How To Choose the Right Vehicle Battery

All those digital displays, backup cameras and traffic sensors in your vehicle heap quite a burden on older technology--the traditional vehicle battery.

Batteries require replacement multiple times during a vehicle’s lifespan. The goal is to make this as rare an occurrence as possible. 

“The battery’s an investment. You want to get it installed at a place you trust with a good reputation that uses quality products,” said Bogi Lateiner, a master mechanic and president of Arizona-based 180 Degrees Automotive repair shop. “Today’s cars have more control modules than the first space shuttle. It’s incredible what they’re asked to do.”

Below, Lateiner discusses battery basics and how your service advisor can help you find the right match:

  • Nature vs. nurture: Climate plays a substantial role in battery life. Batteries in Arizona may only last around 3 years because of the constant heat, while that same exact device may last 4 or 5 years somewhere with less severe weather, Lateiner said.
  • Don’t neglect it: Out of sight should not mean out of mind. Have the battery tested at least once a year at a dealership or repair shop. Ask if they’re willing to clean the posts and terminals if there’s signs of corrosion. You can clean the corrosion yourself at home with a damp cloth, just be sure to wear gloves, long sleeves and potentially a breathing mask. You are dealing with loose particles flaking off a block of acid, after all.
  • Pay attention to vehicle feedback: Automated battery monitors help drivers stay informed, but they are not a catch-all. The sheer amount of computerized amenities creates more potential for malfunctions. Shops may include a battery test during a routine inspection. Either way, have a test done every year to gauge its remaining lifespan.
  • Trust your people: A trustworthy service advisor becomes especially helpful when buying a new battery. They’ll recommend a quality product and install it. The battery will fit, function properly and you’ll be back on the road.
  • Quality is always worth paying for: “A battery is an investment, don’t chince out.”