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Automotive Batteries

The battery in your car or truck starts your engine and it allows you to run the headlights, interior lights, radio, and other accessories when the engine is off. Over its lifetime, your car battery will discharge and recharge thousands of times. Eventually, it will lose its ability to hold a strong enough charge to start the car, and it will be time for a new battery. What should you know when looking for a replacement?

  • Match the new battery to your car - Not all batteries work in all cars because there is quite a bit of variation in the size and capacity of the battery as well as the size, type, and placement of the battery terminals.
  • Meet at least the Cold Cranking Amperes of the original battery - "Cold Cranking Amps" are a measure of how much power the battery produces. The older your car, the more amps you may need. You also need more power to start your car on cold days because the engine is harder to turn and the power the battery can generate decreases significantly as the temperature goes down.
  • Take the newest battery in the lot - Batteries lose their ability to hold a charge with time as well as use, so buy the most recently made battery you can find. Batteries carry freshness dating just like food so that you know when it was manufactured and how long it has been sitting on the shelf. The manufacturing date may be encoded with letters to represent the month or something similar, so you may need some help in reading the date.
  • Consider the reserve capacity - Without the alternator, the battery alone will be providing the electrical power to keep the headlights on and the engine running. The reserve capacity is an indicator of how long you can keep drawing power after stopping the car or driving after the alternator fails. Though an unusual circumstance, alternators do fail, and a large reserve capacity may be of great value to you if your car is getting very old, you have a history of problems with the alternator, or you drive in at night or in areas where it can be difficult to get help if you suffer a problem.
  • Get the right warranty and lifetime - There is no point in paying more for a battery that will last longer than you expect to own your car.

Insist on a maintenance free battery that eliminates the old requirement of topping off the cells with pure water every now and then. That is one less thing you will have to worry about and saves you from exposure to the sulfuric acid that the battery contains.

Where to Shop (click to visit)
PartsAmerica- The on-line presence for two of the largest auto part retailers in America: CSK Auto (Checker, Schucks and Kragen) and Advance Auto Parts. PartsAmerica provides quick and easy access to nearly $1.5B in inventory and 3,000 locations in all 50 states. Search their real-time inventory, purchase items on-line, pick up and return at a local store, or have products delivered to their home or business.
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