6 Best Car Batteries – (Reviews & Buying Guide 2020)

Contents

The car battery is probably one of the most underrated part of your beloved automobile. When it runs properly, your car roars to life every time you turn the ignition.

On some occasions, the vehicle cranks but doesn’t start. You quickly regret not following the mechanic’s advice to buy a new battery. That’s why we’ve researched the best car battery to ensure your vehicle starts every time.

This article provides car battery reviews of the top brands so you can choose from multiple options. The piece includes a comprehensive buying guide with most important questions about a car battery. You will also learn about the different car batteries and sizes.
Read on to learn everything you need to get maximum returns on your auto battery.

PRODUCTDETAILS
Optima Batteries 8171-767 Yello Top Prius Car Battery

Optima Batteries 8171-767  YellowTop Prius Battery

  • Price : $$$$$
  • Weight : 26 pounds
  • Dimensions (in) : 9.9 x 5.1 x 8.9
  • CCA Rating : 450
  • Reserve Time : 66 minuutes
View On Amazon
ACDelco ACDB24R Advantage AGM Automotive Battery

ACDelco ACDB24R Advantage AGM Automotive Battery

  • Price : $$$
  • Weight : 31.4 pounds
  • Dimensions (in) : 18.5 x 11.4 x 9.5
  • CCA Rating : 325
  • Reserve Time : 70 minutes
View On Amazon
DieHard Gold AGM 38217 automotive battery

DieHard 38188 Group Advanced Gold AGM Battery

  • Price : $$$$
  • Weight : 44.5 pounds
  • Dimensions (in) : 10.8 x 6.9 x 8
  • CCA Rating : 775
  • Reserve Time : 120 minutes
View On Amazon
Optima Batteries 8002-002-34 Red Top Starting Auto Battery

Optima Batteries 8002-002 34 RedTop Starting Battery

  • Price : $$$$$
  • Weight : 37.9 pounds
  • Dimensions (in) : 10 x 6.88 x 7.8
  • CCA Rating : 800
  • Reserve Time : 100 minutes
View On Amazon
Odyssey PC680 Extreme Series Battery

Odyssey PC680 Battery

  • Price : $$
  • Weight : 13.45 pounds
  • Dimensions (in) : 7.2 x 3.1 x 7.5
  • CCA Rating : 170
  • Reserve Time : 24 minutes
View On Amazon
Mighty Max ML35 12V Solar Battery

Mighty Max Battery ML35-12

  • Price : $
  • Weight : 23.15 pounds
  • Dimensions (in) : 7.68 x 5.16 x 7.13
  • CCA Rating : N/A
  • Reserve Time : N/A
View On Amazon

Best Car Battery Reviews (Editors’ Picks)

1. Optima Batteries 8171-767  YellowTop Prius Battery

Optima Batteries 8171-767 Yello Top Prius Car BatteryThe YellowTop battery from Optima is the perfect choice for power-hungry vehicles with multiple aftermarket accessories. This deep-cycle, long-lasting cell delivers astonishing cranking power.

The battery delivers three times longer life thanks to a precise and superior SpiralCell technology. It offers faster recharging and you can discharge and recharge it over 300 times. This makes it one of the best regarding cycling capability.

The YellowTop provides over 15 times the internal vibration resistance of regular batteries. This reduces recharge time and boosts power output consistency. It comes in a sturdy, spill proof body that can withstand extreme heat and is mountable at different locations on the car.

This maintenance-free battery results from 40 years of technological innovation. It is the ideal choice if you own a car with a powerful sound system, use tractors or operate forklifts.

Read more: Optima DS46B24R YellowTop Prius

2. ACDelco ACDB24R Advantage AGM Automotive Battery

ACDelco ACDB24R Advantage AGM Automotive BatteryThe Advantage Auto batteries from ACDelco is an affordable and long-lasting cell for your car. It is rated 325 CCA, 70 RC, and 45 Amp/h battery, providing the deep cycling requirements of a Prius.

