When your car’s battery has been given a jump way too many times, it’s time to start looking for a new one. Just taking a look at the selection at a big-box store, let alone a designated battery store, is enough to make anyone blink twice. You’ll probably notice that most of them are 12-volts, just like the one you’re replacing.
They must be interchangeable, right?
Not so fast. Though they are 12-volts, that doesn’t mean that they will work in your car or maybe they’ll work in your car during optimal conditions but will fail when the weather gets cold. There are a few considerations to take into mind before you grab any battery off the shelf.
Some are starting batteries, some are deep-cycle. Some are flooded, some are Gel or AGM. Some are lead-acid, and some are lithium or something else.
You can use a different battery in your car as long as it fits securely in the battery box, has the same voltage, and meets or exceeds the manufacturer’s recommended cold-cranking amps (CCA). However, using the manufacturer’s recommended Battery Group Size is the easiest and safest replacement choice.
Now, let’s briefly cover what will happen if you use the wrong size battery in your car, what battery group size is, whether you can use a deep-cycle battery, and more!
What Happens if You Put the Wrong Group Size Battery in your Car?
If you replace your car’s battery with anything other than the type recommended by your car’s manufacturer, you run the risk of damaging the electronics, the starter, or not being able to start it at all. You also have the chance of it starting as usual. There are a few factors to keep in mind.
The first things to consider before anything else is whether or not the battery will safely and securely fit inside of your car’s battery box. If it’s physically too large, then forget about worrying if it will start your car. You can’t drive around with it anyway if it can’t be secured.
If it’s smaller than your current battery as far as physical dimensions, you still have the same problem of making sure it can be secured properly.
You also have to make sure that the different battery isn’t so tall that the hood will make contact with the battery posts when you close it. This could result in a catastrophic short of your battery and lead to fire or explosion.
Assuming you can safely fit and secure a different battery, you must next consider the voltage. If your car’s electronics run on a 12-volt system, then mounting a 24-volt battery is going to fry your electronics and starter. Stick with the rated voltage of your bad battery.
The next major consideration is the CCA rating, or “cold-cranking amps”. Without getting technical, this is your battery’s ability to deliver a surge of current for start-up purposes when the weather is cold or freezing. Cold weather slows down the chemistry of the battery and its ability to release stored chemical energy as electrical energy. It is imperative to have a battery that can deliver enough CCA when the weather turns cold so that you do not burn out your starter.
If the CCA of your new battery is the same or greater than your old one, then you have nothing to worry about.
Excess CCA isn’t going to fry your electronics or starter, as they will only draw what they need at any given moment. The excess CCA will, however, allow them to draw from the battery more easily when the weather gets colder and the flow of electricity from the battery becomes more sluggish.
If your CCA is lower, you might still be able to start your car in warm weather, but the battery won’t be able to handle the required amperage for starting during colder times. This will essentially cause the starter to run “lean” on electricity and this will significantly reduce its lifespan as it is overstressed.
Why Battery Group Size Matters
The group size of a battery indicates its physical dimensions (length, width, and height) as well as terminal type and location. Group size designations are typically given a numeric or alphanumeric code such as “51R” and specifications can be found on BCI charts (Battery Council International).
Since group size indicated the physical size, terminal type, and terminal location, we have some limitations with just using the group size alone when selecting a new battery.
Group size ratings will not indicate what your battery’s purpose is (starting vs. deep-cycle), the battery type (Gel, AGM, flooded), or the chemistry (lead-acid, lithium, NiCd, etc.).
So, if you need a new battery for your car and the manual says to get a Group Size 96R battery, that is only telling you the physical dimensions. If you go to Walmart, you might find that battery selling for $100 and is a flooded-lead-acid battery that is a starter battery. However, if you go to a specialty battery store, you might find an AGM 96R battery priced at $275 and it is a dual-purpose starter/deep-cycle.
When selecting a new car battery, you’ll generally want a starter or SLI battery (starting, lighting, ignition), the same group size as recommended by the manufacturer, and the same or more CCA.
Can I Put a Smaller Battery in My Car?
