What To Consider When Choosing a Car Battery
Car battery failures are the bane of any car owner, and they always happen at the most inconvenient of times—such as when rushing off to the next work site, or when picking up the kids after work. While battery replacements is unavoidable and should be carried out every three to five years, persistent failures may mean that there is an issue with your vehicles’ electrical system, or that the car battery is not suited to your needs.
Yet, the sheer variety of car batteries in the market makes choosing one a daunting task, as not all batteries are equal. So before you roll up your sleeves and replace your battery, here are 6 tips which will help you decide on the right one for your vehicle.
1. What are your driving habits?
Do you often commute long distances to your customers’ places? Do you drive a lot in the country and on unsealed roads? Do you make a lot of short but recurrent trips?
These questions may seem trivial, but issues like road conditions and frequent restarting of engines can be hard on batteries. For example, most batteries are designed for well-maintained roads, instead of rough ones we often find ourselves on when driving on country roads. Repeated prolonged vibrations and impacts could damage a regular battery and result in battery failure.
2. How frequently do you drive?
If you use your company vehicle during the week and only drive your cars over on the weekends, the long storage period for your car may cause batteries to slowly discharge on their own, draining them to dangerously low levels. One course of action is to connect it to a battery maintainer when not in use, or take your car out for a drive at least once a week.
Plus, as batteries are recharged through the alternator while driving, short trips also mean that they may not get recharged as much as they should. In that case, you may want to consider a battery with a higher reserve capacity (RC) rating, which will have high power in reserve, in case of low charges or a spoilt alternator.
3. Do you have a lot of car accessories?
Certain accessories like security alarms and electronic locks require electricity from your battery even when your vehicle is parked. Plus, in-car cameras, air conditioners, LCD screens and other accessories that are on for extended periods can drain your battery flat if it has insufficient RC, cutting short your battery lifespan.
If your battery is often flat, you may be leaving certain components on overnight on a regular basis or your battery’s RC may be insufficient for your needs.
4. Do you drive in harsh weather conditions?
Extreme weather conditions play a pivotal role in the performance of car batteries. For instance, your car takes longer to start up in the cold winter months as batteries require more power to charge their chemical reactions. Consider a battery with higher Cold Cranking Amps (CCA), which are built to operate in colder climates.
Meanwhile in summer, electrolyte in batteries evaporate more quickly, reducing the chemical reactions needed to create the jolt of electrical energy to your car from taking place. Hence, you should look out for products where the grids should contain ingredients such as alloys which can help delay potential corrosion effects, and the grid itself should be robust enough to also endure corroding elements from the the acid and chemical reactions happening inside the battery.
5. How old is your car battery?
Older car batteries are not as capable as holding a full charge due to sulfation and corrosion, which also hampers charging. If your car has trouble starting up, it may be time to do a battery check test.
6. Do you drive a start-stop vehicle?
Modern vehicles employ start-stop technology for greater fuel efficiency. Choosing a poorer performing battery may result in a premature battery lifespan, which can incur more cost.
Car batteries with Absorbent Glass Mat (AGM) technology is the preferred solution for start-stop vehicles*. You need to consider the cycling performance and vibration resistance when purchasing your AGM battery.
*Please refer to your owners’ manual for manufacturer’s specifications