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Battery Testing, Maintenance And Myths
Your vehicle's battery is not very demanding, and most often only thought about when it fails. But just a small amount of care and mantainence will help insure it doesn't let you down when you need it most.
 More of this Feature
Testing The Battery
Testing The Battery (cont.)
Testing The Battery (cont.)
• Buying A New Battery
Buying A New Battery (cont.)
Popular Battery Myths
Popular Battery Myths (cont.)
Popular Battery Myths (cont.)
 Join the Discussion
" Universal Car for Overseas"
"Wheel Shakes When Braking"
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Engine Firing Orders
T/S Electrical System: Part 1
T/S Electrical System: Part 2
Back To Basics
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Motorcycle Information
2005 Buick Ranier
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Motor Trend Magazine
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Purchasing A New Battery

Okay, so now you know your battery is bad and needs replacing. Here are a few things to look for when buying a car, motorcycle and truck battery:

1. Size matters!

Purchasing a battery has become much easier because most of the battery and vehicle manufacturers have adopted the BCI Group Number as a standard for the battery's voltage, physical size, terminal type and terminal location. It contains the vehicle's minimum cold cranking amps (CCA) requirement and Battery Council International (BCI) Group Number replacement recommendations by make, model and year of manufacturer.

2. Pick the battery type.

For starting an engine, using a car battery is the better choice than a deep cycle battery because it is specifically designed for shallow discharges. The battery type must match your vehicle's charging system or your could damage the new battery or charging system. The easiest way to accomplish this is to replace your battery with the same or compatible type of battery that was originally installed by the vehicle's manufacturer. The five most common types of starting batteries are:

  • Non-sealed wet Low Maintenance.
  • Sealed wet Maintenance Free.
  • AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat).
  • Sealed Spiralcell. AGM.
  • Non-sealed wet Marine Starting.

In hot climates, using a sealed wet Maintenance Free car battery is not encouraged because lost water cannot be replaced. For "GM side" terminal batteries check the terminal bolt length and do not over tighten or you crack the battery case. Why do you think GM put such a small hex head on the battery terminal bolt?

For a deep cycle application, using a deep cycle battery is much better alternative than using a car battery. The most common types of deep cycle batteries are non-sealed wet Low Maintenance, wet Maintenance Free, sealed Gel Cell Valved Regulated Lead-Acid (VRLA) and sealed AGM VRLA.

3. Select the battery with CCA (Cold Cranking Amps) that will meet or exceed the vehicle manufacturer's recommendation.

Do not substitute CA (Cranking Performance Amps), MCA (Marine Cranking Amps), or HCA (Hot Cranking Amps) for CCA. In hot climates, buying batteries with double or triple the cranking amps that exceeds your starting requirement is not recommended. However, in cold climates, a higher CCA rating is better, due to increased power required to crank a sluggish engine and the inefficiency of a cold battery.

Next page» Buying A New Battery (cont.) » Page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Additional information provided courtesy of ALLDATA

© 2004 Vincent T. Ciulla

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