Automotive Battery Brands

Manufacturers and distributors of car and truck batteries

Nearly all car and truck batteries are made by one of the three following manufacturers: Exide, Delphi and Johnson Controls. However, the batteries made by these companies are sold under many different brand names.

It is common practice for car and truck manufacturers to market their own private-label brand of batteries. For example, Ford, Lincoln and Mercury dealers are the only ones that sell Motorcraft batteries. In addition to this, some automotive retailers will stock a signature battery brand. Sears sells DieHard brand batteries, and Everstart batteries are exclusively available at Wal-Mart.

A few battery distributors, such as the popular Optima and Interstate battery companies, make their batteries available at various independent retailers.

Different brands of batteries perform differently, as do different models within each brand. There are a few things to keep in mind when selecting a replacement battery for your vehicle:

  • Fresh batteries perform best. Batteries lose their charge (and their ability to be recharged) if they sit unused. Never buy a battery that is more than six months old.
  • Look for the brand that offers you the best warranty. Specifically, look for the brand that has the longest period in which they will replace your battery for free if it malfunctions.
  • If you live in a specific climate, such as the Arctic, look for a brand that makes a battery tailored to your climate.
  • Research before you shop. Some brands, like Optima, are much more expensive than others. This is usually because they perform better or target a highly specific niche market.

Key terms

The two most important terms to understand when buying car batteries are cold-cranking amps (CCAs) and group size.

CCA is a measure of how well a battery will start in cold weather (likely a top priority for anyone living in a colder climate). The CCA number tells you how much current (in amps) a battery can provide to the vehicle's starter at 0 degrees Fahrenheit.

Group size refers to the dimensions of the battery and where its terminals are located. Different car companies require different group sizes:

  • Size 75 - Most General Motors vehicles
  • Size 65 - Ford, Lincoln and Mercury
  • Size 35 - Honda, Toyota and Nissan
  • Size 34 - Most Chryslers
  • Size 34 / 78 - Some Chrysler and GM vehicles

Your battery retailer should have a guide that will help you determine exactly what group size you need for your automobile.

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