.

Early models used a metal called antimony. Today most modern car batteries use various calcium alloys, which are more durable and last longer. Wet batteries are by far the most popular kind of battery, mainly because they are less expensive than many other types. Older models of wet batteries required users to periodically replace the acid inside, but modern batteries are sealed, and contain enough acid to last throughout the life of the battery.

Gel Batteries

Gel batteries are somewhat similar to wet batteries, and feature the same chemical reaction that produces electricity. The difference is that the battery acid has been turned into a gel by adding another mineral. Gel batteries also make use of a technology known as valve regulation. Valve regulation means that any gasses produced by the chemical reactions within the battery are forced to recombine into liquid, which makes the battery far more effective.

Gel batteries are safer than wet batteries, and can be stored for a longer period of time without any corrosion. Gel batteries also perform very well in hot weather. The main drawback to gel batteries is that they are very sensitive and if they are recharged improperly, they can be ruined. For the most part, gel batteries are being phased out in favour of absorbed glass matt batteries.

Absorbed Glass Matt Batteries

Absorbed glass matt batteries (AGM) are another type of valve regulated battery. However, instead of using a gel to keep things safer, AGM batteries are small and use suspended leads that connect to acid with the help of a special sponge made out of fibreglass. This design means that a lot of power can be produced safely, and with a high degree of efficiency. AGM batteries are usually quite a bit more expensive than wet batteries.

Lithium Ion Batteries

Lithium ion batteries are somewhat different from other types of batteries, mainly in that they are primarily used for electric cars or high-performance vehicles. Lithium ion batteries are extremely lightweight, and are therefore useful for racing vehicles and other cars where weight is a concern. Lithium ion batteries are many times more expensive than most other kinds of car batteries.

Finding the Right Batteries For Your Car

When you are looking for a battery to put into your car, you cannot just make do with any old battery. Each car has different needs. The climate and environment that a car is driven in can also determine which battery is the best fit. There are several steps you should go through before making a purchase, regardless of whether or not it is online or in an auto shop.

Determine the Right Size

Every car is equipped with a bed where batteries can be placed. This is also a guideline that helps determine what size of battery is needed. For any car, a battery should fit firmly into this bed. A battery that is too small may rattle around and can come loose, causing a devastating loss of electricity at the wrong time.

A battery that is too big may not fit into the bed, and any attempt to drive with it may also cause the overly large battery to roll around and become disconnected. Likewise, batteries that are too big or too small may not offer the right amount of power for a specific car, which can actually cause serious damage potentially leading to a possible injury. Understanding what battery size is needed for a given car is fairly easy and can be determined with a tape measurer, or by reading the car's owner's manual.

Determine Manufacturer's Recommendations

In many cases, car manufacturers actually prefer a specific brand of car battery for their vehicles. While this is not a hard and fast rule, a glance at the owner's manual can provide this information, which can be an influence in the battery buying process. Manufacturers also have recommendations in terms of what kind of reserve capacity a battery should have.

Reserve capacity means that a battery can provide electricity for a limited time, even after an alternator has been damaged or disconnected. Since this can have an effect on a car's delicate electrical system, manufacturers usually have an upper limit for reserve capacity listed in the owner's manual.

Determine Environmental Requirements

Anyone who lives in a cold climate knows the anxiety that accompanies a turn of the key on a cold day, not knowing if the engine might turn over. This is due to the fact that cold inhibits chemical reactions and makes it much harder for a battery to produce electricity. Luckily, battery makers list the number of amps that a battery can produce for 30 seconds in freezing weather on each battery. This number is known as cold-cranking amps (CCA). Those who live in conditions that require a high CCA number should consider that a priority when buying a battery. For those who live in warmer climates or who seldom start their cars outside of a garage, this number is not as important.

Determine Battery Age

Batteries do not last forever, even if they have never been used. Over time, the acid in a battery can degrade causing the battery to become less efficient. For this reason, it is important to look at the age of a battery before making a purchase. The age is actually found on the battery itself, albeit hidden in code. Somewhere, stamped on the battery, you can find a two-digit code. This code consists of a letter, representing the month it was made.

Letter

Month

A

January

B

February

C

March

D

April

E

May

F

June

G

July

H

August

I

September

J

October

K

November

L

December

The numbers represent the last digit of the year the battery was made, so a battery made in 2013 should have a 3 as the second digit, and one made in 2014 should have a 4. As a general rule of thumb, it is considered best to buy wet car batteries that are 6 months of age or less.

Buying a Car Battery on eBay

Car batteries that are designed for a number of different vehicles are available on eBay. Once you have determined which type of battery would be the best fit for your needs, finding the right one is fairly simple. The best way to find a car battery on eBay is to make use of the search bar that can be accessed from any eBay page.

A simple search, like, 'car battery' should provide a number of worthwhile options for any car. This search can be modified or altered in order to provide you with more options if you wish to search for a specific type of car battery, or one made by a specific manufacturer. It is important to note that unlike most items on eBay, only new car batteries should be installed in a car. Used car batteries can become volatile, and installing them in a car can cause serious injuries if not performed properly.

Conclusion

Car batteries are one of the most important parts of a car. Without them, the car cannot store the electricity it requires in order to start properly. There are, however, many different kinds of batteries that are available. The most popular kind of car battery is known as the wet battery, as is it filled with liquid acid.

This acid reacts with metal plates that are placed within the acid, which creates a charge. Other kinds of batteries like gel batteries and absorbed glass matt batteries use similar physical principles, but differ from wet batteries in terms of safety, reliability and cost. Electric cars make use of lithium ion batteries that are extremely expensive, but lightweight and efficient in a way that most other batteries are not. When buying a car battery, it is important to find the right fit for each vehicle in terms of size, recommended specifications, cold-cranking amps, and age. Doing so should ensure that a battery would last as long as it possibly can, and provide users with a reliable means to start and continue driving their cars.

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