Car Battery – For GM and Others
Vehicle batteries come in many different sizes and shapes. The two different ones I’ll be talking about today are the Top Mount and the Side Mount battery. (There are also Gel batteries like Optima and Deep Cycle batteries for Diesel.)
The battery is determined by the Year, Make, Model and Engine size of a vehicle (4 cylinder, 6 cylinder, or 8 cylinder are the most common sizes). Most people go into an auto parts store to find a battery. The counter person can help you look up the battery for your vehicle on the computer. They can even test your battery (if the store has the free battery service).
Let’s say you own a 2012 Ford Taurus SE (stands for Special Edition). There are numbers located on some batteries that specify the size. Looking it up in one of the local part store sites I found, specifies that it’s a series 58 or 59. Both will fit as they are about the same size. Some batteries may show an R after the number, which means that the terminals are reversed.
The batteries usually come with a date on the side and sometimes on the top. It is the date that the battery was made. Most batteries have a life of 2-5 years on average. This helps you to determine (if you still have a date on your battery) should you change your battery or not. (If you get 5 or more years out of your battery – then you got a really great battery.)
This battery shows a date of 6/17 so it was made in June of 2017. It’s still a good battery. I believe that the warranty on this particular one is 2 years.
There are batteries that will have a 1-3 year warranty depending on the battery itself. They are usually viewed as Okay (1yr), Good (2yrs), Great (3yrs), Best (3yrs). It used to be 1 year, 3 years and 5 years, and 7 years but companies have changed the warranties on the batteries.
If you have reverse terminals rather than the normal ones (+ Positive connection on Left and then – Negative connection on Right). The Reverse terminal would mean that you have a – Negative connection on the Left and a + Positive connection on the Right. These are usually specified by looking right near the battery terminals as they will have a + for Positive or a – for Negative. On the older cars the wires to the connections were RED for Positive and BLACK for Negative.
Side Mount Batteries are usually for GM (General Motors, Cadillac, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, and Buick).
You should always remove the covers that are on them. This one shows a RED (Positive) and a BLACK (Negative) cover. Those are the way that they are connected on the car. You should connect them to the vehicle that way. These terminals can be a real pain to connect and disconnect as they aren’t always in place where you can access them easily.
Always clean the terminals first. You will get a better connection and remove any dirt or anything that is on it. Use the battery terminal cleaner tool. The long brush part goes into the side mount holes to clean out any debris that doesn’t belong there.
On the bottom of where the brush is, there is brushes that are inside the tube to clean top mount batteries. It’s a combination tool. I keep one in the tool box as you have to occasionally clean the terminals when you see them getting corroded or turning green around the connections.
It’s also very helpful to use a type of conductive grease. Like the bulb grease, it keeps out dirt, keeps the corrosion down to a minimum, and it creates a better electrical connection.
When changing a battery, you use the terminal tool to clean the connections, then put the grease in or on the terminals you’re connecting. I use this every time I change the battery or clean up the terminals on it.
Always purchase the grease with the battery.
Top Mount Batteries are usually for Fords and other cars. They have two posts on the top of the battery and are easily accessible. Like the side-mount terminals, you should always clean the posts first.
Always remove the covers. The ones on the top mounts have to be peeled off first.
You clean them with the battery terminal tool.
You add the grease and connect the wires to them.
Once you change your battery out (or had help with changing it out), then get in the car once everything is connected and turn it over. You may notice that the lights on the dash are brighter, it seems to run better, or any other little thing. If it doesn’t turn over, make sure you didn’t connect it with the terminal covers on it.
I hope that this helps you in any way. I do my best to try and educate people about the different things with their cars, so that they can take better care of them.
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