YOUR BUYER’S GUIDE

Purchasing a new car battery

Why are there so many different types of batteries?

Over time, the needs and habits of drivers have evolved considerably, which explains why there’s such a vast variety of car batteries on the market.

The purchasing process may seem daunting at first but, trust us, it’s pretty simple! All you have to remember is that there’s a battery out there for every type of driver.

This buyer’s guide has been put together to help you understand your battery needs and choose a product that’s best suited to those needs.

So whether you’re an off-road enthusiast, a devoted dad or a professional who travels across the province (or even all three!), one thing’s for sure: we’ve got a battery that’s been specially designed for you!

Starting a vehicle…how does it work?

A car battery is a rechargeable battery that meets both the starting and reserve needs of a vehicle. Unlike a deep cycle battery, which provides a stable and continuous flow of energy, a starting battery generates a sudden surge of energy to start the engine.

The many roles of a starting battery:

  1. To start with, the battery generates a sudden surge of energy to start the engine.
  2. The battery also stabilizes the voltage to avoid voltage spikes that could damage your equipment.
  3. Next, if necessary, the battery helps the alternator to power the electronic and electric circuits in the car, and thus your devices (lights, air conditioning, heated seats, radio, etc.).
  4. Even when your engine is switched off, your battery remains active and continues to power the on-board computer, alarm system and remote starter.

Alternator

What’s the
alternator’s role?

The alternator transforms your car into a mini power plant. Once the car is up and running, the alternator powers your car’s electric devices and recharges the battery when you drive.

Your battery isn’t the alternator’s no.1 priority!

The alternator feeds energy to the car and accessories before charging the battery. That’s why the alternator generally starts recharging the battery at 2200 RPM. Remember, the alternator provides more power as the RPM increases.

How much energy does it take to start a car?

Between 3% and 5% of the battery’s capacity is used every time you start your car. Depending on your vehicle, it can take between 15 and 30 minutes at 2200 RPM to recharge the energy that was used when you started your engine.

The alternator isn’t a smart charger

Even though the alternator is in part responsible for recharging the battery, it doesn’t do it as well as a smart charger. This is because a battery requires different levels of charge according to its state. In other words: the alternator will never be able to charge your battery to its full capacity.

Choose a battery that’s designed for your needs

3% to 5% doesn’t sound like much? Don’t forget to calculate the number of times you start your car every day, how often you use your car and the average duration of your trips.

Example: a parent takes their child to the daycare centre and their oldest son to school before going to work. At the end of the day, they pick both of them up before retuning home in the evening. During this typical weekday, the car is started up 6 times and, as they only travel short distances, the battery doesn’t have time to recharge.

Imagine a similar situation, but with several consecutive days of cold weather! Since your engine would require more energy to start up (because of the temperature), your battery may not be up to the job. This is why it’s important to choose a battery that’s designed for your needs.

Different types
of batteries

Conventional car batteries are often called SLI batteries

(starting, lighting, ignition).

The main role of a conventional battery is to start up a vehicle and to power your car’s essential accessories and lights. This being said, more and more cars are equipped with sophisticated and energy-consuming accessories that require reserve capacity. AGM batteries are specially designed for this type of usage.

Here are the differences between these two types of starting batteries:

CONVENTIONAL
BATTERIES (SLI)

Conventional batteries have been used for decades to start up cars with standard accessories.

The Bolt and Bolt + ranges are an excellent choice for this kind of usage.

  • Replacement battery - quality equal or superior to the car’s original battery.
  • Technology created for Canadian winters
  • Great value
  • Average service life: 4 to 5 years
  • No maintenance required
AGM BATTERIES:
START-UP AND RESERVE

AGM: recent technology that’s used in modern and Start-Stop vehicles. AGM batteries are perfect for cars that need both starting power and reserve capacity. The pure-lead technology in the Bolt 99 offers spectacular performance, no matter how you use it.

