The battery is an important component of your car’s electrical system. According to some recent research conducted by Consumer Reports, most car owners are waiting until their car battery is completely dead before getting it replaced. Unfortunately, you never can plan for when the battery is finally going to die nor can your car engine start without a working battery. However, if you are proactive in testing your battery and make sure to have it replaced when signs of an imminent failure start to show, you can minimize the risk of being inconvenienced by a dead battery.

The Purpose of the Car Battery

The battery in your gasoline or diesel vehicle is a rechargeable battery that supplies electricity throughout the car. The main purpose of the battery is to power the starter to crank the engine (rotate the crankshaft) while maintaining a sufficient amount of voltage to activate the ignition system until the engine is firing and maintaining rotation on its own.

After the car is running, the alternator supplies the car with electricity unless the vehicle’s electrical load demand exceeds the output of the alternator. It is during these occurrences the vehicle relies on the battery to provide extra power. The battery is also utilized when the engine is off and vehicle occupants are using electronic accessories such as the audio system and plugged-in devices.

Know Your Car Battery Sizes and Specifications

Do you know which car battery is right for your vehicle? There are many specifications to consider with car batteries. The main specifications that determine the proper battery your vehicle needs are the physical size, physical characteristics, Ampere-hours, cranking amps, and group size.

Physical Characteristics – Not every battery is configured the same when it comes to the mounting style and terminal placement. There are most likely various mounting clamps for the different years, makes, and models of your vehicle. The battery terminals, or lead posts, are typically configured with the positive on the left and the negative on the right, however, there are some battery models where the configuration of the terminals is reversed. The battery manufacturer will often designate when the configuration is atypical in the model number.

Ampere-Hours – This indicates the current capacity of the battery. This is another term for how much current the battery can continuously supply over a period of time.

Cranking Amps – Automobile battery applications focus on two types of amperages: Cranking Amperes (CA) and Cold Cranking Amperes (CCA).

  • The cranking amperes is the quantity of current (amperes) a lead-acid battery can provide at 32 degrees Fahrenheit (O degrees Celsius) for 30 seconds and maintain at least 1.2 volts per cell (most standard automobile batteries have 6 cells and the minimum amount of volts would be 7.2). For most climates, this indicates the amount of electrical power in a relatively short amount of time that is needed to start your car engine.
  • The cold-cranking amperes is the quantity of current (amperes) a lead-acid battery can provide at 0 degrees Fahrenheit (-18 degrees Celsius). In freezing temperatures, it is more difficult for a battery to deliver the necessary power to crank the engine. In addition, the engine requires more power to rotate the crankshaft in freezing temperatures.

Group Size – The Battery Council International (BCI) is the primary trade association of battery manufacturers. They publish industry standards for batteries that include battery dimensions and sizes as well as testing standards. The BCI Group Size number establishes the car battery length, width, height, and terminal post designs. Therefore, when replacing the battery in your vehicle, the group size of the new battery will replicate the size of the present and make replacement easier.

How To Tell If Your Car Battery Is Dying

There are numerous signs that your battery is starting to fail. You may notice your car is not performing normally or there is something visually not right with the battery.

The performance of your car may be noticeably less when your battery is about to die. For instance, the car engine may be hard to start or the lights (both interior and exterior) may be dimming. The battery light on the dashboard may also illuminate if the battery is losing its charge slowly.

Under the engine hood, you can visually see if the battery is showing signs that it will be causing you problems soon. The battery may be swollen or have a significant amount of corrosion present. Please note that some vehicle manufacturers have placed the batteries under the rear seat or in the trunk of the vehicle. Contact us and we can help you locate your battery if you are not able to locate it.

If there is any doubt about the health of your car battery, then stop by Autopractor to have one of our ASE Certified mechanics perform a visual inspection and test your battery. The testing process typically only takes a few minutes and can be done while you wait. 
Don’t hesitate if you think your battery might be dying. Schedule your appointment today to ensure you don’t get stranded somewhere with a dead battery.

We Service Most Makes and Models

Below are many of the manufacturers we service:

  • Infiniti
  • Isuzu
  • Jaguar
  • Jeep
  • Kia
  • Land Rover
  • Lexus
  • Lincoln
  • Mazda
  • Mercedes-Benz
  • Mini
  • Mitsubishi