The ACDB24R is an AGM battery, making it 100% spill-proof, longer-lasting and maintenance-free. It is corrosion resistant and comes with high-quality calcium positive and negative terminals to prevent acid leaks.

This battery has a reserve capacity that allows it to start even after deep drains. So there is no fear of starting glitches when you need to go.
This battery is an excellent option for Prius owners but check that it fits your year model. It contains lead and lead compounds so wash your hands immediately after handling. The battery comes with a 24-month warranty.

Read more:  ACDelco Advantage AGM

3. DieHard 38188 Group Advanced Gold AGM Battery

DieHard Gold AGM 38217 automotive batteryDieHard 38188 is a powerful car battery for power-intensive users. Compared to traditional lead-acid batteries, this cell provides double the cycle life for extended longevity and performance. It is rated 55 Amp/hour and comes in a durable and portable design. The battery is spill-proof to protect sensitive electronic equipment in your car.

The DieHard 38188 battery uses the venerable AGM technology. It provides 20 times more vibration protection compared to the DieHard Gold 50634.

This model features optimized power full-frame positive and negative plates that eliminate electrical shorts for improved longevity. It comes with an enhanced electrolyte suspension system that protects the internal components and absorbs electrolytes.

This product can deliver exceptional performance in extreme temperatures. The versatile design makes it easy to mount on a variety of car brands and models. This maintenance free battery is backed by a 3-year free replacement warranty.

4. Optima Batteries 8002-002 34 RedTop Starting Battery

Optima Batteries 8002-002-34 Red Top Starting Auto Battery4The Optima RedTop battery is an excellent option when you need immense cranking power in harsh weather. Constructed with a shock-absorbing and durable polypropylene case, the RedTop is maintenance-free. It is spill proof and designed to deliver a strong starting burst every time.

The battery provides over 15 times the vibration resistance of earlier models and two times longer life. It offers 100-minute reserve, making it perfect for heavy battery users such as campers and other outdoor adventurers.

The Optima RedTop is what you need for normal engine starting. It is a reliable battery for most automotive and RV starting. You can also use it to start heavy equipment and diesel vehicles with no aftermarket accessories.

Like the YellowTop, this battery features the SpiralCell technology to withstand extreme temperature and other causes of battery failure.

5. Odyssey PC680 Battery

Odyssey PC680 Extreme Series BatteryIf you are looking for a high-quality and affordable car battery, the PC680 provides extended longevity and more rechargeable cycles than conventional cells. This battery can deliver up to 3-10 years of excellent service life, making it a perfect choice for price-conscious drivers.

This Odyssey battery features an AGM design, making it maintenance-free, spill-proof, and immune from life-shortening vibrations and shocks. It comes with pure lead plate that deliver twice the power and three times the longevity of traditional batteries.

At 80% depth of charge, the PC680 provides up to 400 cycles. This makes it the ideal option for cars, motorcycles, ATVs, boats, gyrocopters, and ultralight aircrafts.

The PC680 has a safety relief valve per cell and expansive inter-cell connections to prevent failure from vibration damage. Its design delivers high conductivity and corrosion resistance.

The sealed construction offers efficient internal gas recycling during operation and charging. It also provides 40% more reserve capacity.

6. Mighty Max Battery ML35-12

Mighty Max ML35 12V Solar BatteryThe ML35-12 from Mighty Max delivers 12 volt 35 Amp/hour and comes in a sturdy, vibration resistant case. Featuring the Absorbent Glass Mat technology, this cell has a valve-regulated design that prevents leakage and spillage. This makes it maintenance free and an excellent option for mounting on any location for indoor and outdoor use.

The ML35-12 features an innovative heavy-duty, calcium-alloy grid. This allows it to deliver superior performance and extended service life for regular starting or cyclic purposes. It has a high discharge rate, deep discharge recover and can operate in harsh conditions.
Many users have reported using this product to power their tents by connecting it to a solar panel. It is one of the most affordable car batteries with all the features of far more expensive brands. It comes with a one-year replacement warranty.

What Is a Car Battery?

A car battery is a rechargeable energy source that powers a vehicle’s electrical systems. It is a wet cell battery with six cells connected in series to produce 12V in smaller types and 24V in bigger models.

