Selecting the Right Car Battery (2023)

A slow start…

Has it been taking longer than normal to start your vehicle the past few mornings? Has your car been jump started quite a bit lately? If you answered yes to either of these questions, it might be time to replace your car battery.

There is no worse feeling than being afraid that your car won’t start the next time you put the key in the ignition. You rely on your vehicle to get you to work, to take the kids to school and to pick up groceries; now is the time to get this issue taken care of, before you need to call for a tow truck.

First things first

Selecting the Right Car Battery (1)

Before you rush out and buy a new battery, you need to make sure that a dead battery really is the cause of your problem. First, examine the battery and make sure there are no loose connections or frayed wires that could cause your battery to fail.

You’ll also want to check your car’s charging system to make sure this isn’t the issue. Your mechanic can help you with this. Many auto parts stores also have diagnostic equipment that can tell you if your charging system needs attention.

If everything checks out with the battery wires and charging system, you’ll want to do your homework before buying a car battery. There are many things to consider to ensure that you get the right battery for your car and driving habits.

Know before you go

Before heading to the store, check your owner’s manual or look at the old battery to ensure that you get the right type and size of battery.

(Video) How To Choose A Car Battery (Simplified)

Selecting the Right Car Battery (2)

Types of batteries

Most of today’s gas-powered vehicles use either a traditional lead-acid battery or an absorbed glass mat (AGM) battery. Please note that if you have an electric or hybrid vehicle, it could use a nickel metal hydride (NiMH) battery or a lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery.

Most modern lead-acid car batteries are maintenance-free with no need to add water as in years past. Lead-acid batteries are typically cheaper than AGM batteries but they don’t hold a charge for as long and they aren’t as likely to recover if accidentally drained.

AGM batteries are designed to handle repeated draining and recharging cycles than traditional lead-acid batteries. With the rise of phones and other electronics being used in today’s vehicles, AGM batteries can keep up with the increased power demand. An AGM battery will cost more – you could pay up to 40% more as compared to a traditional lead-acid battery.

(Video) Need a New Car Battery? How to Choose the Right Type

Cranking amps and cold cranking amps

Two important measurements of a battery’s power are the cranking amps and cold cranking amps. Cranking amps measures your battery’s starting power for moderate climates (32°F and above). Check your owner’s manual for the minimum amount of cranking amps recommended for your vehicle.

If you live in a cold climate, pay close attention to the cold cranking amps number. This measures a battery’s starting power in cold temperatures (0°F). Never purchase a battery that has fewer cold cranking amps than what is recommended by your owner’s manual. You might find yourself stranded in the cold with a dead battery.

(Video) A Simple Car Battery Buying Guide

For both the cranking amps and cold cranking amps, the higher the number typically results in a better performing battery.

Selecting the Right Car Battery (4)

Reserve capacity

A battery’s reserve capacity is the amount of time the battery delivers the maximum amperage before discharging completely. The higher the minute rating, the more likely it is that the battery can power through a situation like the lights being left on while you are in a store.

Selecting the Right Car Battery (5)


The warranty on a car battery can vary between manufacturers. Some warranties feature a free replacement for the life of the warranty; others offer a prorated warranty that allows for only partial reimbursement. There are also warranties that may offer a combination of these two different types of warranties.

When comparing batteries, be sure to read the fine print of the warranty and understand if it is a full replacement warranty or a prorated warranty – it could greatly affect how you rate a particular battery.

(Video) How to Choose the Best Car Battery

Learn more aboutquality car batteries, find yourcar part, or find where to buy your auto part today.

The content contained in this article is for entertainment and informational purposes only and should not be used in lieu of seeking professional advice from a certified technician or mechanic. We encourage you to consult with a certified technician or mechanic if you have specific questions or concerns relating to any of the topics covered herein.Under no circumstances will we be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on any content.


Selecting the Right Car Battery? ›

A good rule of thumb is to replace your car battery every 3 years. If you are lucky enough to always drive in ideal driving conditions, such as in a place that does not experience extreme temperature conditions or excessive humidity levels, your car battery can last up to 6 years.

How do I choose the right battery for my car? ›

  1. Step 1: Find the Correct Battery Size. Car batteries are all categorized by size. ...
  2. Step 2: Find the Minimum Cold Cranking Amps (CCA) for Your Car. ...
  3. Step 3: Determine the Type of Battery Required. ...
  4. Step 4: Select Your New Battery.
Dec 14, 2022

What is the rule of thumb for car battery? ›

A good rule of thumb is to replace your car battery every 3 years. If you are lucky enough to always drive in ideal driving conditions, such as in a place that does not experience extreme temperature conditions or excessive humidity levels, your car battery can last up to 6 years.

