7 Best Car Batteries That Will Never Leave You Stranded
Need a new battery for your car, but not sure which is best? Pay attention to estimated lifespan. Here are seven car batteries that will last.
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What to Know When Buying a Car Battery
Car batteries are an essential part of modern vehicles, but like everything else, they fail eventually. When the time comes for you to replace your car battery, understanding what to look for can help you make the best purchase possible.
Automotive batteries are categorized by size, shape and terminal orientation, so your first step is figuring out the battery type your vehicle needs. After that, your main concern is battery lifespan.
Batteries power the starter motor in your car, which allows it to start and run. The battery also runs the electrical system. Although it’s constantly being charged by the alternator while the vehicle is running, eventually it loses its ability to hold a charge and needs replacement. Some batteries last much longer before reaching this point than others. Features like cranking amps, cold cranking amps and reserve capacity are useful to know, but won’t tell you anything about lifespan.
Average battery lifespan is four to six years. Bad batteries usually quit sooner than this. I’ve had a particularly good battery the last 14 years. The difference comes down to owner management and internal battery construction. Repeatedly discharging a battery too far, or leaving it fully discharged for a long time, will shorten its lifespan considerably.
Another factor that impacts lifespan has to do with the way the battery is made. High-quality batteries are built to resist vibration better. This makes them less vulnerable to the internal plates jostling loose and getting damaged.
Sediment buildup between the plates is another danger. It can cause a battery to start discharging on its own through an internal short, drastically shortening its lifespan. Higher end batteries have a space to collect sediment as it forms, keeping it clear of the plates, which allows them to keep going much longer.
Here are seven of the best car batteries you can trust to last. I’m presenting a variety of sizes here, but always determine the right size and configuration for your vehicle’s battery before you start shopping.
Motorcraft Tested Tough Max Battery
I’ve used Motorcraft batteries like this one for years, and haven’t found any other brand as reliable and long-lasting. They’ve also got a three-year free replacement warranty, and a five-year prorated warranty.
Reviewers like this verified purchaser on O’Reilly Auto Parts site are impressed with the warranty and performance:
“This is the best battery available for my 2003 F-150 XLT with power everything. I’ve tried others but none were as good as the original. Which I think this was. 1090 cranking amps, 850 cold cranking amps and 150 minutes of reserve power. It fit perfectly in the spot for the battery. The others I’ve tried were smaller. 36 month free replacement and 100 month prorated replacement.”
ACDelco Advantage AGM Automotive Battery
This battery from ACDelco is known for an exceptionally good fit in vehicles for which it is designed. It also stands up better than most to cycles of draining and recharging. That’s because of AGM technology. AGM stands for “absorbed glass mat,” and refers to the sulfuric acid in the battery being contained in absorbent mats of fiberglass rather than sloshing around in cells. This improves battery performance.
Delphi MaxStart AGM Premium Automotive Battery
Another absorbed glass mat style option, this battery by Delphi is designed with compact inner components that make it exceptionally resistant to road vibration. Driving is a bumpy business, and bumps can disturb the plates and acid inside a car battery, shortening its lifespan. This battery aims to solve this problem, claiming to be 20 times more vibration resistant than a typical car battery.
Odyssey Automotive and LTV Battery
Lots of cranking power, particularly cold cranking amps (950), are what makes this battery by Odyssey stand out. Buyers such as this one on Amazon appreciate the explosive starting power this battery delivers:
“My truck also sits a lot, and these batteries handle that well as they are both a ‘sprinter’ (high burst cranking) and a ‘long distance runner’ (capable of deep discharging and re-charging). Most batteries are one or the other. These are expensive, but you get what you pay for. Super high quality. Mega cranking. Just check the weight on these bad boys – SIXTY POUNDS of pure lead.”
ACDelco Professional AGM Automotive Battery
“Five years in service without so much as a hiccup. Still plenty of cranking power and zero issues. I’m super pleased with this AGM battery purchase 5 years later. It’s been awesome, and shows no sign of giving up anytime soon.”
Optima Batteries RedTop Starting Battery
Lots of cranking power and great packaging are what buyers of this Optima battery appreciate most. It even comes with a special plastic holder to change the height for different vehicles. Buyers like this one on Amazon really appreciate the noticeable power upgrade this battery gives their starter motor:
“This battery far exceeds the standard factory battery, and I noticed it the second I started the car. The starter sounded like it was turbocharged in comparison. Now I just have to wait and see how well it performs over the next few years. I am pretty confident that it will be fine though. Even the way it was packaged told me a lot about the company. I would definitely recommend buying this!!”
XS Power AGM High Output Battery
This battery by XS Power is known for an exceptionally high cranking amps rating of 1070, and real-world performance to match. The cranking power makes an impression on buyers like this one on Amazon:
“Strong out of the box, dropped it into my truck to improve both starting performance as well as audio quality, and achieved both. The engine cranks and start[s] somewhere between 2x and 3x faster compared to the heavy-duty Interstate battery that it replaced.”