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Best Car Battery Buying Guide [2020]

As you drive your brand new car out of the showroom, chances are, your battery life is the least of your concerns.

However, after a while, you start noticing that on some days the car starts fine while on others it doesn’t. A couple of weeks later, you find yourself jumping the battery more often than you normally do.

Then it dawns on you, your car battery is dead.

Whether your own a Mercedes or a Nissan, your car battery will die at some point. As a matter of fact, in the course of your life’s car, you should expect to change the battery at least three to four times. But, once your current battery dies, what’s next?

As you shop for a new one, it is recommended that you purchase a good-quality car battery that will serve you for longer. This is where this guide comes in.

We have gone through hundreds of reviews during our research to bring you the best car battery on the market.

What to Look for in a Car Battery?

To help you identify the best car battery, you should know what features to look for in one. Below are the factors you should consider when looking for a quality car battery.

  • Compatibility  

Before anything else, you should consider a battery that is compatible with your car. You can confirm this in your car manual. For owners driving mostly in cold weather, you should choose a battery labeled as North or N. whereas those in hot climates, you should pick those labeled South or S. off-road drivers should purchase batteries that can withstand constant vibrations.

  • Size

As you shop for a battery, have the right measurements with you. This will help you choose the right fit.

  • Power Requirements

Consider a battery with more CCA (Cold Cranking Amps) which refers to a battery’s ability to start a car at 0 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the key power requirement you should look out for.

  • Maintenance

There are two main battery types that are easy to maintain and they are; low maintenance and maintenance-free batteries. Maintenance-free, the most popular choice for many, are sealed and you don’t have to change the liquid electrolyte. The low maintenance ones, on the other hand, have unsealed caps allowing the driver to add water occasionally.

  • Battery Freshness and Warranty

Finally, you should never buy a battery that is older than 6 months. It’s because the longer a battery is stored, the more strength they lose. Always confirm the date of manufacture before buying. And, consider brands that offer the longest warranty period.

How to Know It’s Time to Change One?

  1. A slow starting engine especially in the morning.
  2. Dim lights and electrical issues such as the radio going off.
  3. It becomes harder to cold crank your car.
  4. A bad smell coming from the battery.
  5. Jumping your car several times a day.
  6. A tougher time starting the car after sitting for too long.
  7. Swelling and cracking of the battery.
  8. If you have been using it for a long period, more than 3 years.

Different Types of Car Batteries

Despite the use of all batteries is to power up your car, they come in different types. Today we will look at the most popular types;

1. Starting, Lighting, and Ignition (LSI)

Abbreviated as LSI, these are the most common type of car batteries. Their purpose is to start, light, ignite, and other operations such as powering the radio. LSI batteries have a shallow charge cycle and should be powered frequently.

2. Deep Cycle

They are more powerful than LSI and hold onto charge for longer. They can be used in cars as well as marine vehicles.

3. Lead Acid

These are also quite popular and feature an electrolyte solution that acts as a power source of the battery. Lead-acid batteries are categorized into two, maintenance-free and low maintenance batteries.

4. Absorbed Glass Mat

This type of battery is best for owners who leave their cars for a long period. The AGM technology guarantees better recharging cycles, fuel-saving start and stop systems, electronic safety, and power outlets for mobile devices.

The Top 5 Car Batteries

1. Optima Batteries 8004-003 34/78 RedTop Starting Battery

The energetic Optima 34/78 guarantees a 5-second starting burst. And compared to other lead-acid batteries, it has a lifespan twice as long. One of the features that make it stand out is that it’s loaded with tightly coiled columns of pure lead. Its design is built to provide ultra-low ohms as well as endure maximum vibration. It is a maintenance-free type of battery and comes with a 36-month warranty.

Pros

  • 100% maintenance-free
  • Has a long lifespan
  • Promises a 5-second starting burst
  • Comes with a 36-month warranty
  • Suitable for off-road and daily drivers

Cons

  • Slow drain kills these batteries faster than most types

2. Odyssey PC680 Battery

This battery is the top pick for RV lovers. There are plenty of reasons for this. It features a strong rugged build, it can survive a heavy pounding and harsh climates have got nothing on it. Other than that, the pure lead plates allow it to resist vibrations. If taken proper care of, the Odyssey PC680 Battery can serve your car for years.

Pros

  • One of the best deep cycle batteries
  • Features a strong build
  • Has a 750 CCA rating making it ideal for RVs
  • It can power big vehicles
  • It’s resistant to vibrations

Cons

  • Users have complained it has a high risk of overcharging

3. Mighty Max Ml35-12

If you are looking for the best solar battery on the market, then the mighty max ml35-12 should be your top choice. It is a deep cycle battery that can be used as a car or boat battery. It features absorbent glass mat tech that ensures high performance and long battery life. It is also very easy to install.

Pros

  • Maintenance-free
  • It is easy to install
  • Guarantees high performance
  • Spill-proof features
  • Features AGM technology

Cons

  • Doesn’t work well with RVs and other bigger vehicles

4. Optima Batteries 8040-218 D35 YellowTop Dual Purpose Battery

The D35 YellowTop is a superior battery that works exceptionally on small cars. It offers deep cycling capabilities and is ideal for a car with a lot of electronic accessories. Its compact unique design fits well in most cars. It is also ideal for seasonal use because of the battery’s low self-discharge rate.

Pros

  • A compact and unique battery that is great for small cars
  • Features a 650 CCA rating that can power small cars
  • It has a high level of vibration resistance
  • The thick plastic exterior ensures durability

Cons

  • AGM technology increases the risk of overcharging

5. XS Power D6500 XS Series 12V 3,900 Amp AGM High Output Battery with M6 Terminal Bolt

This is the perfect battery for cars that feature a superior audio sound system. The XS Power D6500 offers enough power to start your vehicle and also other accessories. It is a leak-proof battery with no external vents. The design of the XS Power D6500 can fit most vehicles and has a 1070 CCA rating. The XS can also survive extreme weather and resist vibration.

Pros

  • Boasts of a high CCA rating (1070)
  • Can be mounted in different positions
  • Can power a 3000-4000W car audio system
  • Works as a replacement for standard or additional batteries
  • Known for resisting extreme shock

Cons

  • A bit expensive

Tips for Installing a Car Battery

Although you can seek the assistance of a mechanic when installing a car battery, it is possible to do it yourself. Here are some tips to guide you;

  1. Ensure that your car engine is switched off.
  2. Start by locating the battery then proceed to remove the attached cables. Remove the negative cable first, it’s black. You can use a wrench, then proceed to remove the positive which is red.
  3. With the help of a combination wrench, remove the battery. Use both hands to do it safely.
  4. Before installing the new battery, remove any corrosion on the connectors with a mixture of baking soda and water.
  5. Put the new battery and ensure the positive matches the positive terminal.
  6. Remove the caps covering the posts and connect the cables starting with the positive this time.
  7. After fitting and tightening the battery, give it a shake to confirm if it is firm.

Bottom Line

When your car battery dies, there is no need to waste time contemplating what you did wrong. It’s very normal for car batteries to lose strength even when given the best of care.

What you should do is take your time and identify the best car battery that will serve you for longer while meeting your car’s powering needs.

And you don’t have to struggle so hard when picking the best car battery because, above, we have reviewed the 5 best-rated car batteries in the market.

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