The primary function of car batteries is to start the vehicle, operate the lighting and power the ignition. While the cell is small and produces relatively low voltage, it can deliver astonishing amounts of current.

Besides starting the engine and powering your headlamps, a car battery also provides the electricity to run your vehicle’s electrical gadgets. These include the stereo, cameras, navigational equipment, and other OEM and aftermarket accessories.

Car batteries run on 12V and can produce 35 to 55 Amp-hours. Modern models are lead-acid types with six cells connected in series. The early car batteries could not tolerate deep discharging.

If you drained the cell, the lifespan will reduce drastically or it may not even recharge at all. Nowadays, there are several technologies that allow you to use your car battery for extended periods. You can deep drain them without losing recharge ability.

The absorbed glass mat (AGM) or VRLA battery are more tolerant of deep discharges, have longer services lives but are more expensive. AGM batteries are also spill-proof, corrosion-resistant and have a higher vibration resistance. This makes them ideal for cars and other vehicles with higher power requirements.

best car battery

Car Battery Buying Guide

Before buying a car battery, it helps to know the features and parameters that will make your purchase worthwhile. This buying guide discusses the questions to ask before choosing a particular brand, battery technology, or model.

What to Consider When Buying a Car Battery

Whether you need a replacement battery after the old one died or want to buy a more powerful cell to power aftermarket accessories, these factors will help you make the right choice.

  • Be Sure of the Type and Size

    The first step when shopping for a new battery is to know the type, size and rating of the current one. This is important because your car can only use a specific battery.

    If you buy the wrong size or voltage, it may be impossible to mount the battery in your car’s compartment. The power output may also be lower or higher than your vehicle’s requirements.

    When in doubt, check the current battery to determine the battery size and type. Take a picture of the old cell and measure its dimensions and specifications to be sure of the size and the terminal locations. You can check the user manual or ask your auto parts dealer for advice about the correct battery for your vehicle’s model year and brand.

    Climate is a huge determinant of battery performance, making it vital to buy a battery suitable for your local weather. Hot-weather batteries often have a “S” label while cold weather alternatives have an “N” label.

  • Buy a Fresh Battery

    Batteries lose their charge in storage over time, making it important to buy a unit that was manufactured recently. When you are shopping in a brick and mortar store, it is easy to check the shipping code on the battery cover.

    You want to buy a battery manufactured in the last six months to get maximum utility from your purchase.

  • Check the Warranty

    Batteries don’t always deliver according to the manufacturer’s claims. To safeguard your investment, you may want to choose a battery with a long replacement warranty.

    Most battery brands now offer long warranties. But try to buy from a reputable brand that honors its commitment toward customers.

  • Know the Difference Between Low Maintenance and Maintenance-Free Batteries

    Low maintenance batteries have caps but you don’t have to top off their water because they keep the fluid for life. Maintenance-free batteries have a sealed and sturdy case that reduces vibration and spillage.

    The traditional flooded types work best in warm climates so consider this factor when buying batteries. When in doubt, consult your mechanic.

  • Customer Support

    A great way to identify a top-quality battery or any other product is to check the feedback from current users. A product might deliver exceptional value but the manufacturer may not be the best regarding customer support.

    It helps to have a reliable battery and a great support in case you need a replacement or an issue arises with the product. That way, you can get a replacement or reimbursement.

car battery buying guide

The Most Important Car Battery Accessories & Features

These accessories will help you get the best out of your batteries:

  1. Jump Starter

    A jump starter allows you to boost your dead battery when you need to start the car without connecting another vehicle. There are smaller models the size of a digital meter at affordable prices. Get one for your car emergency kit so you will never be stranded.
    Read on to find more details on choosing a jump starter!

  2. Float/Trickle Charger

    You will need a float/trickle charger to keep your battery charged if the car will be idle for a long time. Trickle chargers prevent your battery from excessive discharge or overcharge when you don’t use them for a long period.

