Battery Purchasing FAQ
- How does heat affect my battery?
- How can I tell my battery's age?
- Will driving a car fully recharge a battery?
- What are cold cranking amps (CCA)?
- Specialty batteries - What is the difference?
- How do I know when it is time to replace the battery in my car?
- How do I recycle my battery?
How does heat affect my battery?
Hot weather means high temperatures under the hood, which accelerates corrosion inside the battery. It can also cause water to evaporate out of the battery's liquid electrolyte. This can result in decreased battery capacity, a weakened ability to start an engine and, ultimately, shorter battery life.
How can I tell my battery's age?
The age of a battery can be determined using the battery date code. The battery date code is a two number code sticker. The battery date code indicates when the battery was shipped from the manufacturing plant and is read as follows:
Indicates in which month the battery was manufactured (Example: 1 is January, 2 is February, 3 is March, etc.)
Indicates the year in which the battery was manufactured (Example: 15 for 2015, 16 for 2016, 17 for 2017, etc.)
For example, a car battery date code of "3/18" would be March, 2018. In May 2019, this battery would be 14 months old.
Will driving a car fully recharge a battery?
There are a number of factors affecting an alternator's ability to adequately charge a battery. The greatest factors are:
- How much current (amps) from the alternator is diverted to the battery to charge
- How long the current is available (drive time)
- Battery temperature
- Battery age
Generally, running the engine at idle or short stop-and-go trips, during bad weather at night, will not recharge the battery effectively.
In the following situations, the alternator will not adequately recharge a battery:
- The battery is drained because an interior light was left on in the car for 18-24 hours.
- The battery is drained because the vehicle has not been driven for a month or more.
- The car is only driven at 60 km/hKilometer Per Hour (35 mphMiles Per Hour) to a nearby store and back 2 or 3 days a week.
What are cold cranking amps (CCA)?
The battery's Cold Cranking Amps (CCA) is an important measure for good cranking ability in cars, trucks and boats. CCA is the amount of current or amps a battery can provide at -18° C (0° F) for a 30-second duration until the battery voltage drops to unusable levels. The rating is defined as the current or amps a car battery can deliver for 30 seconds and maintain at least 1.2 VVolt per cell (7.2 VVolt for a 12-VVolt battery) at -18 °C (0° F). Refer to your application guide for the vehicle, and follow the recommended CCA rating for that vehicle's engine and features (ampere-hour rating, optional equipment, etc.).
For example, a 12-volt battery with a 650 CCA rating means the battery will provide 650 amps for 30 seconds at -18° C (0 °F) before the voltage falls to 7.20 VVolt for a 12 VVolt battery. So in extremely cold temperatures, the higher CCA level is required to crank your engine. In addition, as more cranking power is used, the amount of battery power available decreases.
Specialty batteries - What is the difference?
These batteries have starting power, plus the ability to power the many creature comforts in today's boats and RVs. In addition, these batteries have thicker lead plates and typically have both threaded posts as well as the standard SAE automotive posts to connect to the vehicle's battery cables.
Golf Cart Batteries
Unlike car batteries, golf cart batteries don't need starting ability. Instead, they need to be able to power your cart with long periods of time between charges.
Lawn and Garden Batteries
Designed to work as hard as you, Lawn and Garden batteries can power up your mower week after week. They're also designed to tolerate the high vibration created in most mowers which helps them last longer.
How do I know when it is time to replace the battery in my car?
There may be little or no warning. However, if any of the following happen, your battery should be tested immediately:
- Motor has difficulty cranking over
- Battery indicator light on the instrument panel stays lit for extended periods after starting. This could also be a mechanical issue(possible alternator) and should be checked by a professional mechanic.
- Headlights dim when the engine is idling
- Clock starts to lose time after the vehicle sits unused for several days
Note: To maximize the vehicle's battery/charging system service life and performance, it is recommended a vehicle's battery and charging system be tested at least semiannually or every time the oil is changed.
How do I recycle my battery?
Recycling old batteries reduces waste, and since up to 99 percent of a lead-acid battery is recyclable, it also reduces the need to use new raw materials and components. Instead of keeping your old battery, be sure it gets recycled by leaving it with the attendant when you purchase a replacement. Costco will provide a credit for your used battery when you purchase a new one based on our battery warranty policy. Follow all safety precautions when handling your old battery.
Recycling Car Battery Process
To begin the recycling process, used batteries are collected from drop-off locations and transported to recycling centres.
- There, the lead is separated from the polypropylene (plastic case) and fed into a furnace to be melted down.
- The lead is then reused to manufacture new batteries. The polypropylene is washed and also recycled.
- Lastly, acid is treated and neutralized.
- New car batteries are typically made with up to 80 percent recycled materials.