A car battery needs to be replaced often — at most, every four years. Considering that this is a regular automobile expense, it’s wise to learn about the different types of car batteries so you can buy the best one.
A cheap car battery will likely have a shorter lifespan than a well-made, more expensive one. Needing to replace the battery more often usually costs more in the long run than the initial cost of a first-rate battery. Simple math will confirm which is the best investment.
To find out more about these different battery types, check out the guide below.
The Function of a Car Battery
A car battery may only last four years, but this is an impressive lifespan for the amount of wear and tear it withstands. It provides power for many different parts of a car — everything from the headlights to the starter system.
Throughout its life, a car battery is charged anywhere from hundreds to thousands of times. It is charged by the alternator, a type of generator connected to the engine. As the engine runs, it turns a rotor in the alternator, providing an electric charge for the battery.
As a result, frequent short trips can kill the lifespan of a battery because the engine doesn’t run long enough to give it a proper charge. Additionally, to improve car battery life, never let the battery completely die.
The Different Types of Car Batteries
The different types of car batteries can generally be placed in two categories: wet cell batteries and valve-regulated lead-acid (VRLA) batteries. There is another category new to the market, the lithium-ion battery for electric cars.
Starting, Lights, and Ignition (SLI) Batteries
This simple battery type is a common lead-acid battery. These batteries are cheap and don’t store a charge very well. Once they die, they need to be immediately replaced.
Deep Cycle Batteries
Deep cycle batteries are a step up from SLI. They are a wet-cell type, like SLI, but they can hold a charge and die a few times before needing to be replaced. They aren’t very common for automobiles, but more so for marine vehicles and golf carts.
Enhanced Flooded Batteries (EFB)
An EFB battery is enhanced, as the name suggests. The best feature of these batteries is that they can charge more quickly. However, only certain types of cars can use this battery, so check your car manual before purchasing one.
Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) Batteries
This is a VRLA battery type that works seamlessly with Stop-Start technology, conserving energy when the car is fully stopped. It can handle the higher demands of modern cars while requiring less maintenance.
Lithium-ion batteries are less common, often only found in hybrid or electric vehicles. However, they last much longer than conventional batteries, anywhere from 5 to 10 years.
More Automotive Guides
These different types of car batteries have wildly different lifespans. Some may last for as few as 300 charges, while others may last 5,000. More charges mean a longer lifespan and fewer replacement costs, but this should also be weighed against the warranty of the specific brand.
For more useful automobile guides, take a moment to browse our page.