How do you pick out the correct battery for your car or truck? To do so, there are two major factors to consider. First, the battery group. Second, the battery’s power.

Sizes of batteries are classified into groups. Typically, each vehicle will have one or two group sizes assigned to it. You can identify the ideal battery group for your car or truck by looking either in the owner’s manual or on the label of your current battery. If all else fails, the parts professional at your local auto parts store should be able to identify the right battery group for your vehicle.

Once you determine the correct battery group, it’s time to choose how powerful a battery you need. Most groups of batteries come in two or three different grades. These grades are defined by power level and warranty.

Let’s look at how a battery’s power level is measured. If you look at the label of a battery, you’ll notice two numbers: CCA and CA. CCA – or cold cranking amps – is how much power the battery has when it’s cold. Or, plainly, how much power that battery has to start your vehicle. CA – or cranking amps – is how much power the battery can continue to run with. Cranking amps power your lights, stereo and any other electronics apart from the engine.

You’re probably wondering why this is important. If you get the correct battery group, it should start your car or truck. Do you really need to know about amperage?

Consider your vehicle and the sorts of upgrades it has. Have you installed any security features like an alarm? Maybe you’ve put in a stereo system or backup camera. Any additional electronics are going to draw more power than a vehicle fresh from the factory.

Essentially, if you put additional electrical demands on your vehicle, make sure you’re selecting a batter than can provide enough energy to power everything.

Upgrade your ride? Upgrade your battery!