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  • Sep 27, Consumer Reports' tests show the best car batteries when it comes to overall performance, with picks in several type categories and advice on.

    Sep 26, While nearly all of today's car batteries are maintenance free, we recommend having your battery load tested by a mechanic annually once it is.

    The latest performance Ratings of all Car batteries.

    In addition to the basic categories noted above, batteries are also sorted by size. A plastic handle or loop makes it easier to lift and carry batteries, which can weigh between 25 to 60 pounds; just as important, it aids in lowering the battery onto the tray in tightly packed engine compartments. How to Maintain Your Car Battery. A good SLI battery should start right up -- year after year -- whether it's blisteringly hot or blustery cold outside. But car batteries are always on our minds at Consumer Reports, and you can rely on our recommendations to help you pick the best, most affordable one.

    Best Car Battery Buying Guide - Consumer Reports

    Outclassing all other batteries in its size group in a leading test, the DieHard Gold starts readily on frigid days, yet survives well at hot temperatures. Its reserve capacity allows it to soldier on for roughly two hours if you forget to turn off your headlights.

    The Optima Yellow Top D51R is a dual-purpose battery, offering both the cranking power to start your car reliably and deep cycling capabilities to run power-hungry systems like high-end sound equipment even when the car is off.

    It's also designed to stand up well to vibration. In professional tests, it gets top marks for starting well in cold weather and holding up through repeated cycles of charging and discharging at high temperatures. It comes with a month replacement warranty. Walmart's EverStart MAXXF finishes just behind the top batteries in expert tests, holding up well to repeated cycling and starting reliably in cold temperatures. It's also popular with owners, who praise its low price, high CCA, and great warranty.

    Walmart will replace the battery if it fails to hold a charge within the first three years, and offers a prorated replacement for two years after that. The chain will also install a new battery at for free.

    When looking at the engine in your car, truck or SUV, it can be easy to overlook the plain little box that sits quietly in the corner: Mechanics on Angie's List say car batteries generally last between three and six years, so unless you plan on buying a new car every year or two, chances are you will need to buy a new battery at some point. There are more than a dozen car battery brands, and most of them are sold exclusively at certain retail chains.

    Unfortunately, you can't just shop by brand to find the best car battery. One reason is that brands may use different manufacturers for different lines and even sizes.

    On top of that, brands periodically switch manufacturers, so top-rated brands and models change from year to year. The most basic car batteries are for starting your car only. Sometimes labeled as SLI batteries for "starting, lights, ignition" , these batteries can produce a quick burst of power to get your engine started, but after that they need to be recharged by your car's alternator. A good SLI battery should start right up -- year after year -- whether it's blisteringly hot or blustery cold outside.

    It should also have enough juice to spare for those times when you accidentally leave your lights on. Unlike SLI batteries, deep-cycle batteries can deliver a steady current over a long period. You can discharge them and recharge them repeatedly without damaging them or shortening their lifespan. This makes deep-cycle batteries a good choice if you have a custom sound system or other accessories like winches that draw a lot of power, or if your kids like to watch your car's DVD system while the engine is off.

    However, it's important to make sure you choose a deep-cycle battery that also has enough juice measured in CCA, for "cold-cranking amps" to start your engine. Batteries that can do both are sometimes labeled as dual-purpose batteries. However, many of them are still quite acceptable performers. If cost is important to you, and if your car isn't loaded down with gear, one of these cheap car batteries could meet your needs just fine.

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