Charts help you compare batteries

When you need to buy a new car battery, your first step should be to check out a battery chart for cars. You can find one in almost any store that sells automotive parts. Sears even offers a widget online; just enter the make, model and year of your car, and you are ready to go. With the pros and cons of all the available batteries listed side by side on a car battery comparison chart, you will easily see which one best suits your vehicle and driving needs.

Finding the right size

car battery

Manufacturers produce a variety of battery sizes. The group size of a battery lets you know the battery's dimensions and whether the terminals are on the top or side. You need to know the group size appropriate for your vehicle. You can find that information in your car manual. If the battery's dimensions are not right for your car, the battery won't fit correctly and securely. The new battery for your car also needs to have the same or higher number of cold cranking amps (CCA) as your old car battery. The CCA is a measure of the power of the battery. If the CCA number is lower than your old car battery, the battery won't have the power needed to start your car.

Decoding the date

Speaking of power, while you're comparing car batteries, compare when a battery was shipped or manufactured. A battery loses power while sitting on a store or warehouse shelf. There are two ways to know the age of a battery: a shipping date code or a manufacturer date code. A shipping date code either will be on a sticker or heat-stamped into the battery. You'll notice a letter and a number. The letter notes the month. For example, the letter A tells you it was shipped in January. The number notes the year and only uses the last number of the year. For example, 2 would refer to 2012, and 3 to 2013. A manufacturer date code uses the same numbering system to mark the year; however, the day will be marked by the day of the year. For example, 2 150 means the battery was manufactured on 2012, May 30. Make sure the battery you buy is less than six months old. This information won't be on a battery comparison chart, but it's an important factor to consider as you do side-by-side comparisons.

Side by side

Other key factors to consider when comparing car batteries are the estimated battery life and maintenance cost. As you compare batteries side-by-side, your eyes will likely drift to one column over and over: price. Yes, the price of a battery is something you have to consider, but don't be penny-wise and pound-foolish. If one battery is a little bit more, but has a longer estimated life or better warranty, you will be money-ahead to spend more. If looking at and comparing all the numbers gets to be too overwhelming, simply ask for help. A reliable technician will help you use a car battery size chart to find the exact battery you need for your car.

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