How can you tell if you need a new battery for your vehicle? There are different battery types for different cars, trucks, crossovers and SUVs. How they connect and where they are located is just as important as knowing which one you will need.
Make sure you take the plastic caps off the top of the posts, clean them with a special battery terminal cleaner brush as well as the battery connectors and add battery grease to them before connecting it to the car.
If you need to know how old a battery is… sometimes there is a round sticker on the battery somewhere It would read something like 6/18 which is when it was made not when it was installed in the vehicle. They can also be different colors and even black with white lettering. Sometimes holes are punched out on the calendar located on the top of the battery. The year would and month would be punched out. It can be hard to see…
Top Mounted Posts
The top mounted post battery is easy. The posts for this particular battery that connect to the car are on the top of the battery. They are easily accessible.
If you go to one of the auto parts sites such as AutoZone, Advance Auto Parts, O’Reilly Auto Parts, Pep Boys and others and choose a store. Then look up the battery in the search bar, and then add year, make, model and engine size. If you’re not sure take a look at your car registration.
Side Mounted Posts
Side mount posts are usually on GM cars such as Cadillac, GMC, Buick, Chevrolet, Pontiac, and Oldsmobile. They can be a real pain to get to as some are located under the bench seat in the rear of the car and/or under a washer fluid reservoir bucket by the fender under the hood.
My Buick Century had side mounts under the hood and it was in the open where I could change it out. I had to remove the metal tie down first (holds it in place) in order to change it out. It can be a real pain in the neck to get the bolts loose at times.
Top and Side Mounted Posts
These type of batteries have both top mount posts and side mount posts. They can be more expensive, but if you can’t find the one you’re looking for, this may be the best way to get one and get it installed into the vehicle.
I like having the option of having two posts. First because of I get sick of the side mounted posts and would like to use the top posts, I would have to get new battery connectors and wires.
The top mounted posts have a terminal that goes over the post. The side mounted posts insert into the side of it. One is outside and the other is inside.
Reverse Terminal Top Mounted Post
Some vehicles require a reverse terminal top mount post battery. It’s because the connector wires are reversed on it. So rather than the negative and then positive direction when you look at the battery, it’s positive and then negative instead.
Each battery has a size that is located on the top of the battery. It’s also where you will find the cold cranking amps and the cranking amps.
My battery is a 65 series battery top mounted battery. It fits my 1995 Ford Taurus Wagon. The part number on the battery tells me what size it is.
It has 650 cold cranking amps (cca) and 812 cranking amps. The last number is is the battery reserve.
Free Battery Testing
There are quite a few auto parts stores that can test your battery for free – IF it is accessible and not under a bench seat or reservoir. They are not allowed to tear your vehicle apart to replace your battery (for their safety and because of insurance reasons).
I would suggest calling them first and finding out if they have that service available and if they have someone available to do it. They don’t always have the staff to handle store transactions and go out and help with battery testing.
Marine batteries are not just for marine machines such as boat motors. Some diesel trucks use Marine batteries. When the auto parts person looks it up for you in the store, they will tell you that your diesel needs a marine battery.
Do not try to jumpstart a marine battery! They are not designed to be able to be jump started or charged on a normal charger.
Battery Core Charge
The core charge is added to the cost of a battery until you bring the old one back. Doesn’t matter what type of battery it is as long as you return a bad one so you can get your money back for it. It’s considered a recycling charge like soda cans and bottles. In Connecticut I believe the Battery Core Charge is $15. This may differ from state to state.
I hope this article helped you in some way. Did you enjoy the article? Please feel free to ask a question, make a suggestion or leave a comment below.