Updated 26.05.2021

5 Things To Look For When Buying A Car Battery

Although a car battery is vital in operating a car, not all owners know how to replace it when needed. It is your responsibility as a car owner to learn at least the basic information about the battery, so you know what to look for in a replacement.

Here is a guide that will help you learn what you need to look out for when buying a car battery.

Battery type

The battery itself has a label for its model. Take note of this to quickly describe what type of battery you need from your supplier.

Alternatively, check your Vehicle Identification Number as this will give you the make and model of the car. Knowing this will help sellers accurately identify the kind of battery you need for your vehicle.


There are numerous car battery brands in South Africa to choose from. Here are some of the most popular brands you will find in the market:

  • AtlasBX
  • Bosch
  • Deltek
  • Dixon
  • Duracell
  • Energizer
  • Excide
  • Optima
  • Raylite
  • Sabat
  • Varta
  • Willard

Among these brands, Willard is the most popular and established one, with over 35 years in the industry. Sabat is a sister brand of Willard, so it is also a good brand to trust in.

Raylite and Excide batteries are locally manufactured and have decent reputations as well. They are often fitted as OEM components of locally sold cars.


The price of car batteries ranges from R1 200 to R6 000. Those that are more affordable are good for vehicles used regularly. The more expensive batteries have better longevity and durability compared to those on the cheaper spectrum.

Costlier batteries are based on AGM technology and are designed for modern stop-start car engines. This system automatically shuts off the car on red traffic lights and long stops and then restarts when it is time to go. This type of engine system is very taxing to car batteries, so some manufacturers designed special models to cope up with this technology. 

AGM batteries use the Absorbed Glass Matt technology to improve the discharge-charging cycle of the battery. This is currently expensive to manufacture, thus the higher price tag on this kind of battery.

Handing out your old battery to suppliers will reduce the cost of buying a new one. Additionally, you will not have to worry about disposing of your old car battery because the supplier will take it for recycling for you.

Serial Number

Always check if the battery you will be buying is fresh. Batteries lose their strength over time even if they are properly stored by suppliers.

Most batteries have a shipping or manufacturing code that represents when they were produced. Some manufacturers use letters (A representing January, and so on) and numbers to represent the production date and batch of the battery. 

For best performance, make sure you are purchasing a battery that is less than 6 months old. A three-month-old battery is ideal, while a year-old battery will not be in an acceptable condition. Do not buy old batteries even if the supplier sells them for a lower price.


As with any purchase, always get one with the best warranty provided. For car batteries, buy one that has the longest free replacement period.

When it comes to batteries, there are two periods you should consider: the free replacement and the prorated period. The latter pertains to partial reimbursements only while the former is the outright replacement from a fresh batch. Check if your supplier offers these kinds of warranty periods. 

Battery acid is highly corrosive that it can burn holes through clothes. When buying even a sealed battery, check for possible acid leaks.

Improper installation can void the warranty. Have the supplier’s agents install the battery to avoid tampering with the warranty and damaging the battery before you can even use it.

The know-hows of replacing a car battery are a must for every vehicle owner. Battery replacement is part of a vehicle’s regular maintenance service, so the information you will learn about batteries will always be useful. 

Periodic battery checks will save you the trouble of getting stuck in the middle of nowhere, caught off-guard by a dead battery. Have the battery checked at least twice a year to know its status. This is especially useful if you are planning to travel long distances.

Remember the things listed here when buying a car battery. And as always, if something is not clear to you, ask your supplier for info because they are the battery experts. 

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