Nothing can be as frustrating as getting ready for work, going out to your garage, turning the key in the ignition, and not having your car start. That’s a stressful time because you’re wondering what’s wrong and how much you’ll have to spend for repairs and how long you’ll be without your vehicle. If you find out the problem is the battery, then you might feel relieved but changing the car battery is not the simple fix it seems . . . at least it’s not always that simple.
Buying a Car Battery
The first time I had to change a car battery I hauled the original out of my vehicle and drove it to the auto parts store so I could get a duplicate. Later, I learned that wasn’t the best choice. The battery that was already in the car when I purchased it (from a used car dealer many, many years ago) was not the best choice for the car. Thankfully, I was able to work with a human who could help me find the right battery – today that’s not easy since a lot of stores just direct you to a computer to find what you need.
Basically, just leave the old battery where it is for now and go in knowing the make, model, and year of your vehicle. Also, keep in mind that not all of the batteries are created equal. You want to look for the highest CCA (Cold Cranking Amps) and RC (Reserve Capacity) numbers you can afford – the higher you go the better. If you buy a battery that provides more power than what your car needs, that’s not a problem. In fact, during the winter months you’ll probably be thankful since the cold cuts down on your battery’s productivity.
Also, look for the best warranty you can afford. Normally, you’ll get some type of pro-rated warranty after a short free replacement period. With the pro-rated warranty, if something goes wrong, you can get a new battery but you’ll have to pay a portion of the costs based on how long you had used the other battery. Getting a longer free replacement period is definitely worth the money because often you’ll end up paying more for your battery under the pro-rated warranty than you did for the battery being replaced.
Other Things to Remember About Your Car Battery
If your car battery stops working, it’s often because of human error, such as leaving the lights on. When it’s not, you can sometimes get clues that your battery is almost at the end of its life by paying attention to how your car starts in the morning. If it’s becoming a struggle, then start thinking about a new battery.
You should also never assume the problem is the car battery. The problem could be with your car’s charging system which would mean a new battery won’t do you much good. Most auto part stores can do a diagnostic on your charging system so you can make sure that’s in good shape before you purchase the battery.
Remember it’s a good idea to get your battery and your charging system checked before winter so you don’t end up stranded in bad weather.