The question “are car batteries universal" has been asked many times, especially by new car owners who don't have much experience with replacing or tending to a car battery. It's common sense that a pickup truck with a V8 or diesel engine would require a bigger battery than a 4-cylinder car, but there's more to it than that. Just like the tiny battery designed to fit into your watch, car batteries may all supply a standard 12V voltage, but other details such as amperage and cold cranking amps (CCA) are also important when deciding to buy a new car battery. Learn which battery is right for your vehicle.
THE IMPORTANCE OF CAR BATTERY TYPES
There are many car batteries out there, and not all of them will work for your vehicle. Some vehicles that are larger or have complex electrical systems will require a more robust battery than a compact vehicle without all the bells and whistles. Plus, you'll need a battery that literally fits in your vehicle — the dimensions and location of the positive and negative posts have to be compatible with your vehicle. Choosing the right battery will help ensure a powerful start every time, as well as easy replacement when the time comes.
Advance Auto Parts stores offer free battery testing and installation*.
WHY CONSIDER THE SIZE OF A CAR BATTERY?
Some adaptability may be possible on a case by case basis, but car batteries are certainly not universal. For larger cars, pickup trucks and SUVs, the physical size of the battery might be larger than the car battery that would fit into the battery tray of a small coupe. The standard regarding battery sizes is in place to help prevent any confusion and make sure you can install your battery without difficulty. While some might consider replacing a larger battery with a smaller one, or investing in advanced technology to purchase a lighter, but equally efficient battery, this isn't always the most practical solution long-term. So, are car batteries universal? The clearest answer is that they can be compatible within their own size group.
ARE ALL CAR BATTERIES COMPATIBLE WITH EACH OTHER?
Batteries that have the same designation can be used interchangeably, even if they are primarily designed for a different vehicle. Common industry-standard designations for group sizes such as H6 or 21R are meant to categorize specific types and sizes of car batteries that can be used as replacements for each other. In most circumstances, an appropriate CCA value and the right car battery size group will be the only pieces of information you need in order to get your new car battery.
Take a look at some popular battery accessories.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT CAR BATTERY SIZE
General Motors cars typically require a size 75, while many Japanese manufacturers will need a size 35. When deciding on the specific battery to buy, you will need some more information, including the size, reserve capacity and CCA of the replacement battery. Since there are differences between batteries belonging to the same size groups, it's usually best not to take any chances. If you're wondering “are car batteries universal?" taking a glance at an online size chart will show you that this is not the case. Your safest bet will always be to get the battery that is the manufacturer-recommended, OEM-specification for your vehicle and engine size.
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*Car battery testing and installation available on most automotive vehicles, at most locations, unless prohibited by law.