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Car batteries that won't let you down

Top performers from our tests in six popular sizes

Published: April 03, 2015 09:00 AM

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Waiting until your car won’t start isn’t the best time to start shopping for a new battery. But according to our research, that’s exactly what most people do.

Chances are you won’t find the best bargain when you’re standing by the side of the road with a dead car, and you’ll be lucky to even procure the right battery for your vehicle. A better plan is to have your battery’s condition checked every year by a mechanic, especially once it’s a couple of years old.

If you can’t remember when you last replaced your battery or had it checked, now would be a good time to get up to date. Summer is right around the corner, and contrary to what you may have heard, hot weather is tougher on car batteries than cold winters.

To keep shopping simple, here’s our list of the best performers in each of six common sizes. These picks are based on our extensive tests of more than 60 batteries; multiple examples of each model are repeatedly drained, recharged, and exposed to extreme temperatures to find out which ones hold up best.

Several of the models featured here are absorbent glass mat (AGM) batteries, as indicated. These cost significantly more than conventional batteries, but they excel in our tests. Further, they are spill-proof, usually last longer, have a low self-discharge, can better tolerate deep discharge, and stand up well to extreme temperatures. Thus, AGM batteries are especially well suited to certain conditions, such as for cars that might be parked for extended periods or vehicles with high power demands due to accessories.

Check your owner’s manual for the right size for your car. Click through the model names for complete test findings.

Jim Travers

Group size 65

Interstate MT7-65 (AGM), $280

Available at independent garages and auto parts stores, Interstate batteries aren’t cheap. But they are consistently strong performers in a variety of group sizes.  

Group 34, 78 & 34/78

DieHard Advanced Gold 50778 (AGM), $165

Probably the most recognized name in car batteries, DieHard batteries have been sold by Sears and Kmart for decades. But don’t just shop by name, because not all DieHards are good performers. This one is.

Group 24 & 24F

EverStart MAXX-24FN (North), $85

EverStart MAXX -24S (South), $80

Available only at WalMart, EverStart batteries combine good performance with bargain pricing. That’s always a welcome combination.

 

Group 35

EverStart MAXX-35N (North), $90

EverStart MAXX-35S (South), $90

EverStart batteries from Walmart offer more than competitive pricing and long-lasting capability. They carry a limited replacement warranty, and installation is free.

 

Group 75

Interstate MT7-75DT (AGM), $250

A side-terminal battery with excellent scores across the board in our tests, the Interstate MT7-75DT was one of the top batteries—and not just in its category, but overall.

Group 48

Interstate MT7-48/H6, $260

Another strong performer from Interstate, the MT7-48/H6 cost us twice as much as some competitors. But if you’re looking for peace of mind, it far outshined all others in its group size.

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