How much CCA do I need? ›

If you're wondering how many CCAs you will need, a good rule of thumb is that an engine will need about one amp per cubic inch of engine displacement. For the majority of vehicles, this means between 250 and 600 CCA, depending on the size of your engine, though buses or larger RVs could require as much as 1,000 CCA.

Do I need the exact battery for my car? ›

No. Car batteries differ in multiple ways to work with different vehicle's specifications, and they are generally year, make, model-specific. Many car batteries do have one important similarity in how they work.

Does CCA matter for car battery? ›

Many vehicles can accommodate more than one group size. Cold cranking amps (CCA) - CCA is critical for good cranking ability. It's the number of amps a battery can support for 30 seconds at a temperature of 0 degrees F until the battery voltage drops to unusable levels.

What is the life expectancy of a car battery? ›

Some cars will get up to five or six years out of their battery, while others will need a new one after only two years. In general, your car will usually need a new battery after three to four years. Replacing your car battery is another part of routine maintenance.

Is $200 too much for a car battery? ›

Average Price of a Car Battery

Car batteries typically last anywhere from two to five years, depending on the battery type, climate and vehicle. Based on the make and model of your vehicle, you can expect to pay around $50 to $120 for a standard car battery and around $90 to $200 for a premium type.

How many miles do car batteries last? ›

Typically, a car battery will last for about 5 to 6 years and about 30,000 to 50,000 miles before needing to be replaced. It is a relatively minor cost to keep your car running strong.

What happens if I put a higher CCA battery in my car? ›

As you will see shortly, the same group size battery can come in a variety of CCA ratings so you can choose a more powerful battery for your vehicle if needed. Using a battery with a higher CCA rating than what is recommended by the manufacturer is completely safe and won't harm your vehicle.

Is 500 cold cranking amps good? ›

The key to flawless cold-weather starts is to have a battery rated at least 600 CCA (cold cranking amps). Most standard car batteries are rated in the range of 300 to 500 CCA. They're fine for regular cars in most types of weather, including bitter cold.

Is higher CCA always better? ›

Generally, batteries with the highest CCA rating possible are the best. That's because they have a better overall capacity and ability to withstand extreme weather conditions. When buying a replacement battery for your vehicle, choose one with a rating of 650 CCAs or more.

Can AutoZone tell if I need a new battery? ›

If you're having car battery trouble, it's time to head to your local AutoZone for free battery testing. If the battery is discharged but still technically sound, we can charge up the battery so you can be on your way. If the battery fails the test, we can help you find a suitable replacement.

What are the signs of a weak battery? ›

Signs you have a bad battery
  • The car is difficult to start.
  • Once started, the car doesn't hold a charge for very long.
  • Dim or flickering taillights and headlights.
  • Dim interior and dashboard lights.

Are Walmart car batteries good? ›

Are Walmart Brand Vehicle Batteries Good Quality? Additionally, EverStart batteries are priced well against the competition. With convenient locations, battery fitting, and an excellent return and warranty policy, Walmart batteries may be a perfect choice for many different types of car owners.

Which brand of car battery is best? ›

Top 10 car battery manufacturers in India
  1. SF Sonic. It's possible that many people have never heard of this name, but they can be using it without even realizing it. ...
  2. ACDELCO. ...
  3. Exide. ...
  4. AMARON. ...
  5. Tata. ...
  6. Liveguard. ...
  7. Southern Batteries. ...
  8. Okaya.
Dec 30, 2022

Why do car batteries only last 5 years? ›

Batteries gradually deteriorate until they can no longer provide enough power to start an engine. This wear time could take three to five years and a vehicle's usage pattern is one factor contributing to the rate at which a battery will age.

Is DieHard a good battery? ›

Big-name battery brands DieHard (Sears and Kmart), EverStart (Walmart), and Interstate all top our Ratings in some group sizes, but they are at or near the bottom in others. The greatest inconsistency comes from DieHard, which makes both the best and worst performers in two of six common sizes.

Will a battery with more CCA last longer? ›

Reserve Capacity requires higher quality cell materials which means cheaper batteries have less. A higher CCA will give you more raw starting power and a high RC will help keep a battery going longer when an alternator fails or something is left on such as the headlights.