Placing a battery with smaller dimensions than the battery box can be done as long as you can still secure it safely and tightly in place. However, you’ll want to make sure that the voltage is the same and that CCA’s are equal to or exceed the manufacturer’s recommended number.
Can I use a Car Battery with Fewer CCA’s?
If you use a car battery with fewer CCA’s than the recommended number from the car’s manufacturer, you run the risk of burning up the starter prematurely.
There’s a good chance that if the CCA’s are in the ballpark of the recommended number that the car will start — especially in warm weather.
When the weather starts to approach freezing and go beyond it, not being able to deliver the appropriate CCA’s (again — cold-cranking amps) will cause your starter to starve for electricity and burn itself out.
Can I use a Car Battery with a Higher CCA Rating?
Using a car battery with a CCA rating higher than the manufacturer’s recommendation is safe and won’t harm your starter. Just because a battery can provide more CCA’s doesn’t mean that those CCA’s will all be delivered to your car’s starter when you turn the key.
Having more CCA’s is harmless, but having fewer than the recommended amount can kill your starter (especially in cold weather).
Can I Put a Deep-Cycle Marine Battery in My Car?
Marine batteries come in two forms — Deep-Cycle and Dual-Purpose — and both serve different purposes.
The deep-cycle is designed for low amperage applications over a long period of time. Starting a car is not a low amperage application and can stress a deep-cycle battery beyond what it’s capable of doing. I do not recommend using a true deep-cycle battery for ignition purposes.
A dual-purpose battery is a hybrid between a starting battery (like your car’s) and a deep-cycle battery. If I had to use a marine battery in my car, it would be a dual-purpose battery.
Still, the battery is a hybrid which means it doesn’t excel at starting or deep-cycling. It is just a happy medium.
I have never done such a thing myself, but I do know of a gentleman who used two marine dual-purpose batteries in his large truck and also had a battery heating blanket for the winter months to assist the battery in releasing what amperage it had for starting purposes.
Remember, marine batteries were designed and engineered to be used when temperatures are cold or warm, but not freezing. If the water is frozen, they didn’t expect you to be using your boat’s engine.
Can I replace my car battery with any battery? ›
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.Can I use a car battery in my house? ›
It is possible to power your home using a car battery if you lose power, but you'll need something called a power inverter first before you can just hook up your battery. The reason? Most household appliances use AC (alternating current), and your car's battery is DC (direct current).What happens if you replace a car battery with wrong battery? ›
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.Does it matter what brand of battery you put in your 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.Will a bigger battery hurt my alternator? ›
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.Do you have to reprogram a car battery? ›
Under normal circumstances, you don't need to do anything else other than keep driving the car after resetting the computer. The ECU will eventually relearn its ideal settings and reprogram itself with use.How can I use my old car battery as a power source? ›
- Plug the surge protector into the outlet of the power inverter.
- Turn the power inverter on. The internal components will charge up.
- Turn the surge protector switch on, and you can now plug electronics into the surge protector.
The difference between an Inverter battery & car battery is one of capacity among other things. A car battery has a capacity of 50Ah on an average whereas an Inverter battery is rated as 120 Ah.How many car batteries would it take to power a home? ›
Number of Batteries
A battery bank designed to power an average American household for three days would need to supply 90 kilowatt-hours of energy. The battery from the previous example can supply 2.4 kilowatt-hours, so this system would need 38 batteries.
A: After a battery is replaced in some vehicles, the battery charging system monitoring system will need to be reset. This can be performed with a scan tool or dedicated battery reset tool.
When replacing a car battery do you go negative first? ›
“Positive first, then negative. When disconnecting the cables from the old battery, disconnect the negative first, then the positive. Connect the new battery in the reverse order, positive then negative.”How long can a car sit with a new battery? ›
Typically, your car can sit about four weeks to two months without driving before the battery dies. The reason your car can sit only for so long before it dies is the fact that your car battery is in use even when you're not behind the wheel.Do I have to use same brand of battery? ›
Frequently Asked Questions About Batteries
Mixing of cells can result in battery leakage and sub-optimal device performance. For best results, replace all batteries with the same brand, chemistry, voltage, and size when the device performance becomes unsatisfactory.
