While car batteries may appear all the same to the untrained eye, they actually vary in a number of areas. Understanding the various features of the battery, and how these features affect its performance, allows buyers to choose the best battery for their vehicle.
The Service Life of Car Battery
Battery service life is the length of time that the battery is expected to last. The average is 4 to 6 years, depending upon factors such as weather and driving style. Some car review companies list ratings for major battery brands that drivers should consult before purchasing a new battery. To extend service life, you may also purchase a charger that will prevent the battery from draining due to failure to charge sufficiently during regular driving or a battery booster to help jumpstart the battery in the case of failure.
Battery Production Date
Another important feature of car batteries is their production date. Batteries older than six months will not last as long as those purchased soon after they leave the factory. This date appears on every battery in one of several forms. Besides the more common depictions of date, this number can appear as a letter and a number. For instance, January will appear as A, February as B, and so forth. The production date on used car batteries will tell you about how much life is left.
Amp Hours Rating of the Battery
Every car battery also receives an amp hours rating, which describes how long it can operate without charging. The higher the rating, the more charge the battery stores and the longer it will last. For instance, a 12 volt 90 Ah or 12 volt 100 Ah battery will survive longer than will a 12 volt 70 Ah battery. The rating appears on the battery as a number followed by Ah or mAh. When purchasing a battery, the driver should buy a product with a rating no more than 10 per cent higher than the old battery's rating.
Cold Cranking Amps
While the amp hours rating describes the amount of charge in the battery, the cold cranking amps (CCA) rating describes how much effort the battery can put into starting the engine. This rating appears on the engine as a three-digit number followed by A. Drivers should consider a high CCA rating if they need to start the car in cold weather, drive only for short periods of time, or require a diesel battery to go with a diesel engine.
Of course, no other feature of the battery matters if it will not fit in the car. Drivers may choose the correct size by consulting a store or fitting guide, or by measuring the car engine themselves. When measuring the engine, measure length, width, and height in millimetres, because these are the measurements in which the battery's size is given.