Advantages of AGM batteries vs conventional (SLI) batteries:

  • Recharged faster by the alternator
  • Lower self-discharge rate
  • Same size, more power
  • More resistant to vibrations
  • React better to frequent start-ups and short journeys.
  • More powerful in cold weather
  • Longer service life (+ 5 years)

How batteries work
(and things to bear in mind!)

Self-discharge

A battery discharges by itself, even when you don’t use your car. That’s why some people get an unwanted surprise when they come back from their 2-week vacation!

It’s therefore really important to use your car regularly or to use an external charger to compensate for the loss. What’s more, a battery that’s fully charged will last a long time.

AGM batteries are designed in such a way that they remain charged for longer.

Level of discharge

Conventional batteries are not designed to be discharged a lot. If the battery is constantly discharged, sulfation may occur and your battery’s performance could be permanently affected.

With a conventional battery, be careful not to leave your lights on!

Choose an AGM battery if you have a lot of accessories or if you need deep cycle.

Always on the go

Did you know? Batteries are constantly active, even when the engine isn’t running! This is because they have to constantly provide power to the on-board computer, alarm system, remote starter and any other accessories being used.

Generally speaking, a battery consumes between 0.05A and 0.1A an hour; that’s 1.2A to 2.4A a day! Imagine a retired person who uses their car once a week for short journeys—we’re talking about 7.2A to 14.4A per week. That’s enough to harm your battery if it hasn’t been adequately charged by your alternator or a charger.

Parasite charges

As time goes on, the electric system in your car requires more energy and can even create “parasite” charges. These parasites drain extra charge from your battery when your car isn’t running and are the main reason for flat batteries in cars that are 5 years old. If this happens, it’s a good idea to choose a battery that can withstand being discharged, such as an AGM battery. If the parasite charge is excessive, ask your local garage to verify your car.

How to avoid unwanted surprises

If a battery is used in an inappropriate application, it will discharge prematurely and won’t last as long.

By choosing the right battery for your vehicle and your needs, you’ll avoid issues when starting your car. What’s more, you’ll have peace of mind for years to come!

Types of usage

Short journeys and
frequent start-ups

Do you work close to home? Are you a taxi driver? Do you drop your children off at school in the morning? Be careful: the alternator doesn’t always have time to recharge your battery during short journeys.

Choose a battery that’s designed for shorter trips or use a charger to have 100% peace of mind.

Regular
usage

Do you use your car almost every day and regularly do long journeys? The good news is that your alternator has enough time to recharge your battery during longer trips.

REMINDER: It can take between 15 and 30 minutes at 2200 RPM to recharge the energy used by your battery to start the car.

If you tend to use your car for short trips, your battery will discharge faster. However, if you do a mix of short and long journeys, it should have enough energy to recharge.

Occasional
usage

REMINDER: Even when it’s not used, a conventional battery looses around 1% of its charge a day.

People who don’t use their car very often can therefore cause premature wear to their battery.

According to the type of car you have, if you use your battery once a week or on a seasonal basis, make sure you have a charger and/or AGM battery that can withstand self-discharge.

Parked with the
engine running

Whether you’re stuck in traffic or waiting for your other half, we sometimes have no choice but to stay in the car with different accessories on and the engine running.

Depending on how many accessories you use, your battery may have to step in to provide the power you need.

Consider opting for an AGM battery with reserve capacity to avoid unwanted surprises.

Factors to consider

Age of
the car

As your engine gets older, it requires more energy to start. Your alternator will also provide less energy.

For peace of mind, we recommend you choose a battery that is more powerful than the original one for cars that are 5 years old.

Do you want to keep your car for a few more years?

Note that certain batteries remain powerful for longer and have a longer lifespan.

Impact of accessories
on your battery

Does your vehicle have a lot of equipment (heated seats, reverse camera, alarm system, etc.) or a Start-Stop system?

