What Kind Of Battery Do I Need? A Complete Guide

By Erik Watkins
Last Updated: August 11, 2022
What Kind Of Battery Do I Need

A battery is an inevitable component of your vehicle. If something is wrong, it can prevent your car from starting, and it’s the moment for replacement. However, what kind of battery do I need? 

There are many types of batteries, and choosing the correct one is a must to have your automobile run and protect everything from further damage. Let’s follow up; we can help you with the issue.

About The Battery

What Is It?

It is a rechargeable power provider, providing electricity to your car to do different tasks. You often find it as a plastic box with or without a colored top under the hood. There are two terminals that connect it with the electricity system. 

You’ll notice a sticker on the box side that displays the manufacturer information and another sticker with a number on it. It shows how many years your original battery is under warranty. 

What Does It Do?

How Does A Gel Battery Work

The component is there for many critical functions.

Electrical power plays an important role in the ignition system. The engine requires power to turn on, and the spark plugs need to receive the electricity from the provider box. Thus, you can activate the engine starter and operate the car.

The power delivery box does not only support your vehicle to start when you put your key in the ignition but also is in charge of other electricity functions. The light system is an example. The interior lighting, rear and headlights, and indicators work thanks to the power source. 

The air vent or radio can also operate without turning the engine on. Since your voltage provider is working, you can also watch DVDs, charge your phone, and use a mini-fridge inside the car.

What Kind Of Battery Do I Need? Guide To Choose

Size

It is the first thing you want to find out before buying. Without the correct size, it can not fit in the tray tightly. Using the wrong type of battery wastes money, harms your vehicle, and limits its maximum performance.

The tray is usually produced to accommodate a group size of batteries. It’s what you should look for when selecting a proper power provider. So what does group size mean on a battery? It indicates the battery size best fitting the terminal locations and physical dimensions.

The information is available in the instruction manual. It’s also possible to consult with the retailers to know the appropriate group size. 

Reserve Capacity

Reserve capacity rating (RC rating) or “standing power” is the second thing you should care about. If the fan belt or the alternator fails to work, the component can still continuously give the minimum power needed to run the car. The more excellent the reserve capacity is, the longer your vehicle can operate only by circuit. 

Meanwhile, the largest capacity is not always the best. You should go for the rating that falls in the suggested range for your car. It’s usually listed on the label in minutes. As some manufacturers don’t put that information there, you can check with the store assistant by providing your car’s model and engine size.

Cold-Cranking Amps

Cold-cranking amps rating may not be important if you live in a warm area, but if you need to drive in extremely cold temperatures all year, it’s one factor in determining the proper product. The rating listed is the amps a battery power can give for 30 sec at 0°F.

Since colder temperatures can cause engine oil thickening, it’s more difficult for vehicles to start. Voting for a voltage supplier that has a high cold cranking amps rating is the solution for the issue.

Age

To find the kind of battery you need, besides those criteria above, you should also pay attention to its life expectancy. The old battery types usually have worse performance and shorter shelf life. You’d better take the new one produced within no more than six months.

Try to find the code with one letter and one number on the outside to know its age. The letter from A to L indicates the month, and the number from 0 to 9 represents the year of manufacture. For example, L9 means December 2019. Every ten years, the cycle will finish and reset at zero. 

Brand

Check the brand you need to buy in the manufacturer’s instructions. Expensive batteries usually cost more, so you can choose another type. However, ensure its specification meets the general requirements in the guidebook. 

Some drivers tend to go for cheap brands. It may look like you benefit from it at first, but in the long run, you may need to spend more on it. Cheap products often have defects and operate ineffectively, causing more frequent fixation or faster replacement.

Other Useful Tips When Choosing A Car Battery

1. Keeping the part in good shape is the priority since a failed one can cause trouble. Try your best to keep your cables, terminals, and connections clean and prevent them from corrosion. 

2. Often check the connections to make sure everything is in its place. If you start to see something wrong with the component, a prolonged period of using it is not necessary. Looking for a replacement is suggested so you’ll not put yourself in a stranded situation. 

3. Three to four years is a recommended regular changing schedule. Before replacing, check if your warranty covers the fee for the process.

4. Install a new battery with full power capability instead of an old one if it’s affordable to avoid driving risks.

5. Jump-starting can be useful in an emergency and run your engine for a short period. However, it’s not the first solution you should look for when other options are available. The wrong electricity connection easily damages the engine; eventually, you’ll lose more than you gain.

Need a New Car Battery? How to Choose the Right Type

Bottom Lines

We hope now you’ve grasped the kind of battery you need. Choosing the right voltage supplier is important to the vehicle’s function; if you can’t make an informed decision, asking for support from a repair shop is advisable.

Automotive Master Mechanic at PowerAll

With 7 years experience in management positions leading automotive mechanics at PowerAll, Erik Watkins wishes to share useful knowledge and information about automotive mechanical equipment.