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What Battery for My Car: A Battery Guide

Different types of cars need different types of batteries. Choose the wrong battery for your car, and your car won’t run like it should. In fact, with the wrong battery, your car might not run at all.

Car batteries power almost everything, including certain things you depend on to keep you safe on the road, such as windscreen wipers and lights. You need to be able to depend on your car battery. So it’s vital that you choose the right one for your car.

This is your essential car battery guide. We’ll take a look at the various different types of car batteries that are available, which should help you choose the right one for you. But if you want to make absolutely sure, check your car manual, or give your mechanic a call.

Battery Power & Lifespan

As well as size and brand, there are two types of things you should look out for when choosing your car battery. These are:

  • Cold Cranking Amps (CCA) – The amount of power the battery provides to start your car.
  • Amp hours (Ah) – How long your battery should last before it runs out. Just bear in mind that any figure will be based on optimal conditions. The battery might not last so long in “normal” driving conditions. As a good rule of thumb, most batteries last for around three years before you need to charge or replace them.

What Type of Battery for My Car: Lead Acid, Calcium or Silver Calcium

Once you start shopping for a new car battery, you’ll find there are lots of different sizes, brands and types to choose from. Let’s take a quick look at some of the things you should look out for:

  • Lead acid batteries – These are the most common type of car battery, as they’re robust, reliable, and a lot more affordable than other types. They’ll often promise to deliver a certain number of starts before you’ll have to replace them, and many manufacturers offer their own guarantees.
  • Calcium batteries – These are more durable than lead acid batteries. They also tend to deliver more Cold Cranking Amps, making them more reliable when it comes to actually starting your car. Car batteries often struggle to get started in cold weather. So if you live in a cold part of the world and you want to be able to depend on your car battery on those frozen morning’s, a calcium battery might be your best choice.
  • Silver calcium batteries – Like calcium batteries, but even more reliable, powerful, and durable. But of course, all of this means that they also tend to be a lot more expensive.

If your car has start/stop technology, you’ll need a special sort of battery. They tend to be more expensive, but also more durable. There are two main battery types to consider:

  • Advanced Flooded – Look out for AFB, EFB or ECM batteries – they all offer superior performance and reliability for cars with start/stop engines.
  • Absorbent Glass Mat (AGM) – These are a lot bigger and heavier than AFB, EFB and ECM batteries. They’re not interchangeable. For a car to work with an AGM battery, it needs to have been specifically designed to do so. They’re usually pretty difficult to install, too. Often, as well as wiring the battery up, you’ll also have to reconfigure your car’s software. Long-story short: If your car needs an AGM battery, you probably shouldn’t attempt to install it yourself!

How to Know When to Change Your Car Battery

You should get into the habit of regularly checking your car battery. Don’t wait until it starts causing you problems. With regular checks, you’ll be able to address potential issues long before they give you any trouble.

Every time you book your car in for a service, ask them to check your battery. You can also test your battery yourself with a device called a Multimeter. This will let you know how much charge your battery has remaining.

Head here to read our complete guide to testing and replacing your car battery.

Don’t Leave Your Battery to Drain!

If your car battery dies when you’re out and about, you won’t be able to start your car. You’ll be left stranded, and your car simply won’t start again until you get a new battery. That’s why it’s always a good idea to consider taking out breakdown cover when you buy insurance as a new driver.