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While high quality car batteries will use rubber between the plates, many of the cheaper batteries consist of PVC separators, which don't last as long. Cheaper batteries can also consist of lower quality components as compared to higher quality batteries, such as subpar cables and wires.How long can a car run without an alternator full battery? ›
You may get up to two hours—or as little as five minutes—if you need to run the car on battery alone. Without the alternator, your car will rely purely on battery power. In this situation, you may be able to drive up to two hours or as little as five minutes, depending on how charged your battery is.Is a higher Ah car battery better? ›
The more capacity (Ah) a battery has, the more electricity it can provide.What happens if you don't calibrate battery? ›
Without calibration, the battery percentage reading will be incorrect, and your device may behave oddly—shutting down suddenly even though the new battery “reads” half charged, or working for hours when the battery reads nearly dead.Do you really need a memory saver when changing car battery? ›
“They are not effective or worth the risk. I-CAR also teaches not to use them.” Jeff Peevy, I-CAR's director of field operations, concurred. “A memory saver can complete circuits that removing the battery opens in order to protect the system, and so a memory saver could put systems at risk,” Peevy said.Do you need radio code when changing battery? ›
Changing your car battery
However unless you put some thought into preparing for changing the battery you can find yourself unable to use your radio. This is because some vehicle manufacturers - as an anti-theft measure - disable the radio if the power is cut until a special security code is entered.
Can I use a car battery as a power bank? ›
Fortunately, you can use a car battery as a power bank to charge your devices. To use a car battery to generate electricity, you will need: A power inverter designed for a 12-volt battery (with clamps and a plug-in connector)What happens to old electric car batteries when they are used up? ›
Yes, when EV batteries reach the end of their working life, they will be recycled.How long does a car battery last as a power source? ›
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.Can you use normal car battery for inverter? ›
If you are using a small inverter with an automotive battery this will work sufficiently. Most car batteries will supply enough power for 30 to 60 minutes before they need to be recharged. You can recharge your battery by either turning on the engine, using a gas generator, or hooking it up to an AC charger.Can an inverter damage a car battery? ›
There are plenty of rumours floating around on the internet that will tell you that inverters are dangerous and you should not use them, or that they quickly run down your car battery. Yet, when used properly, you can rest assured that inverters are perfectly safe.How long will a 12V battery last with a 2000 watt inverter? ›
If you max out the inverter at 2000 watts, you are pulling 2000 watts /12 volts = 166.6 DC amps per hour. If you use a 200-amp 12-volt battery, you would divide the 200-amp battery / 166.6 amps = 1.2 hours of run time.Does charging a car battery at home use a lot of electricity? ›
Electric vehicles can be charged at power draws comparable to various household appliances. Most electric vehicles charging at home on a 240-volt level 2 charger will draw about 7,200 watts or less.How many batteries do I need for a 3000 watt solar system? ›
Lead-acid battery for 3kw solar system, in the statement of 24V, 3000W/24V=125A, if it needs to stay in the best condition, and run at full load for a long time, we suggest you to use 125A*10H=1250AH, 13 batteries in parallel. If itis 48V, it needs 14 batteries, 7 in parallel and 2 in series.How big of a battery bank do you need to run a house? ›
A 400 amp-hour 6 volt battery can provide around 2.4 kilowatt hours of power. A three-day battery bank planned to provide 90 kilowatt-hours of electricity to an average American household. The previous example battery can provide2,4 kilowatt hours, while 38 batteries would be needed.Does disconnecting a car battery reset the code? ›
Disconnecting the battery will not clear any codes in memory of the computer for stored OBD2 codes. The only way to clear the codes is to use a scanner and use the code clear function.
