Blog Car Care Advice Does It Matter What Battery I Put in My Car? (+How to Decide)
Car Care Advice

Does It Matter What Battery I Put in My Car? (+How to Decide)

Looking for a mechanic near you for maintenance or repair? AutoNation Mobile Service brings the shop to you. Get a free instant quote today.
Get a Quote

Will replacing your old car battery with the wrong one lead to a problem?
The short answer: Yes. 

Car batteries come in a variety of sizes, types, and fits. The wrong battery can impede your vehicle’s electrical systems and overall performance.  

Read on to learn why putting the right battery in your car is important and how to choose one.

This Article Contains:

Does It Matter What Battery I Put in My Car?

While most automotives run on a 12-volt battery, the batteries differ from one another based on a variety of other factors.

One such crucial factor to consider when replacing an old battery is getting the size right. The right car battery size can depend on the electrical demands of the car, the engine size, and the space in the battery compartment.

For instance, a large SUV or a pickup truck will need a larger battery than a light hatchback due to heavy-duty power demands. 

Then, the unit must fit perfectly into the battery tray under the hood. Moreover, the location and dimensions of the battery terminal must align with your car’s unique battery compartment design.

Finally, while your car design can accommodate different-sized auto batteries, it’s best to choose the one your car manufacturer recommends. 

Wondering what could go wrong? 
Let’s find out.

What Happens if I Use the Wrong Battery Size?

An incorrect battery size might cause the following issues:

1. Improper Fit

A battery that doesn’t match the length or width of the battery compartment cannot be secured in its position. An inadequately secured battery can scrape the metal hood and lead to short circuits or fires.

2. Incorrect Amperage

A larger battery than required will draw a higher amperage for operating the vehicle and overheat the alternator. On the other hand, a smaller battery won’t have enough power to run your electrical accessories or start the car in cold weather

3. Shorter Lifespan

An ill-sized battery might not get recharged properly by the alternator. This could lead to sulfation and early battery failure (reduced battery life).

Next, let’s look at tips to identify the correct battery size for your car.

How Do I Know the Right Battery to Buy?

You can refer to the group size chart created by Battery Council International (BCI) to determine the right-sized battery for your car. The chart categorizes different conventional batteries based on their dimensions and assigns them a size number called BCI group size.

You can find the Battery Council International group size specified by your manufacturer in the following places:

  1. Your car’s service manual
  2. The battery label on your old battery
  3. The BCI group size chart

What other factors besides car battery size matter while purchasing a replacement battery?

3 Things to Consider While Choosing a Car Battery

Consider the following points to make an informed decision:

1. Battery Type 

The different types of batteries include: 

Note: An electric vehicle usually features a deep cycle battery (like the lithium-ion battery) which is easier to recharge. A deep cycle battery is also suitable for marine and RV house batteries. On the other hand, a fuel-based vehicle typically uses a flooded or VRLA battery.

Car manufacturers choose the battery type for their different models based on the required cold cranking amps, the cumulative load of car accessories, and more. You must replace your dead battery with the correct battery type to avoid any operational issues down the line.

2. Minimum CCA

Cold Cranking Amps (CCA) is the rating that defines a car engine’s ability to crank the engine in extremely cold weather conditions. 

Along with the BCI group size, your car manual will specify the minimum cold cranking amp requirement for your automotive battery. Alternatively, you can also find the minimum CCA rating listed on the battery label.

If you replace your dead battery with one that falls below the recommended minimum cold cranking amp requirement, you might be unable to start your car in cold temperatures.

3. Battery Reserve Capacity

The battery reserve capacity indicates how long a new and fully charged battery will be able to power essential car accessories and keep your car running if the alternator fails. 

Make sure the new battery at least matches your original battery’s reserve capacity. You can check the battery reserve capacity on your battery label or car manual. 

If you’re still unsure of your car battery’s reserve capacity, you can contact a mechanic to help you out.

Need more information on car battery replacement?
We’ve got you covered.

3 FAQs about Auto Batteries

Here are answers to common questions about car batteries:

1. Would the Wrong Battery Size Harm the Alternator?

No. Although a dead or weak battery might damage your alternator, installing the wrong battery doesn’t negatively affect it.

2. Does It Matter if the Battery Is Too Small for My Car?

A replacement battery that is too small for your car won’t be adequately secured inside the battery tray. Additionally, its CCA rating might not be sufficient to crank your engine in freezing temperatures.

3. How Much Does a New Car Battery Cost? 

Depending on your car’s model and make, you can purchase a standard flooded lead acid battery for anywhere between $185 and $300. A premium AGM battery will cost you around $250 to $400.

The cost of a new car battery largely depends on factors such as:

Get Your Battery Replaced by AutoNation Mobile Service

Replacing a faulty automotive battery is crucial for smooth vehicle operation. However, the new battery must match the recommended specifications of your car manufacturer to avoid performance and battery life issues.

Need help installing a new car battery? 
Let the experts from AutoNation Mobile Service come to you!

We’re a mobile auto repair and maintenance company offering transparent pricing and a 12-month, 12,000-mile repair warranty on auto parts.

Contact us to get the right car battery installed right from your driveway.