Compared to conventional batteries, which would struggle in this context, the Bolt AGM and the Bolt 99 offer superior charging/discharging capacity.

Luxury vehicles (Mercedes, Audi, BMW, etc.) often come with on-board computers that are both highly sophisticated and energy consuming. If the battery discharges completely, the on-board computer will probably have to be reprogrammed by the car dealer.

If you have a luxury vehicle, we recommend the Bolt AGM or the Bolt 99 with a charger.

A lot of
vibration?

Do you sometimes go off-road or have a powerful engine? Careful: shocks and vibrations can harm your battery.

Fortunately, certain batteries have been specially designed to withstand vibrations, such as the Bolt AGM and the Bolt 99.

Diesel
engine

Diesel engines often require a sudden, high surge of power to start-up. Certain batteries are specially designed for this type of usage.

We recommend the Bolt AGM or the Bolt 99 for diesel engines.

External
temperatures

The colder it is, the more energy will be required to start the engine, and the more the battery will struggle to provide full power. What’s more, if your battery discharges due to cold weather, it could freeze. This explains why cold weather and discharged batteries go hand in hand!

Top tip: winter can be unpredictable, so we strongly suggest you plan for the worst.

Don’t forget about heatwaves!
A battery can also lose power and discharge when it’s really hot outside.

That being said, certain batteries are specially designed to provide maximum power and withstand extreme temperatures. You can alternatively opt for a charger to keep your battery fully charged.

Are you needs
going to change?

If change is on its way (family, retirement, professional car), it would be wise to choose a battery that’s suited to your future needs to avoid problems when you need your car most.

Different examples:

Annabelle
Mother of young children

Annabelle drives a Dodge Caravan. Her car is a few years old and has very few accessories. She starts up her engine on a regular basis (day care, school, karate classes, etc.) and doesn’t want to be caught out this winter—managing her family is tricky as it is.

George
Recently retired (uses his car from time to time to get around in his local town)

Since his retirement, George uses his car once a week to get out and about in his hometown and leaves his car outside during winter. His battery will discharge because he doesn’t use his car that much. We strongly recommend he chooses the Bolt AGM or the BOLT + with a charger.

Henry
Typical usage

Henry uses his car, which is now 3 or 4 years old, for both short and long journeys. He’s planning to change his car in 2 or 3 years.

Patrick
The adventurer (+ 5 years, vibrations, equipment added)

Pat loves his Jeep and always takes good care of it. He recently installed a winch on his vehicle for his off-road adventures. The BOLT AGM and the BOLT 99 would be ideal for Pat: they can both handle the vibrations caused by off-road driving and provide enough power for his on-board accessories.

Antonio
Lives for his Mercedes (luxury car, stores it in the winter, +++ equipped)

Antonio takes really good care of his Mercedes. He even protects it from the cold during winter by storing it in a garage. We suggest that he chooses the AGM battery for two reason: first, his battery will discharge when he stores his car away for the winter, and second, luxury cars tend to have on-board computers that consume a lot of energy.

Jack
Fan of the outdoors

Jack prefers the wilderness to busy cities and loves hunting and fishing. But, unfortunately, the places he loves the most have dangerous roads, and sometimes no internet or telephone signal. The last thing he wants is to get stuck in the middle of the woods—and we don’t blame him!

Sebastian
Like no other

When Sebastian bought his rare car, he found it really impressive. But he later found out that it requires a battery that’s rare and unavailable in most stores. Sebastian will be happy when he finds out that Batteries Expert offers the replacement battery he needs, especially because he hasn’t yet found one in any other store.

It’s time to choose!

As you can see, the BOLT series is vast and meets a variety of needs. But now you’re aware of what to look out for when buying a car battery, you’re in a good position to take an informed decision!

Find the perfect battery
for your needs

Which range is the most suitable for your situation?

