St. Thomas folks know that car batteries wear out just like any other battery and need to be replaced. There are a couple of things St. Thomas drivers should know when looking for a new battery: one is cold cranking amps and the other is reserve capacity.
Let’s start with cold cranking amps. This can be thought of as the power output used to start a cold engine. The number of cold cranking amps you need depends on your vehicle and where you live. The two factors are that the colder an engine is, the more power it takes to turn the engine over to get it started. It has all that cold, sluggish oil to contend with. The other factor is that the chemical reaction in the battery that creates electrical energy is less efficient in the cold.
So the colder it gets in St. Thomas, the more power is needed, but the available power also drops. So if you live where it’s cold, you need a battery with more cold cranking amps than you do where it’s moderate or hot. You should always get at least as many cold cranking amps as the car maker recommends, but may want to upgrade if you live where it gets real cold.
An important note: Batteries may also list the Cranking Amps – CA – number. It is the Cold Cranking Amps – or CCA – that is the vital number here. CCA is the number to use in your comparisons of St. Thomas auto batteries.
Now with all this talk of cold St. Thomas temperatures, it’s vital for St. Thomas drivers to note that heat is the real enemy of long battery life. In other words, the damage that’s done over the St. Thomas summer months shows up with the increased demands on the battery when ON weather turns cold.
Now on to reserve capacity: It’s a measurement of the number of minutes of reserve power the battery has at a given load. The number is more important these days because of parasitic drain. Parasitic drain is the battery energy that’s used when the key is off. So, the power drawn by the security system, the remote start system, even the power the computers require to maintain their memory.
Reserves are also needed when you make very short trips around the St. Thomas area. You’re not driving long enough for the vehicle battery to recover the energy it used to start the engine.
So go with the minimum recommended by your car maker and upgrade if you need more. Talk with your The Auto Guys service advisor about options. If you need more from your vehicle battery, a high capacity battery may be called for. Batteries are a big ticket item, so the warranty gives piece of mind. Be sure to ask about the warranty at The Auto Guys so you know what you’re getting.
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The Auto Guys
135 South Edgeware Rd.
St. Thomas, ON N5P 4C4