Is it bad to have too many CCA on a battery? ›

In general, one can always exceed the CCA spec. You probably do it on a warm day, with a charged battery. Having more potential current available will not hurt the car's electrical system.

Are EverStart batteries good? ›

But is EverStart a good battery? In short, yes, it is. Made by Johnson Controls specifically for Walmart stores, EverStart is a reliable brand that is worth buying. Johnson Controls is one of the top battery makers in the country, so you can trust the quality of their batteries.

Should I replace my car battery before it dies? ›

You don't want to wait for your battery to completely die before replacing it, as you could easily become stranded with a non-starting engine. If you are noticing a slow start or weak start, it is likely your battery is dying.

How do I know if my car battery is dying? ›

  • Slow engine crank. ...
  • Clicking sound when turning the key. ...
  • Dim headlights. ...
  • Problems with electrical components. ...
  • Dashboard warning light illuminated. ...
  • The battery case is swollen.

Should I replace a 5 year old car battery? ›

Typically, the average car battery life is between three and five years. Pushing a battery longer than five years, even under perfect driving conditions, could cause your battery to fail without notice. For that reason, many manufacturers recommend a replacement schedule of five years.

Where is the cheapest place to buy a car battery? ›

Walmart is hands down the cheapest place to buy a car battery. They carry EverStart batteries, their in-store brand manufactured by Clarios, which also makes Optima batteries. In addition to EverStart, some Walmart stores carry other brands such as Bosch and Optima.

Does AutoZone charge your battery for free? ›

If your car battery is having trouble, AutoZone store associates can test or charge your battery for free.

Can I replace my car battery myself? ›

When the car doesn't start because the battery fails, your commute or travel plans are put on hold. You'll have no option but to call for assistance if your battery goes dead if you are on the road. But if you are at home and can get a lift to the auto parts store, you can replace a car battery yourself.

Is it normal to replace car battery every 2 years? ›

Whether your car works as new or its lights and other electronic devices are starting to show signs of age, there is no bad time to check your battery's condition. Changing your car's battery every 2-3 years will keep it running at its best and help you avoid embarrassing roadside or car park breakdowns.

Why does my car battery only last two years? ›

Why Your Car Battery Keeps Dying. While car batteries slowly die over time, high heat, brutal cold, excessive use of vehicle accessories (after-market equipment), and other mechanical issues can shorten the life of even the toughest battery.

How many miles does an alternator last? ›

The average lifespan for most alternators ranges from 80,000 and 150,000 miles. Usually, an alternator lasts about seven years.

Will a bigger battery hurt my alternator? ›

Plus, even if it physically fits in the compartment, an oversized battery could cause other issues. Manufacturers precisely match their alternators and batteries to the vehicle's power requirements. A mismatched battery/alternator combo could cause your alternator to overheat and shorten its life.

Is 700 cold cranking amps good? ›

For an average-size car (this includes compact SUVs to light trucks), a 400-600 CCA jump starter should be enough. A larger truck may need more amps, maybe around 1000 CCA. The amps needed to jump-start a car will be lower than the car battery CCA.

How many cold cranking amps do I need for a 4 cylinder engine? ›

Typically CCA numbers will be around 600 CCA for a 4-cylinder engine, 700 CCA for a 6-cylinder engine, over 750 CCA for an 8-cylinder engine and well over 800 CCA for an 8-cylinder diesel engine.

What is the best cranking amps? ›

What is Considered to Be a Good CCA Rating for a Battery? A small car can be started with a battery featuring as little as 150 CCAs. Larger vehicles such as pickup trucks and SUVs will require a battery with 400 to 500 CCAs. It's possible to find batteries with CCA ratings as high as 1150.

Does CCA matter in hot weather? ›

If you live in a warm or mild climate with high temperatures, excessive CCA can increase battery wear causing it to breakdown faster. Just stick with what's recommended, and focus on reserve capacity (RC) to extend your battery's life.

What type of car battery is best for cold weather? ›

What Type of Battery is Best for Cold Weather? An Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) battery is better for cold weather versus a standard flooded battery (or what we might classify as a “normal” car battery).

Can a battery be too powerful for a car? ›

As several people have stated, no, a larger battery will not harm your alternator (or other electrical components), provided that it is putting out the correct voltage.

Can putting the wrong battery damage your car? ›

If you use the wrong size battery, this could cause changes in the flow of electrical currents, resulting in power surges that can damage the onboard computers or other components.