    When you install the trickle charger, it monitors the charge level and automatically recharges the battery when it reaches a certain level. However, it is important to check the battery periodically to ensure everything is fine. For more on this topic, check out our trickle charger buying guide.

  3. Handle or Loop

    You will need a handle or loop to safely and easily carry and lift the battery during transportation or mounting. Batteries are heavy and fit into tight compartments, and it’s difficult to maneuver them without a handle. Get a durable plastic handle or loop to make things easier.

  4. Car Battery Group Size

    Car battery sizes vary according a wide range of specifications and requirements set by the Battery Council International. You want to buy a model that will fit perfectly into your vehicle and deliver the correct amount of electricity to power your gadgets.
    Here are the common battery sizes:

    • Size 24/24F (Top Terminal): These fit most Japanese cars including Toyota, Honda, Acura, Honda, Nissan, Lexus, and Infiniti.
    • Size 34/78 (Dual Terminal): These fit the 1996 to 2000 General Motors trucks, SUVs, and sedans and large Chrysler vehicles.
    • Size 35 (Top Terminal): These fit recent Japanese cars including late models of Toyota, Nissan, Honda, and Subaru.
    • Size 47 (H5) (Top Terminal): These fit Fiat, Volkswagen, Chevrolet, and Buick vehicles.
    • Size 48 (H6) (Top Terminal): These fit American and European vehicles such as Buick, Audi, BMW, GMC, Mini, Chevrolet, Cadillac, Volkswagen, Volvo, and Jeep.
    • Size 49 (H8 (Top Terminal): These fit Asian and European cars like Audi, Hyundai, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz.
    • Size 51R (Top Terminal): These batteries fit Japanese cars like Honda, Mazda, and Nissan.
    • Size 65 (Top Terminal): These fit Mercury and Ford’s trucks, SUVs and large cars.
    • Size 75 (Top Terminal): These fit mid-sized and compact cars from Chrysler and GM.

Essential Battery Specifications

There are five main specifications to look out for before buying a battery. They include:*

  1. Cranking Amperes and Cold-Cranking Amperes (CCA)

    Cranking amps determine the amount of current your battery can deliver at 32°F for 30 seconds at 1.2 volts. It is the power the battery needs to start your engine at normal temperatures.

    Cold-cranking amps determines your battery’s ability to crank the engine at 0°F for 30 seconds at 1.2 volts. This value is vital if you live in an area that experiences long, chilly winters.

    CCA start from 0°F, so the further away from the freezing point, the better the chances of starting your engine in the dead of winter. If your car uses a diesel engine, you may want to buy a battery with a higher CCA rating.

    Diesel motors require more electrical power to ignite the less combustible fuel. This can drastically reduce the battery’s life if it has to deliver high amounts of energy for extended periods.

    A battery with a lower CCA rating may still do the job but won’t last as long. Consult your user manual and ask the mechanic for the correct CCA rating for your vehicle.

    Note: Cars with computer-controlled fuel-injected engines will start within a few seconds, so they require modest CCA figures. If your vehicle uses an older type of engine, consider buying a battery with a higher CCA rating.

  2. Reserve Capacity (RC)

    The reserve capacity is the time the battery will last if the charging unit fails. It measures the time (in minutes) that a lead-acid battery operating at 80°F will continuously deliver 25 Amps before its voltage drops to 10.5 volts.

    Most top-rated batteries have a reserve capacity of 90 minutes and a few models can provide over two hours of power supply. You want to buy a cell with an extended reserve capacity in case you accidentally leave the headlights on and the battery drains completely.

    Without enough RC, you will have to jumpstart the vehicle or recharge it. For more information on recharging your batteries, check out our best car battery charger guide.

  3. Battery Life

    Battery life is a measure of the number of times you can discharge and recharge the cell before its performance deteriorates. A lot of factors can affect a battery’s life including temperature, the length of your trips, and the number of times you start the engine.

    High temperatures reduce battery life because it increases plate corrosion and causes the electrolyte to vaporize more quickly. This is why batteries have a shorter lifespan in hot climates compared to temperate regions.

