Need a new car battery? Here are tips
Published: Tuesday, January 23, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 22, 2007 at 11:47 p.m.
NEW YORK — There's nothing worse than finding a dead car battery on a cold winter morning. You can avoid that scenario by buying a reliable battery in the first place.
According to Consumer Reports' "Shop Smart" guide, the first step is knowing when to replace your battery. Most car batteries last, on average, about four or five years. But that can vary depending on where you live and what kind of car trips you take. An extremely hot climate can reduce your battery's life to three years. To get an exact date, have your mechanic test your current battery to see if it should be replaced.
When buying a new battery, you don't have to go with the one your mechanic or dealer wants to install. Consumer Reports recommends these batteries based on their performance:
· EverStart, $45 to $60 depending on size
NAPA 84 Select 8465, $80 (for many Ford, Lincoln or Mercury sedans, pickup trucks and SUVs)
AC Delco Professional 75-7YR, $90 (for many Daimler Chrysler midsize cars, GM subcompacts or compacts, or older GMs)
Interstate Mega-Tron Plus MTP-24F, $90 (for Acura CLs or TLs, newer Honda Accords, Honda Odysseys, Toyota Siennas, Nissan pickups)
NAPA Legend 7535, $60 (for recent Honda Accords and Subarus, Nissan and Toyota vehicles)
Once you've chosen your battery, check its "freshness" date. Either on the battery itself or on the wrapper, there is a date that tells you when the battery was shipped. The first number tells you the month the battery was manufactured, while the second number tells the year. Don't get a battery that is more than six months old.
You'll also want to check the battery's warranty. Look for another numerical code on the battery: A code such as 24/84 means that the battery will be replaced for free within 24 months of purchase. After that, there is a prorated warranty for 84 months.
If you're unsure or can't find the code, ask the retailer.
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