Choosing The Right Battery For Your Car Truck Or SUV

If the battery in your car, truck, or SUV is starting to show signs of aging and it is time to replace it with a new one, you need to be sure you get one that is right for your vehicle. Just looking at the one coming out is not always the solution. You can find the information in your car or ask at the auto parts store and they can help.

Determining The Amperage You Need

Not all batteries are created equally. There are ratings on the battery for amps and CCA (cold cranking amps) but they are two different things. The amperage of the battery is rated for normal operating temperatures and the cold cranking amps are the rating for winter weather, A battery rated for 850 amps might only have a CCA rating of 500 so it is not going to have the power to turn over some engines in the cold. The car manufacturer will put the minimum rates for both Amps and CCA in the owner's manual so take a look at what they say you need before you head to the parts store.

Getting The Right Size

Now that you have the amperage and CCA figured out, you need to determine what size battery will fit in the vehicle. You can measure the battery box or you can just ask the counterman at the parts store to look up what will fit and check the configuration of the battery posts. If your vehicle requires a side post battery and you try to use a top post, you might have clearance problems and the posts might even touch the underside of the hood, causing a short that could damage the battery or your electrical system.  You can use the old battery as a reference if it fits properly.

Installing The New Battery

Before installing the new battery, take a look at the battery tray and area around the battery to determine if it needs to be cleaned. If there is any corrosion on the tray or in the battery box, use some baking soda and water to clean the area then rinse is clean with clear water. Now put the new battery in and install the red or positive cable first. Once it is in and secure, you can install the negative or black cable. Make sure the cables are secure and that the battery is securely in place. Install any hold downs that the battery might need and start the car to be sure it is working properly.   

Disposing Of The Old Battery

Batteries contain acid and should not be thrown away. Many parts stores will take your old battery and send it to a recycler. If the store you bought your battery doesn't take them, you can take it to a recycler in your area and have them deal with it. Often these recyclers will pay a little for the battery as well. If you can't find a place to get rid of it, ask the sanitation department in your town if they pick them up. They might take them as well.

Contact a service, like Joy  Automotive Products Inc, for more help.