Batteries are almost always overlooked. Yet without them, you won't be able to even move your car. The car battery is not only needed for a modern starter motor (as opposed to a hand crank system) but for the ECU, as well as essentials like your headlights and windscreen wipers.
How do I know when my battery needs to be changed?
There are a few tell tale signs that your battery needs replacing. If your car is bearing some of the following symptoms, it might be worth checking it out.
Engine - If your engine performance isn't quite up to scratch, there may be an issue with your battery. If you turn the key to no ignition at all - it takes the battery to ignite your fuel/air mix - your battery might be completely dead. This could be solved with a jump start or a charge up at home. However, if the battery is just slow or struggling to recharge, it's time for a new one.
Electrical components - as well as the engine, many other components rely on the battery to function properly, including the dashboard display. If your dashboard lights are beginning to dim or flicker - or perhaps your satnav colour screen is beginning to lack in performance, this may well be a battery related issue.
Age - like the rest of the car, a battery also has a finite service life. Most batteries are able to function properly for roughly three years. Some can live far longer than this, but if you've been running yours for over five - even if it still works a treat - it may well be time to start considering a new one.
If your battery is going flat every couple of days, is struggling to turn over or there is a persistent warning light on your dashboard, it's probably a good idea to invest in a new car battery.
How do I know which is right for me?
Not all batteries are the same; you wouldn't fit the battery from a Volkswagen Up into a Lamborghini Aventador, for example, and expect it to work. You need to work out which battery your car needs, then select one of the best car battery options on the market.
To find out which car battery is right for you, go to your owner's manual. In here you will be able to find the battery's group size - a good place to start when deliberating over which to get. If you no longer have access to the manual, check out your car's model and age online to find out which would best suit it.
To help you make your decision, we've collected a few of our favourites. We've also pointed out the positives and negatives (sorry) for each option.
Best for large engines
The perfect choice for bigger engines, the Bosch S5 range may cost more than other batteries, but
- Latest battery technology
- Excellent battery performance
- Overkill for many cars
Best for mid-sized cars
Varta is a popular choice of battery for many car manufacturers because of its quality and
- OSM quality
- Good price
- Unsuitable for start-stop systems
It's not the most recognised brand out there, but Powerline does have good reviews and very low
- Very low price
- Doesn't last as long as cheaper alternatives
Best for small engines
Probably the go-to brand for quality car batteries, Bosch has a reputation of quality. This S4000
- Excellent battery for small cars
- Trusted name
- Unsuitable for start-stop systems
Best for start-stop engines
Quite a few cars now come with start-stop technology, a feature that'll cut the engine when
- Designed for start-stop systems
- 360,000 engine starts
- It's a big battery, make sure it fits your car
What you need to know about car batteries:
One of the easiest ways to check what battery will fit your car is to use Amazon's garage feature. Here, you can enter your car's details or simply use your registration number to find the correct parts for your car.
Most tyre fitters will offer a free battery check, so it's worth taking advantage of this check when you're having your tyres fitted. A good battery should last around five years, so bear that in mind when it comes to searching for a battery.