Car Battery Buying Guide

1. Warranty:

You are reading this either because your car battery is already dead or because you know its time is near! You might have also rummaged through the internet looking for your next car battery and trying to determine whether the new one will last at least as long as, if not more, than the existing one. But the question still remains – Which car battery should you buy? Fret not. This guide will take you through all things you need to consider before you purchase your next car battery. Let’s start off with warranty first. Why? Because it is the single biggest indicator of how reliable your car battery is likely to be. If you want your car to be running trouble free for longer periods of time, buy a battery with a longer warranty.

  • Higher the warranty, higher the price

    If a manufacturer is offering a longer warranty period on its battery, the quality of materials will be better and the battery will last longer. If the quality of materials is better and if the battery has more features on offer, the price will be higher. But you knew that already.
  • Free of cost? Pro-rata? What is that?

    Batteries in India usually come with a combination of warranties – the first half is the full free replacement warranty and the other half is the pro-rata warranty. Usually, if a car battery comes with a 48 months warranty, the first 24 months will be the full free replacement warranty period, while the remaining 24 months will constitute the pro-rata warranty period. Some staring models also come with only a full free replacement and not the pro-rata warranty. Be sure to read the fine print.
  • A little more explanation

    A free replacement warranty offers full replacement of the battery without you having to pay anything to the company. A pro-rata warranty also offers replacement warranty, but you have to pay some amount for it. This amount is based on your usage. Longer the battery is used for, lesser will be the discount offered and vice versa.
  • Examples always help!

    Let’s say a company offers a 60-month warranty on its car battery, of which the first 30 months is the free replacement warranty and the remaining 30 months is the pro-rata warranty. If the battery fails within the first 30-months, the company will replace it for you free of cost. However, if the battery fails within the pro-rata period, the company will give you a new replacement at a discounted rate. In our example, if your battery fails in the 45th month, a company might offer you a 25 percent discount on the new battery. How? 1 – (months of use/ total warranty period) x 100. Different companies have different ways of calculating the discount. While some companies such as Amaron employ a formula based approach, others such as Exide use fixed slabs for calculation of the pro-rata period discount.
  • So which battery should I buy?

    Since the price differential between a battery with a longer warranty and a similar battery with a slightly lesser warranty isn’t much, a battery with a higher total warranty (free replacement warranty plus pro-rata warranty) is recommended. A car battery usually lasts for as long as the advertised total warranty. But if you plan on selling your car, you may consider paying slightly less and purchasing a battery that offers lesser warranty, and therefore costs less.

2. Battery fresh stock

In this second part of our guide we talk about battery age. Now, you may ask why the age of a battery is important if you are getting a proper bill and warranty card to protect against damage to your battery. Good question! The warranty will certainly take care of things should something go wrong with the battery, but only during the free replacement period. A car battery usually lasts for as long as the total warranty period (Click here for Part-I on Warranty), which includes both the free replacement as well as the pro-rated warranty. If something goes wrong with the battery after the free replacement period, you will end up paying some amount of money for a new replacement.

  • Batteries have a shelf life

    There is a good possibility that an old battery might not last for as long as it should, and might fail much earlier than expected. All batteries discharge when kept idle for long, something that can potentially reduce the service life of the battery. Since all batteries have a certain shelf life, it is advisable to stay away from old car batteries.
  • Getting a really cheap battery? Beware

    If a roadside dealer is selling you a battery that is much cheaper than elsewhere, be wary. The first thing you should check is the manufacturing date. The date is usually given in the month-year format and is printed on the battery packaging.
  • How old should a new car battery be?

    Since you want your car battery to last for as long as possible, it is therefore important that you buy the freshest battery available. This will save you both time and money in the long run. A maintenance free battery should, ideally, not be more than six months old.

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