    Shorter trips also drain a lot of battery power because it doesn’t allow the cell to recharge fully before the end of the journey. To get the most out of your battery life, get a model with a higher battery life score.

  4. Date Codes

    Different parts of the world have specific date codes to allow battery buyers determine the time they manufactured the product. In the United States, battery makers use an alpha-numeric coding system.

    For example, a battery made in January 2019 will have the code A-9 with A denoting the month and 9 specifying the year. Date codes are important because they help you buy fresh batteries which have most of their charge.

  5. Battery Voltage and Ampere Hours

    Most cars and the accessories in them run on 12 volts, which is why car batteries produce 12 volts DC electricity. A more important value is the Ampere Hour (Ah).

    The Ampere hour signifies the number of hours a battery can deliver a specific amount of current. A battery rated 100 Amp hours will deliver five amps for 20 hours and so on.

    However, the higher the amperage, the lower the time it takes for the battery to reach 100% depth of discharge. This means loading 50 Amps on a 100 Ah battery does not mean it will last two hours.

Types of Car Batteries

The two common types of car batteries are the conventional flooded lead-acid, and the technologically advanced absorbed glass mat (AGM) models.
types of car batteries

  1. Flooded Lead-Acid Car Battery

    These used to be the most common car batteries. The electrolyte floods the lead plates rather than stay in a glass fiber sponge like in the AGM batteries. And you may need to top up the electrolyte with distilled water periodically.This makes flooded batteries low maintenance but they are ideal for warm climates.

    The most important feature of these batteries is their low price. However, they have a very low resistance to vibration and the acidic electrolyte can spill and damage your vehicle’s electronics.

    They also have a lesser ability to recover after deep drains. I

  2. f you need a battery to power OEM applications and starting your engine, flooded lead-acid batteries are excellent. They are also great for cold and hot climates.
  3. Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) Car Batteries

    Absorbed glass mat car batteries have a fiberglass mat that absorbs the electrolyte. This reduce vaporization and extends the battery life. The battery also features safety valves where oxygen and hydrogen combine to form water, replenishing the electrolyte fluid.

    Unlike flooded lead-acid batteries, AGM models are sealed. They have exceptional resistance to internal vibration and are spill-proof.

    These batteries tolerate deep drains and provide more discharge and recharge cycles. They are ideal for vehicles with higher energy demands.

    You will find AGM batteries in vehicles with more OEM applications such as high-end audio systems, driver assist sensor suites, auxiliary lights, and other power-hungry accessories. However, AGM batteries are better suited for cold climates.

    They are also far more expensive than flooded types. If your vehicle has several convenience features, power outlets and other things that draw battery power, an AGM model may be the best choice for you.

How to Choose the Right Cold-Cranking Amp Rating for Your Car

If you live in a cold region or plan to use your car in a place with frigid temperatures, it is important to consider the CCA rating of your battery. Here is how to choose the right CCA rating for your car:

  • Consult your owner’s manual. Look for a car battery with the CCA rating your vehicle manufacturer recommends.
  • Select a battery with a CCA rating that is neither too low nor too high than the specifications of your car manufacturer.
  • If you can’t find a battery with the CCA specifications recommended for your car, you may consider a model with a slightly higher rating. But it is not advisable to go below the recommended CCA rating because each vehicle has a specific amount of power it requires to start the engine.
  • If you buy a less rated battery, it will struggle to deliver the current and have a shortened life. You may end up buying more replacement batteries within a short period.

How Does Cold Weather Affect Your Car Battery?

Car batteries perform poorly in extreme weather. During high temperatures, there is a spike in the chemical reaction in a battery, causing an increase in current. Unfortunately, this increase in output causes evaporation and reduces the battery’s useful life.

The reverse is the case for cold weather. Your battery will struggle to deliver half of its normal output during winter. But much more is going on in your battery when the temperature drops below freezing point.

There are three main reasons for battery failure during winter:

  • Reduced capacity
  • Increased draw from the ignition and engine
  • Increased draw from accessories
  1. Reduced Capacity

    In winter, the lower temperature causes the electrolyte to freeze, reducing the flow of charges between the electrodes in the battery. The curtailed flow inhibits the chemical reaction the battery uses to produce electricity, cutting the charge it can hold.