For cars equipped with entry-level equipment

Perfect battery for:
  • Car with entry-level equipment
  • Short and long-distance
  • Canadian winter

Lifetime

4 to 5 years

Warranty

30 months

Recharge

10 %

Autodecharge

30 % per month

Resistance to cold
Canadian winter

Perfect for peace of mind

Perfect battery for:
  • Short distance
  • Frequent starts
  • 5 years old car and more

Lifetime

5 to 6 years

Warranty

40 months

Recharge

10 %

Autodecharge

30 % per month

More power

Resistance to cold
Canadian winter +

For well-equiped car and Start-Stop

Perfect battery for:
  • Luxury car, Start-Stop, accessories, and diesel
  • Occasional utilization
  • Short distance
  • Frequents starts
  • Off-road

Lifetime

6 to 7 years

Warranty

54 months

Recharge

10 % to 20 %

Autodecharge

10 % par month

Vibration
resistance

Reserve
capacity

Resistance to cold
Extreme cold

For well-equipped cars, Start-Stop and intensive use

Perfect battery for:
  • Luxury car, Start-Stop, accessories, and diesel
  • Occasional utilization
  • Short distance
  • Frequents starts
  • Off-road

Lifetime

7 to 10 years

Warranty

60 months

Recharge

10 % to 30 %

Autodecharge

5 % per month

Vibration
resistance

Reserve
capacity

Resistance to cold
Extreme cold +

For cars equipped with entry-level equipment

Perfect battery for:
  • Car with entry-level equipment
  • Short and long-distance
  • Canadian winter

Lifetime

4 to 5 years

Warranty

30 months

Recharge

10 %

Autodecharge

30 % per month

Resistance to cold
Canadian winter

Perfect for peace of mind

Perfect battery for:
  • Short distance
  • Frequent starts
  • 5 years old car and more

Lifetime

5 to 6 years

Warranty

40 months

Recharge

10 %

Autodecharge

30 % per month

More power

Resistance to cold
Canadian winter +

For well-equiped car and Start-Stop

Perfect battery for:
  • Luxury car, Start-Stop, accessories, and diesel
  • Occasional utilization
  • Short distance
  • Frequents starts
  • Off-road

Lifetime

6 to 7 years

Warranty

54 months

Recharge

10 % to 20 %

Autodecharge

10 % per month

Vibration
resistance

Reserve
capacity

Resistance to cold
Extreme cold

For well-equipped cars, Start-Stop and intensive use

Perfect battery for:
  • Luxury car, Start-Stop, accessories, and diesel
  • Occasional utilization
  • Short distance
  • Frequents starts
  • Off-road

Lifetime

7 to 10 years

Warranty

60 months

Recharge

10 % to 30 %

Autodecharge

5 % per month

Vibration
resistance

Reserve
capacity

Resistance to cold
Extreme cold +

The use of a charger is recommended for exceptional situations

Did you know...

When it’s really cold, try to use as little accessories as possible to help your alternator recharge the battery.

Did you know that some chargers can be permanently installed on your car battery to make charging easier?

For cars that are stored away for winter, we recommend you use a charger (no matter what battery you choose) to avoid unwanted surprises in the spring.

Space for the battery:
Fun fact! In certain cars, there is extra space for the battery, meaning you can opt for a bigger and more powerful product. If the space in your car is limited, choose a smaller battery with superior technology.

Start-up and deep cycle
Certain car batteries have been specially designed for applications that require deep cycles. These batteries are designed using AGM technology.

Do you barely use your car? Do you often leave it at the airport when you go on vacation? Choose a car battery with a lower self-discharge rate, a charger or even a small solar panel designed for this type of usage.

Here are the warning signs that you need to change your car battery:

  • It’s 4 to 5 years old
  • It struggles to start-up the engine, even after charging it
  • You’ve boosted it a few times

Steps to follow :

  1. Recharge your battery with an external charger. If your engine starts up normally, you shouldn’t have any problems for the coming months.
  2. If not, for peace of mind, visit a Batteries Expert store and we’ll test your battery for you.
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