When you’re cruising on the road and your car battery breaks down, it can be a real headache. You may not know what to do or where to go for help. That is why it's important to know which car battery type suits your vehicle because each battery is designed for a specific type of car.
It doesn’t hurt to get a better understanding of how your car battery works. In this article, we will explore the different car battery types and provide a guide to help you find solutions regarding some battery-related issues.
What are all of the available battery types for cars?
Each type of battery has its benefits and drawbacks. It’s important to know which type of battery your car uses so that you can be prepared if it dies. Having some knowledge about the different car battery types is one of the essential parts of being prepared for a car emergency (it’s best to avoid needing to jump start in the middle of the highway).
Let's go over the 8 common types of car batteries (scroll down to the battery type most relevant to your car):
1. Flooded Lead Acid Battery (Wet Cell Battery)
A flooded lead acid battery (Wet Cell) is the oldest car battery type where the electrolyte (the liquid in the battery) is stored in the same chamber as the plates and terminals and is popular for use in cars (and boats too, go figure).
It is typically composed of six 2-volt cells, for a total voltage of 12 volts. The plates are usually composed of lead dioxide and sponge lead, while the electrolyte is made of sulfuric acid. The battery is filled with distilled water to prevent corrosion of the plates.
The maximum discharge current should not exceed the amp rating listed on the battery label. The maximum charging voltage should not exceed 14.4 volts, and the minimum voltage should be at least 12 volts. Wet cells should never be discharged below 10.5 volts.
2. Silver Calcium Battery
This car battery type, also known as Hybrid or Antimonial batteries, was designed as an improvement over batteries that used conventional lead-acid. The silver calcium battery is usually sealed and maintenance-free. It’s also more resistant to corrosion and more resilient at high temperatures.
However, the silver calcium battery usually needs a higher charging voltage and can deteriorate quickly from sulfation.
3. Enhanced Flooded Battery (EFB)
The EFB battery is a sealed battery that uses a liquid electrolyte solution. It has been designed to have a longer cycling endurance than traditional flooded batteries and can provide up to 85,000 engine cranks.
This makes it a good choice for cars with simple start-stop technology.
4. Gel Cell Battery (Dry Cell Battery)
Gel cell batteries (or dry cell batteries) were originally designed as a more reliable and safer alternative to flooded lead acid batteries. The gel battery has a thicker electrolyte, which makes it less likely to spill if it's accidentally knocked over.
It also has a longer cycle life than a flooded battery and is more resistant to vibration and shock. However, newer AGM batteries have largely replaced the gel battery in most applications.
5. Absorbent Glass Mat Battery (AGM)
You may want to consider an absorbent glass mat battery, or AGM battery if you need one that can handle the high demands of a modern vehicle. This type of battery is designed to support higher electrical energy demands and it performs better than its flooded and gel cell counterparts.
AGM batteries can charge up to 5 times faster and withstand 3 times more cycle life than a conventional battery. They are ideal for vehicles with automatic start-stop features and with braking energy recovery. However, they can cost you 40-100% percent more than conventional batteries.
6. Deep Cycle Battery
The deep cycle battery is a type of lead acid battery that can be used for a variety of purposes. It has a thicker battery plate in its cells, and a denser active material, which allows it to provide sustained power over an extended period. This makes it perfect for recreational vehicles, golf carts, and marine vehicles. It's often called a marine battery because of its suitability for these applications.
7. Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) Battery
Lithium-ion batteries (the standard for EV batteries) also have many advantages over other types of batteries. The first example is that they can store more energy making them the perfect for electric and hybrid cars. They also charge much faster than traditional batteries, which is essential for those of us who rely on electric power.
Most manufacturers offer a 5 to 8-year warranty on lithium-ion batteries, but they can last up to 20 years with proper care. So if you’re looking for a long-lasting battery that’s good for the environment, lithium-ion is the way to go!
8. Nickel Metal Hydride Battery
Nickel-metal hydride batteries are often used in hybrid electric vehicles because of their longer life cycle than other types of rechargeable batteries. However, they have a high self-discharge rate, which can make them expensive to use over time.
They also generate a lot of heat when used at high temperatures, making them less effective for electric vehicles than other types of batteries.
Can I switch my car battery and is that a good idea?
In most cases it is possible to change to a different battery technology, but we don’t recommend doing so. Always consult a mechanic before making any changes. For instance, if your car has a start-stop system or other electrical components, swapping out the battery type may not be viable.
So, is it worth considering a battery switch? In most cases, the answer is no. Newer battery technologies offer many benefits over older ones, but a professional will explain the pros and cons.
If you’re thinking of making the switch to a new car battery type, be sure to do your research first. Talk to mechanics and read reviews from other drivers to learn more about the pros and cons of different battery technologies. Then, you can make an informed decision about which type of battery is best for your needs.
How often do I need to change my car battery?
This is a question that many drivers ask themselves at one time or another. The answer, unfortunately, is not always easy to determine. Battery life depends on a variety of factors including the age and make of your vehicle, how often you’re on the road, and the climate where you live. In most cases, however, it’s safe to say that most drivers will need to replace their car battery every 3-5 years.
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Now that you understand the different car battery types available on the market, it's important to consider which one is best for your vehicle (it’s most likely the one you already have in your car).
Each type of car battery has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it's important to do your own research before making a final purchase. If you already have a car, don’t forget to read your owner’s manual to get more information on the battery that’s inside your vehicle!
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