Jump start your search for the best car batteries

jumper cables and battery

Like everyone these days, you're busy. So when your car's battery is d-e-a-d, it's tempting to just go to the nearest auto store, plunk down some cash and get back on the road again. But if you want to make sure you're getting the best bang for your battery buck, you'll want to do a quick search for both the best rated car batteries and the best deals on car batteries.

Flip through the car manual to find the size of car battery you need to purchase. It's called the "group size." Don't sweat it if you don't have the manual, though. Stores that sell auto parts offer charts to look it up on. Just scan the charts for the make and model of your vehicle. When you shop online, a widget will point you in the right direction.

Before you start your search, pop the car's hood and note whether the battery cables connect on the side or the top of the battery. You'll need to know. Armed with all of this information, you can start comparing your car battery needs against reviews.

Check the review

To start with, find the most complete, best car battery review you can get your hands on. Once you do, compare the various brands when it comes to the life of the battery. Obviously, the longer the life of the battery the better. Read the review to find out how the batteries held up in various climates. Hot weather causes more wear and tear on a battery than cold weather, so consider the climate in which you live and drive the most.

Think about your driving habits. When you start a car, it zaps a good amount of charge out of the battery. So do you drive mostly in town or make long hauls? Short, in-town trips don't allow the battery time to recharge completely, meaning the battery won't last as long as it would if you drove long distances.

What kind of warranty does the manufacturer offer? Is it prorated or non-prorated? Don't just check the review to see if a battery has a warranty; find the warranty policy. Warranty policies vary, so make sure you read and compare them. What is the free replacement period? What kind of maintenance does the battery require? The less maintenance, the better, because maintenance means money.

Two key items to compare are the CCA and RC. CCA stands for Cold Crank Amps. It's a measure of the power of the battery. The higher the CCA number, the better. And last, but definitely not least, see what the review says about the RC, or Reserve Capacity. The RC tells you the battery's ability to provide power for your car's essential electrical equipment if the alternator were to fail. Just as with the CCA, the higher the RC number, the better.

Now that you know what type of battery your car needs and what to look for in a car battery review, it's time to find the best deal on car batteries. You want to buy the best you can afford. A cheap battery could be just that: cheap. Keep your eye out for sales, coupons and discounts. Some battery manufacturers offer rebates, too. When looking for the best deal on car batteries, don't forget to consider installation cost. An inexpensive battery can quickly become expensive if you face a huge installation fee.

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