How to Find the Right Battery for Your Vehicle - dummies

How to Find the Right Battery for Your Vehicle

By Deanna Sclar

If you’ve decided to replace your car’s battery yourself, the first thing to do is to buy the right one. Unless your vehicle has a shield over the battery that’s difficult or dangerous to remove, it shouldn’t be hard to replace it yourself. If installation and disposal are included in the price of a new battery, there may be no advantage in undertaking the job.

Keep the following in mind:

  • Consult your owner’s manual to find the specifications for the battery designed for your vehicle.

  • Buy a brand name battery at a reputable dealership, auto parts store, or battery dealer.

  • Batteries are priced by their life expectancy. Most are rated for five years. Don’t risk getting stranded by a poor-quality battery that malfunctions, but if you don’t plan to keep your vehicle longer than five years, don’t spring for an expensive long-term battery that will vastly outlive your need for it.

  • Take the new battery out to your vehicle and compare it with the original one. It should be the same size, shape, and configuration. If it isn’t, march right back in and return it for the right one.

While you’re battery shopping, be sure you have all the stuff you need for the job. If you don’t have an adjustable wrench, buy or borrow one. You’ll also need a couple of clean lint-free rags, a pair of disposable latex gloves, some water and baking soda, and a battery brush. To protect your eyes from any deposits that can hurt them, invest in an inexpensive pair of safety goggles, too.