There are many different kinds of car batteries available and their prices vary greatly, depending on what the quality is. For example, the Optima Bluetop 12V, 900amp CC Rate 75 is a completely sealed battery that has a variety of uses, including ground and marine vehicles. Because it is completely sealed, there is no maintenance required. It is designed for seasonal use as well, and can stand fully charged without being used for up to a year and still have a charge. This unit costs $239 brand new.
Hopefully, you won’t ever need something as massive as this battery for your every day needs. What you want to find is a good battery that will give you good starting power, one that is maintenance free, and one that will last a long time. Duralast, Diehard, and Everlast are among the top reasonably priced brands.
When buying a battery, you will want to look at your own first to see whether it is a top post, or side post battery. It really doesn’t matter as far as cost goes, but the correct terminals are the most important. Batteries are expensive, and even a standard brand from a local auto parts retailer is going to cost you around $80. You will want to buy with a standard warranty, which is about 2-3years, close to the actual battery life of about five years.
Top post battery terminals are external studs mounted on the top or side of the battery. Battery cables from the car have clamps that tighten down on the studs. A side post battery has screw holes that the cars cables connect too. Side post batteries have started to become the standard for newer vehicles, but you can still find applications for top posts, including marine and recreational vehicles, and some heavy equipment.
You can change the battery out yourself, to save you some money on installation. Remember that a standard car battery can weigh up to 25 pounds, more for larger or even solid batteries. You will need two small adjustable wrenches. Don’t use pliers because these can strip the bolts and nuts off the cable connecters. Loosen up the battery terminals, starting with the red, or hot terminal. Be careful not to connect the studs or you will get a shock.
Remove the negative connection, and loosen any nuts or bolts holding the battery in. Keep in mind how the old battery sat, and place the new one in the same position. You should purchase a battery terminal cleaner set. It has a brush for cleaning top post terminals, and for the side postholes. Be careful when brushing the holes, so you don’t mess up the screw grooves. The other part of the cleaner is for cleaning the top post stud on the battery itself. Turn it on the studs a few times to score it a little, and brush out the inside of the cable clamps. Place the cables back starting with the negative, then the positive terminal. Don’t be alarmed if it sparks a little, there are things like the clock on your radio that require power even when the motor is off. Secure tightly, and if your vehicle doesn’t start right away, tighten a little more until it does.