What to Look for When Replacing a Car Battery

Posted on in Featured by Paul Harpe

Man boosting a dead vehicle battery in the winter.

When motorists call for help, one of the most common problem is a dead battery. This problem can strike year round, but it’s especially common during Canadian winters when extreme temperatures take their toll on car batteries. If you don’t want to be one of those people stuck waiting for help, it’s important to have your battery checked regularly and to know when to replace it. However, replacing a car battery isn’t always a simple fix. Here are 4 things to look for when replacing any car battery.

1. Know the Warning Signs of a Dying Car Battery

If you notice that your car’s engine is having a hard time turning over, you should get your battery checked right away, as this is a common sign of battery failure. Even if you think your battery still has a lot of life left in it, it’s still a good idea to test it regularly. Most batteries should last anywhere from 2 to 5 years. After you’ve had a battery for 2 years, it’s recommended to have it tested annually. Batteries actually tend to last longer in cooler climates, but when temperatures get extreme, batteries can lose some of their start-up power.

“If you notice that your car’s engine is having a hard time turning over, you should get your battery checked right away, as this is a common sign of battery failure.”

 

2. Make Sure the New Battery Is Really “New”

All batteries wear down over time, and that applies even to batteries sitting on the shelf. That’s why it’s important to check the date on any new battery before installing it; if a battery has already been sitting on the shelf for a year, you won’t benefit from the full life of the battery. Checking the manufacturing date can be a challenge, however. While some battery manufacturers use a standard numeric date, others will use a letter and number system. In this system, each month is represented by a letter, starting in January with the letter A and ending in December with the letter M. The year on these batteries will be denoted by a single digit after the letter (e.g. 6 for 2016, 7 for 2017, etc.). So if you find a battery with the marking A7 on it, you’ll know it was made in January 2017.

3. Look for a Car Battery with a Long Warranty

Most car batteries will come with a warranty, but some warranties are better than others. Generally speaking, the longer the warranty period the better, however, understanding warranties is not necessarily a simple matter. Most battery manufacturers offer a two-period warranty: in the first period, you’re entitled to a free replacement battery if yours breaks down, and in the second, you’ll get a discount on a replacement (although this discount tends to be much lower than the 100% discount offered during the first period). These different periods are indicated by a four-digit code: the first two digits refer to the 100% coverage period, and the second two digits refer to the partial coverage period. For example, a battery with the code 24/72 would have a 24-month (2-year) full warranty period and a 72-month (3-year) partial warranty period.

4. Find the Right Fit for Your Vehicle

Finding the right type of replacement battery is a fairly simple task. The easiest way to do it is to switch out your existing battery for a new one with the same performance specifications and physical dimensions. In some cases, you may want to upgrade to a higher performance battery, but you should always check to make sure the new battery is suited to your vehicle.

Detecting battery problems early will make your life better in two ways: first, it means you are less likely to get stuck calling for help from the side of the road, and second, it will help prevent damage to other expensive vehicle components like your alternator. Because early detection is so important, EconoLube offers free battery systems diagnostics checks. Our technician will test your battery and charging system components and let you know how much life is left in your battery. If it’s time for a new battery, we’ll help you find one that offers the best quality and the best warranty for an affordable price.

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