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Guide to Battery Replacement

Car batteries wear out just like any other battery and need to be replaced. There are a few things drivers should know when looking for a new battery.

1) CCA- Cold cranking amps. This can be thought of as the power output used to start a cold engine. The number of cold cranking amps you need depends on your vehicle and where you live, specifically how cold it is where you live. The colder an engine is, the more power it takes to turn the engine over to get it started. The chemical reaction in the battery that creates electrical energy is less efficient in the cold. 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.

2) RC- Reserve capacity. This is a measurement of the number of minutes of reserve power the battery has at a given load. The number is more important these days because of parasitic drain. Parasitic drain is the battery energy that's used when the key is off. This can be the power drawn by the security system, the remote start system, even the power the computers require to maintain their memory. Reserves are also needed when you make very short trips because you're not driving long enough for the vehicle battery to recover the energy it used to start the engine.

3) Battery Life. This is measured by repeatedly discharging and recharging each battery about 3,000 times at a test temperature of about 167° F for 15 weeks or until performance drops to unacceptable levels. This stimulated the hot conditions a battery can face during the summer heat. Frequent high temperatures are tough on batteries. It increases plate corrosion and vaporizes the electrolytes needed for current more quickly. Long life is important if you make short trips that do not allow much time for recharging. The higher the score, the longer the battery will be reliable.

If you need more from your vehicle battery, a high capacity battery may be called for. Call your friendly and knowledgeable pros at Old Town Auto Service about options.

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Revised from content contributed by NAPA Service Assistant