    This makes it difficult for the battery to produce enough energy to start the engine and power automobile accessories. The reduced capacity also makes it difficult for the battery to charge fully, except you have a powerful alternator or other charging device. If you don’t have a battery with a high enough cold cranking ampere, it may die while you are trying to start the car.

  2. Increased Draw from the Ignition and Engine

    Cold weather causes the oil and fuel in the engine to thicken and become less combustible. The battery needs more current to turn the starter motors and ignite the fuel. This places tremendous strain on the battery and can cut its life short if it lacks the cold cranking ampere to turn the starter motors.

  3. Increased Draw from Accessories

    You use more power-demanding accessories during the winter. Your headlights are on for longer because of the shorter days and longer nights. You also use the heater for longer and the unpredictable rains means the windshield wipers are frequently in action.

    To prevent your battery from dying during winter, check the fluids and the terminal before the cold season. You also want to park your car in a garage to shield it from the cold so it is easier to start. Longer trips can also help the batteries to recharge fully during the cold months.

cold weather car battery

How Car Batteries Work

The car battery is a portable power generating unit that provides all the electrical needs of the vehicle. It uses chemical reactions to produce electricity for on-demand power delivery to every electronic and electrical component in a vehicle.

Most car batteries are of the lead-acid type, although a few luxury cars now use Lithium-ion cells to save weight and space. In lead-acid models, the battery produces electricity from the chemical reaction between sulphuric acid and lead.

  • The Battery Cell

    Each cell is made up of a vertical positive and a negative lead alloy plate. When the battery is fully charged, the positive plates will be coated with lead peroxide while the negative plates have a spongy lead coating.

    In flooded batteries, there is a polyethylene material between the positive and negative plates. AGM models use a glass film to prevent the plates from touching. Each cell contains an electrolyte made up of sulphuric acid solution and distilled water.

    The size and surface area of the lead plates in the cells determine the capacity of the battery. Because of cost, weight, and space considerations, most car batteries have a capacity of about 40Ah to 55Ah. This denotes the amount of current the battery can supply for a specific number of hours.

    A series of connections and interconnections link all the positive plates and the negative plates together for efficient flow of electric current. The connections end at the positive and negative terminals at the top of the battery. The negative terminal is attached directly to the car bodywork as an earth-return.

  • The Chemical Reactions in a Battery

    The car battery produces electricity through electrolysis and the process begins when you draw current from the cells. In this reaction, the water in the electrolyte decomposes to form oxygen ions and hydrogen ions, which are particles that carry electric charges.

    The hydrogen ions are positively charged and move toward the negative plates while the negatively charged oxygen ion move toward the positive plates. These ions give up their electric charge when they react with the plates.

    This turns both plates into lead sulfate while the sulphuric acid becomes water. The reaction is complete when the battery reaches 100% depth of discharge, i.e., fully drained.

    However, the reaction is never complete under normal use conditions unless you accidentally discharge the battery. Discharging your battery car completely can kill it although AGM batteries can tolerate deep drains better than flooded models.

How Car Batteries Recharge

The alternator or dynamo charges a discharged battery automatically by passing current into it through the positive terminal. This process is the opposite of the discharge process.

In the reaction, the positive plates revert to lead peroxide while the negative plates become lead. Some water turns to sulphuric acid. However, you may need to remove the battery and recharge from the mains if it has discharged completely.

How to Charge a Car Battery

How to Know When to Replace Car Battery

There are several warning signs that can help you determine its time to replace your car battery.

Here are 11 indicators your battery’s life will end soon:

  1. Engine Starts Slowly

    One of the first signs of a tired battery is that it will take longer to turn the engine. This happens because the battery requires more time to create enough current to start the motor. When you need to crank the engine five to six time before it comes alive, you may need to shop for a new battery.

  2. Check Engine Light Is on

    Check Engine light is an error code for a multitude of problems that can happen to a vehicle. It may come on when your battery’s performance is below par.