Which battery terminal do you take off first? ›
“Positive first, then negative. When disconnecting the cables from the old battery, disconnect the negative first, then the positive. Connect the new battery in the reverse order, positive then negative.”Which terminal of battery should be removed first? ›
First, unbolt the negative battery cable and disconnect it by lifting it free. It might take some wiggling and twisting to pull it off. Be sure never to let the wrench touch both the negative and positive terminals at the same time.Do you hook up red or black first? ›
Attach the red jumper cables first. Start by clamping one red cable to the positive side of the battery that won't start. Then attach the other red clamp to the positive side of the working battery. Next, clamp one black cable to the negative side of the working battery.What temperature kills a car battery? ›
While the car is running, the alternator recharges the battery so it can start your car the next time. But car batteries lose power when temperatures drop below 32°F (0°C), and some can even lose half their power when the temperature drops below 0°F (-18°C).How long should I let a car run after jumping it? ›
Unhook the clamps in the reverse order of how you put them on. Be sure to drive your car for about 30 minutes before stopping again so the battery can continue to charge. Otherwise, you might need another jump start.Can you get 10 years out of a 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.What happens when you mix new and old batteries? ›
If such different batteries are used the difference in electrical capacity will grow during usage which could eventually cause one of the batteries to over discharge, leak and even explode. Never use old and new batteries together, as this may cause leakage or worse.Can a car alternator charge a deep cycle battery? ›
Most vehicle alternators will never properly and fully charge up a Deep Cycle battery so invest in a good charger or a solar arrangement with a charge controller/regulator with at least a three stage charging control (many chargers are now 6 or 7 stage affairs).Does it matter the brand of car battery? ›
Starting Power. As the temperatures drops, your engine needs extra battery power to start up. A basic, generic replacement battery usually won't give you enough power for this, but a name-brand battery usually will.Do I really need an AGM battery? ›
Today, 91% of the cars on the road don't need an AGM battery. However, AGM batteries won't stay in the fringes for long. Proud owners of these advanced batteries are on American highways. They just don't know it until they drive into a shop.
How much should I pay for a good 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.
- Optima YellowTop Deep Cycle Battery.
- Delphi MaxStart AGM Premium Automotive Battery.
- Odyssey Performance Series 48-720.
- ACDelco M24AGM.
If your battery is over 4 years old we'd advise replacing it with a new one. You may find you're able to temporarily recharge a battery this old, however it's likely to lose its charge again very soon. Older batteries do deteriorate over time and naturally lose their ability to hold a charge.When you buy a new car battery What do you do with the old one? ›
When the old battery is returned to the store, the core charge is refunded. Even if you're not purchasing a new battery, you can still drop off your old one at most Advance Auto Parts stores where you'll receive money back in the form of store credit. Time to look in your garage and recycle those old batteries!Are all car batteries basically the same? ›
Are all car batteries the same? In brief, they are not. There are some similarities between them, but there are enough differences that you often cannot use the same battery across multiple vehicle platforms. Indeed, battery tray sizes vary, and so do the types of 12-volt batteries that go into different vehicles.Can you replace a non replaceable battery? ›
Are non-removable batteries replaceable? The term 'non-removable' battery is technically misleading, as these built-in batteries can actually be removed if necessary, but usually only by an official manufacturer with the right tools.Do you have to reset car computer after replacing battery? ›
Most ECUs are self-learning and should reset themselves after learning that a new battery has been installed. If you're stuck, go to a mechanic for diagnostic assistance.How long should I let my car run after installing a new battery? ›
After replacing a car battery, you should run the car for about 30 minutes to allow the alternator to fully charge the battery. Usually, a battery replacement also causes the vehicle's computer and radio to reset.What terminal do you change first on a car battery? ›
It's important to disconnect the negative side of the battery first, otherwise you can cause an electrical short if the positive is removed first.
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.
Which car battery is the longest lasting? ›
- Optima YellowTop Deep Cycle Battery.
- Delphi MaxStart AGM Premium Automotive Battery.
- Odyssey Performance Series 48-720.
- ACDelco M24AGM.
- Difficulty Starting the Ignition/Turning Over the Engine. ...
- Dashboard Lights & Lighting Issues. ...
- Electrical Malfunctions. ...
- Poor Performance in Cold Weather. ...
- Strange Odor.
There is a key benefit of swapping and that is maintaining battery health. Swapped batteries could potentially remain healthier longer, reduce cost of ownership, and reduce pollution.Can I replace my car battery with lithium? ›
Absolutely, in most all circumstances our particular Lithium Chemistry works as a direct replacement for Lead/Acid Batteries without any changes needed to the Vehicle's System Settings.