What Can Happen If You Put The Wrong Size Battery In Your Car?

What Can Happen If You Put The Wrong Size Battery In Your Car?



Car-makers design their vehicles to extremely tight specifications nowadays. Just as with any part or accessory, using the wrong size battery can lead to a host of problems. While it isn't always necessary to use the OEM brand, you should always replace your battery with the size and output that the manufacturer recommends.

 

What Happens if I Use a Battery That is Too Small

Naturally, using an undersized battery in your car could lead to starting problems. Batteries come
rated by their life expectancy as well as their CCAs (cold cranking amps). A battery's CCA defines its ability to start your engine in cold temperatures. Picture trying to crank a large V-8 engine, with a battery designed for a small four-cylinder vehicle, on a cold Canadian morning. Also, an undersized battery may not have enough juice to power your car's accessories, especially while your vehicle is turned off. Even just listening to the radio for an extended period may cause your battery to go dead. Frequent short trips tax almost all types of batteries, but they take an even larger toll on small batteries. If you run errands all day, frequently starting the car, then driving short distances, your battery does not get a chance to fully recharge. Instead of carrying a share of the load, the battery is continually drawing a charge. This fact could cause alternator overheating and long term damage.

 

 

What Happens if I Use a Battery That is Too Large

 

Several problems could arise from using a battery that is larger than what your manufacturer recommends. First off, if you buy the battery off the shelf in a big box store, for example, you may get home to find that it does not fit in your vehicle's battery compartment. Along with power and CCA ratings, car batteries also come in a range of physical sizes, as well as top-mount and side-mount configurations. Plus, even if it physically fits in the compartment, an over sized battery could cause other issues. Manufacturers precisely match their alternators and batteries to the vehicle's power requirements. A mismatched battery/alternator combo could cause your alternator to overheat and shorten its life. Picture putting a battery designed for a large luxury six-cylinder SUV with lots of accessories into a small, base model four-cylinder sedan.

 

car battery

The Bottom Line

Overall, it really doesn't make sense to stray from the manufacturer's recommendation when it comes to your car's battery. Saving a few bucks on an undersized battery could wind up costing much more in repairs later on. And, while extra starting-power always sounds tempting, installing an over sized battery comes with its own problems, as well.

 

 

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