    So check that your battery is in good condition if you suspect that’s what triggered the light. Have a professional inspect the battery to see if it still has life in it.

  3. Leaky Battery

    Do you smell rotten eggs when you open the hood? That is a sign of a leaky battery, which can be because of an internal shot or crack. Leaks can also corrode the terminal posts, making it difficult or even impossible to start your car.
    Ask your mechanic to check the battery for damages. You may need to get a replacement if the damage is serious.

  4. Electrical Issues

    Dim lights, flickering dashboard controls and hesitant windshield wipers are signs of electrical issues from an ailing battery. If your battery is struggling to hold charge, it will drain quickly as more accessories draw power.
    You may need a new battery if the old one can’t charge your phone and operate the headlights simultaneously.

  5. Low Battery Fluid Level

    There is a translucent section on your battery that allows you to monitor the fluid level. You may need to recharge the battery or replace it if the fluid level is below the lead plates.

  6. Ruptured Battery Case

    Extreme temperature can cause your battery case to expand, swell, and crack. This can rupture the lead plates, cause serious gassing and spillage and ultimately reduce the life of the battery.
    If you have an irregularly shaped battery, maybe it’s time for a replacement.

  7. Old Age

    If your battery is older than three years, it may be time to get a replacement. Your driving habits, climate and the gadgets in your vehicle can affect battery life but performance will dwindle after three years.
    It’s advisable to check your battery’s performance yearly when it is three years old and get a replacement if necessary.

  8. Engine Cranks but Doesn’t Start

    A lot of things can make your engine crank without starting. However, the most common cause is a faulty battery.
    Even if the car cranks aggressively and an ammeter shows the battery has enough juice, the main suspect is still the battery. You may need to jumpstart it or get a new battery if this happens often.

  9. Intermittent Performance

    Does your car start perfectly today and struggles the next day? Your battery cables may be loose; the terminals may be corroded or the cables may be damaged.

    In some cases, the battery may be nearing the end of its life or you may have serious mechanical issues. Get your mechanic to check the car to identify the problem. If it is battery-related, you may need a replacement.

  10. Difficult Cold Crank

    You may need to get a new battery if starting the vehicle in the morning is difficult. This isn’t a problem if it happens during the winter since batteries produce half their normal output at freezing temperatures.

    But if the weather is warm and your battery struggles to start the engine from a cold state, you may want to buy a new one soon.
    Sometimes, maybe the vehicle requires a higher CCA to start cold. If this is the problem, you also need to get a more powerful battery that meets your car’s power requirements.

  11. Several Jumps Per Week

    If you’ve used the jumpstart kit multiple times in a week, start shopping for a new battery. Jumping the battery multiple times can damage the starter and alternator, which may end up costing you far more than a new battery.
    Rather than incur more expenses, spare yourself the inconvenience of a battery close to retirement and get a fresh power supply for your car.

Removing and Installing an Auto Battery

Changing your battery is easy if you know what to do. Most car owners will find themselves either removing their batteries to recharge it or mount a replacement. Below, we outline the steps to install a car battery.

how to replace a car battery
But first, you need to know the following:

  • Park the vehicle in a secure location, engage the emergency brake and turn off the engine.
  • Have supplies ready. You will need a battery handle, loop, or carrying strap. Gloves, safety glasses, terminal puller, and an impact wrench are other essentials.