How many amps does a car battery need to start? ›

Without any unnecessary details, a car will need anywhere from 400 to 600 amps for its battery to start. However, there are cases where smaller cars only take 150 amps to get their batteries going. Larger vehicles like trucks will require much more to start –up to 2,000, to be exact.

What to check before changing car battery? ›

How to Know When it is Time to Replace Your Car Battery
  1. 1) Your Battery Struggles to Combat Seasonal Challenges. ...
  2. 2) Your Car Has Been Sitting For Too Long. ...
  3. 3) Your Vehicle Struggles When Starting. ...
  4. 4) Your Battery Is Older and Triggers a Dashboard Light. ...
  5. Alternative Starting and Battery Problems.

How long do AutoZone car batteries last? ›

Most batteries last 3-4 years on average, although some do last longer. If you're having a problem, use the articles below to help identify the issue, select a replacement, and install your new battery.

How often do you need to replace your car battery? ›

Service experts estimate that you should replace your car battery every four to five years.

Why wont my car start with a brand new battery? ›

When you have a brand-new battery but still can't start the car, the alternator might be the issue. Cold and damp climates may increase wear on an alternator, causing it to fail. Flickering gauges and a burning rubber smell could indicate that the alternator overheated and requires replacement.

How much should it cost to replace a battery in a car? ›

Depending on power, size, and quality, prices for a replacement car battery range from about $45 to $250. Your local dealership, auto parts store or automotive service center can check your current battery or hook you up with a new car battery.

Is buying a car battery from AAA a good idea? ›

Good and Fine: Pretty much every brand-name, "high-tier" auto parts store battery. Some examples would include Die Hard, Interstate, Super Start (O'Reilly's brand), and yes, AAA. These are perfectly adequate for most cars, can usually tolerate being jump-started a time or two, and will have a decent warranty.

Does car battery brand really matter? ›

When replacing the batteries, it is best to use new and unused alkaline batteries. We recommend name brand batteries, Duracell or Energizer brands are always good choices. Store brands do not operate at the same level of reliability.

Are Costco interstate batteries the same as regular interstate batteries? ›

How does a Costco Interstate battery differ from an Interstate battery? Costco Interstate batteries offer the same reliable power as Interstate batteries, but a different warranty program supports them.

What numbers are important on a car battery? ›

It is always five digits and consists of two parts: A three-digit number that indicates the capacity of the battery based on the number 500 (for 12V batteries). Eg 560 means batteries with a capacity of 60 Ampere, while 600 means batteries with a capacity of 100 Ampere.

How do you determine battery type? ›

Check the Manufacturer's Label on the Battery. Usually, all the batteries have labels and other information about the battery provided by the manufacturer. Hence, if the label on the battery is still in good condition, you will be easily able to figure out the type of battery.

How long should a car battery last? ›

In general, your car will usually need a new battery after three to four years. Replacing your car battery is another part of routine maintenance. Getting your battery checked and inspected is standard for your service visits after three years, even if you haven't needed it replaced yet.

Do I need a more powerful battery for my car? ›

Is it better to get a car battery that has more than the minimum requirements for your particular car? It won't hurt your car to do so. Having a battery that has a higher CCA - Cold Cranking Amp - rating than stock for your car can help start your car more efficiently if you live and drive in cold conditions.

Can I use a battery with higher cranking amps? ›

Using a battery with a higher CCA rating than what is recommended by the manufacturer is completely safe and won't harm your vehicle.

What are the 3 different types of car batteries? ›

The four common types of batteries used in cars are lithium-ion batteries, lead acid batteries, SLI batteries and deep cycle batteries. The four common types of batteries used in cars are lithium-ion batteries, lead acid batteries, SLI batteries and deep cycle batteries.

At what percentage does a car battery need to be replaced? ›

Therefore, most mechanics will recommend that you get your battery replaced when it reaches 50% of its full capacity charge.

Can I put any battery in my car? ›

There is no “one-size-fits-all” battery suitable for every car. The battery type, physical size, terminal configuration, and cold cranking amps (CCA) or amp-hour (Ah) rating are all important factors that ensure the proper fit and function of a battery.

What does the number on a car battery mean? ›

First numbers represent the amp hours: 55 = 55AH, 165 = 165AH etc. Next the letter represents the terminal size: D = standard terminal, B = small terminal, E is for long batteries like an N100, F & G is for terminals down one end like N120, N150 and N200.

What is the standard car battery? ›

The standard automotive battery in today's vehicles is a 12-volt battery. Each battery has six cells, each with 2.1 volts at full charge.


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