Car batteries wear out just like any other battery and usually last about 4 years in our area. When selecting a battery there are some things to consider.

There are different ways battery manufacturers rate their product: Cold Cranking Amps (CCA) or it may list Cranking Amps (CA).and Reserve Capacity.

Cold cranking amps is the power output used to start a cold engine. The cold cranking amps needed depends on your vehicle and your local weather. The colder an engine is, the more power it takes to crank the engine over with enough speed and reserve voltage to get it started. In cold weather, the oil is thicker and combined with the reduced chemical reaction in the battery that creates electrical energy is less efficient. A cold battery has less voltage and less amperage available than when its warm. That’s why if you suspect your battery is bad when the weather isn’t even that cold, you should definitely get it tested or just replace it if its about 4 years old.
If you live where it’s cold, you need a battery with more cold cranking amps than you do where it’s moderate or hot. You should always get at least as many cold cranking amps as the manufacturer recommends, but may want to upgrade at Smith Specialty Automotive if you live where it gets real cold.

An important note: Batteries may also list the Cranking Amps – CA – number, which some manufacturers use because it looks better. Cold Cranking Amps CCA one number that’s understood in the battery business so CCA is the number to use in your comparisons.

The most important thing to remember is heat is what really destroys the battery. The damage done in the hot summer months shows up when the weather turns cold. Some manufactures go to great lengths to keep the battery isolated from the heat of the engine compartment. Chrysler puts some of their batteries behind the front fender shield, some European cars put them in the trunk, some American models like Cadillac or Oldsmobile put them under the back seat. Of course, sometimes the interior of the car can get as hot as the engine compartment, so that may not help.

Reserve capacity is the number of minutes of reserve power the battery has at a given load. This is important because of the battery energy that’s used when the key is off by the security system, the remote start system, and the power used by the many vehicle computers require to maintain their memory. Reserves are also needed when you make short trips, not allowing enough time for the battery to recover the energy it used to start the engine while using the heater fan, defrosters and heated seats.

Always get at least the minimum CCA and Reserve Power recommended for your vehicle. Smith Specialty Automotive is always there to test your battery or advise you about battery options. And we are always happy to test your battery for free.

With the increasing costs of metals like lead, batteries are expensive so selecting the right brand of battery with a good warranty and a network of shops that stock replacements, gives peace of mind. We recommend Interstate Batteries because they are consistently one of the top rated brands and you can get one replaced anywhere in the U.S. When you buy a battery from Smith Specialty Automotive you know you’re getting a great product with a Nationwide Warranty. Just one less thing to think about.

Please call if we can help you in any way.

– Dave

Smith Specialty Automotive
310 N Lindenwood Drive
Olathe, KS 66062