10 Steps to Remove and Install Your Car Battery:

  1. Check your owner’s manual to identify the battery location. The traditional location of the battery was the hood but space constraints mean your car manufacturer may place it in the trunk or somewhere more obscure.
  2. Identify the positive and negative post and their cables. The positive post will have a “+” sign printed or stamped near it and the negative post will have a “-” sign next to it. In many cars, the positive battery post will have a red cover.
  3. Use a wrench or battery plier to detach the negative battery cable and the terminal from the negative post. The negative cable is usually black colored. Once the terminal comes loose, pull it off with your hand or use a battery terminal puller to avoid damaging the cables and battery post.
  4. Repeat the procedure above for the positive terminal, which is on the red cable. To make the removal and mounting of your car battery hitch-free, check out our cordless impact wrench reviews.
  5. Remove the battery clamp or retaining system with a wrench or socket and ratchet.
  6. Lift the battery out of its tray. It is better to use a battery handle or loop because of the weight. If you don’t have a mechanism to lift it, carry the battery from the bottom with both hands. You can ask someone for help.
  7. Clean the battery tray and retaining clamp with a battery cleaning solution or an alternative to remove corrosion. Check the terminals at the end of the battery cables for corrosion and dirt and clean if necessary. A good wire brush will do if you don’t have a terminal cleaning tool.
  8. Place the new battery into the battery tray and secure with the hold-down clamp. Check that the terminals match the cables and spray with anti-corrosion solution.
  9. Attach the positive battery cable (red) and tighten until snug. Do the same for the negative battery cable (black).
  10. Check that all the cable connections, battery clamp and retaining systems are tight and secure. Try to shake the battery and move the battery cable terminals. If you notice any movement, tighten every loose bolts and nuts until nothing shakes. Then you can start using your new battery with peace of mind.

FAQs

Q: Can a faulty battery damage the alternator or starter?

A: Yes, a weak battery forces the charging system, starter and starter solenoid to work harder. The inadequate power supply from the battery makes then draw excessive voltage, and this can cause them to malfunction.

Q: How do I keep my car battery from dying in cold weather?

A: There are several ways to keep your battery healthy in winter including:

  • Park the car in the garage to protect it from the cold
  • Use accessories sparingly
  • Recharge the battery
  • Check the battery’s performance before winter
  • Drive longer distances to allow the charging unit replenish the battery
  • Keep your battery clean.

Q: Can you jump a dead battery?

A: Yes, you can. But you will need to rev the running vehicle at about 1500-2000 rpm up to five minutes to get back some charge in the dead battery. But avoid discharging your battery completely because it reduces the life span.

Q: Can a frozen battery still work?

A: Yes, you can still recharge a frozen battery, but it is best to replace it. A frozen battery can die and leave you stranded at inconvenient times.

Q: How Many Years Do Car Batteries Last?

A: Car batteries can last for three to five years. However, extreme temperature, power-guzzling accessories, and frequent engine starts can reduce a car battery’s lifespan.

Once your battery crosses the three-year milestone, monitor its performance and reduce parasitic drains to get as much life from it. You should also prepare for a new battery in case the old one dies suddenly.

Q: What are the signs of a bad alternator or battery?

Best Car Batteries Comparison Chart

PRODUCTPRICEDIMENSIONS ( in )WEIGHTCCA RatingRESERVE TIME
Optima Batteries 8171-767  YellowTop Prius Battery$$$$$9.9 x 5.1 x 8.926 pounds45066 minuutes
ACDelco ACDB24R Advantage AGM Automotive Battery$$$18.5 x 11.4 x 9.531.4 pounds32570 minutes
DieHard 38188 Group Advanced Gold AGM Battery$$$$
10.8 x 6.9 x 844.5 pounds775120 minutes
Optima Batteries 8002-002 34 RedTop Starting Battery$$$$$10 x 6.88 x 7.837.9 pounds800100 minutes
Odyssey PC680 Battery$$7.2 x 3.1 x 7.513.45 pounds17024 minutes
Mighty Max Battery ML35-12$7.68 x 5.16 x 7.1323.15 poundsNANA
car battery reviews

Wrap Up

Auto batteries are unsung heroes because of their obscure location and low maintenance. But they can disorganize your plans when you least expect. This makes it essential to know how batteries work and the best conditions to achieve peak performance.

You also need to know the signs to look for when your battery is failing and the best car battery to buy when you need a replacement. This is why our car battery reviews provide comprehensive details about everything from the top brands, features, specifications and battery types.

Before you buy a battery, it is important to check your owner’s manual for the correct specifications of your car. If you don’t have the manual, check online, ask your mechanic or the auto parts seller in your area. When you eventually get a replacement, be sure to learn how to care for your battery to get the most out of your investment.