Car batteries are needed to start the engine and they don’t last forever. In fact you can expect to replace the battery at least one or twice in the vehicle’s lifetime. The main purpose of an automotive battery is to feed the starter. Once the vehicle is running, power is supplied by the alternator. Needless to say, it’s an important component of every vehicle.
Unfortunately most people wait till their battery dies before they buy a new one. This is the worst case scenario and if you have no jumper cables, you’re going to be stuck on the side of the road waiting for a tow.
The Best Car Battery
So whether you drive a mini-van or a sports car. Let’s take a look at some of the best batteries available.
1. Best for Toyota Prius
ACDelco Advantage AGM Battery
This car battery comes with Absorbed Glass Mat technology. Spillage is non-existent and rest assured, there will be no leaks. Most importantly, maintenance is not needed.
This ACDelco battery is characterized by recombinant technology. This extends the life of the battery up to three-times the life cycle of traditional car batteries.
The calcium positive and negative, full-frame power path grids offer greater cranking amps as well as smaller self-discharge rates for off-season storage.
The battery is designed to ensure safe use and durability. Its terminals are protected against acid damage and drying out.
It is important to note that parasitic drains in a vehicle can drain a battery in two to four weeks. Should should be started at least once a vehicle and idled for five minutes to ensure a reasonable charged state.
- Pros: No maintenance. Spill-proof. Noted to have a lifespan 3 times longer than traditional batteries. Reasonably priced.
- Cons: Only used for the Toyota Prius.
2. Best on a Budget
Mighty Max Battery
The Might Max lives up to its name — it truly is a “mighty” battery. With Absorbent Glass Mat (AGM) technology and valve-regulated design, it can be used in any temperature and is easy to install. In fact, it can be mounted in any position.
It boasts a modern calcium-alloy grid that delivers superior performance in both float and cyclic applications. Also, The Mighty Max is characterized as a maintenance-free, rechargeable battery.
The battery is spill and shockproof, with high discharge rate, longevity, and deep discharge recovery.
The Mighty Max is a 12v SLA battery that will fit almost any car. It’s a versatile battery that works well with cars, tools, boats and robotic machinery as well.
It is backed by a 30-day refund policy and a somewhat lackluster 1-year warranty.
- Pros: Very affordable. Easy to install. Lightweight and compact design. 30 day refund policy.
- Cons: Wish the warranty was on par with most other battery manufacturers. A 1 year warranty is lackluster.
3. Best in Reliability
Bosch S6 Flat Plate AGM Battery
Bosch is a reputable brand in the automobile industry. Just like their other offerings, you get what you’d expect — a top-notch battery.
The S6 AGM is a high-performance battery designed for a demanding customer. It uses the latest Energy Life technology to achieve double the life expectancy of a traditional battery.
With the S6 AGM, you get a maintenance-free and spill-proof battery. The battery is designed to resist corrosion for longer periods of time. It offers state-of-the-art technology for start/stop applications.
The battery is very reliable and the superior performance justifies the higher price. It is characterized by excellent cycling endurance and high energy capacity. This Bosch battery works well in any climate.
- Pros: 4-year free replacement warranty. Free roadside assistance program. Performs well in extreme weather.
- Cons: Expensive.
4. Best for Light Truck and Vans
Odyssey Light Truck and Van Battery
With this Odyssey battery, you get faster recharging capabilities with flexible mounting and vibration resistance. This battery is advertised as maintenance-free. It can handle extreme weather and comes with a 4-year warranty and 3–10 years of service.
The Odyssey battery is designed to provide both enormous cranking power and a deep-cycle reserve power. While most batteries use lead alloy, this battery has been designed with plates made of pure virgin lead. Also, it can pack in more plates. With more plates comes double the power and triple the longevity.
Some of its best features are massive starting power, alongside rapid recovery and deep cycling capability. One thing is certain, this battery doesn’t compromise on its power. As a matter of fact, Odyssey batteries can provide engine cranking pulses in excess of 2250 amps for 5 seconds.
This battery is a good choice for a range of different applications, including automotive/LTV, commercial, and power-sports.
- Pros: Powerful performance. Reliable and durable. 4-year warranty.
- Cons: Most expensive battery on this list.
5. Best for Off-Road Use
DieHard Advanced Gold AGM Battery
DieHard Advanced Gold Battery is perfectly suited for recreational needs. It is truly the best option for off-road vehicles, watercraft, performance cars, and tuner cars that experience higher vibration when driven.
This battery doesn’t require maintenance; it is spill-proof and easy to mount. The design is smart and ensures that there aren’t leaks.
DieHard’s technology delivers superior results in higher temperatures. With no need for maintenance and a longer life cycle. It has a huge 850 CCA rating and therefore, it won’t be affected by cold weather.
It is a perfect match for many vehicles like BMW, Audi, Jaguar, Mercedes, Porsche and others.
- Pros: An upgraded electrolyte suspension system. Mountable in any position. Ideal for recreational needs. Performs well in extreme weather conditions.
- Cons: A few customers note receiving dead batteries.
What to Look for in a Car Battery
Does the Battery Fit
First and foremost, we need a battery that fits. Every vehicle is designed differently and requires a car battery of a specific size. We need to check the height, the width and the length of the battery. Also, we need to check the terminals. Every aspect needs to fit perfectly or it won’t work.
Additionally, the car battery we choose must work in our specific climate. Some batteries work fine in harsh weather, while others struggle.
You should also consider your driving habits. If you constantly stop and start the engine, you should get a more powerful battery. In this case, a lower-end battery will not suffice.
Before you buy a battery, you need to look at the car’s manual to see its specific requirements. If you have any doubts on your abilities, you should seek a professionals help. In most cases if you buy a battery through a mechanic, they will install it for free.
When buying a battery, always look at the warranty. At some point your battery will stop working. Batteries with a warranty of 3-5 years are solid. Listed above the smallest warranty was the Mighty Max at 1 year. It is also the cheapest upfront, so there are definitely trade-offs.
Don’t forget to compare warranties. As a general rule of thumb, batteries with greater warranty/replacement periods are going to be better.
Some batteries still require basic maintenance like adding water every now and then. These days, the majority of batteries are maintenance-free. All the options listed above are advertised as “maintenance-free.” For convenience sake it’s usually best to go with a maintenance-free option. These batteries are sealed for consumer protection as the liquid doesn’t need replacement.
Here is an example of how to add water to a car battery:
Cold Cranking Amps
Cold Cranking Amps (CCA) is the rating that defines the battery’s power to turn over the engine. CCA represents the battery’s ability to start an engine at 0 degrees Fahrenheit. To put it simply, it determines how much power you need to start your car on a cold day. That’s why a battery’s CCA rating is really important in colder climates.
On the other hand, in a warmer climate, CCA is not of the same importance. Starting a car on a warm, sunny day is exponentially easier than on a cold, winter morning. Nevertheless, a battery with a higher CCA rating in any circumstance is a more reliable option and will last longer.
The car battery Reserve Capacity (RC) is a major measurement. It shows you how your battery performs in “tricky” situations.
For instance, if you accidentally leave the lights on, you will need extra power to start the engine. A higher RC rating means you will have sufficient power in reserve. You never know when you might need extra power.
Importantly, RC is measured in a warmer climate. So if you use your vehicle in colder weather, you need to get a battery with a higher RC rating.
As we said before, you can expect to replace the battery at least once or twice in the lifetime of your vehicle. Don’t be like everyone else and use the battery until it dies.
Check the age of the battery and pay attention to symptoms like slow engine crank and little reserve capacity.
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