Three Things to Look For in your Next Truck Battery

We come across all kinds of articles online about car and truck batteries and unfortunately, many of them are nothing more than click bait or a collection of words and pictures someone hopes will help them rank high in search results. Even worse, are articles that actually offer advice that might seem to make sense, but actually offers bad advice. We've come across some recently that included photos of our products along with bad advice, so we'd like to set the record straight with three things we think are important for battery buyers to consider when buying a battery for their truck.

1. Buy the correct battery size for your vehicle.

That vast majority of battery purchases won't be going into trucks like Amy Fitzgerald's heavily-modified 1940 Dodge pickup, which has a different engine, electrical system and battery location than how the truck came from the factory. Most batteries will be going right into the same tray in the same location as the battery that came from the factory, so getting a battery that fits in that spot is important. That includes getting a battery that has provisions for external venting, if the battery is located inside an enclosed area, like the cab of a truck or the trunk of a car. Physically modifying a battery to fit in a location that wasn't designed for it is never a good idea. Many OPTIMA batteries come with a variety of trays and pucks that can be attached to the battery to help them fit in a variety of applications, but we'd never recommend modifying the terminals or case in any way to make them fit in any vehicle.

You don't need to overdo it on buying a battery based on cold cranking amps, especially if you live somewhere like much of the United States, which rarely sees sub-zero temperatures, but know that a battery that doesn't at least meet the OE requirements for your vehicle could leave you stranded. You can look up the correct battery size for your truck here.

2. Buy the correct type of battery for your vehicle.

If your truck has a winch, car alarm or other significant electrical accessories that may end up deeply-discharging the battery, make sure you buy a battery designed for that type of application, like the OPTIMA YELLOWTOP. Appropriately-sized YELLOWTOPs can be deeply-discharged many times, while also providing enough cranking amps to start your vehicle. However, just because you have a battery that can be deep-cycled doesn't mean you should let your alternator do all the heavy lifting when it comes to recharging a deeply-discharged battery. Most alternators are designed to maintain batteries near a full state of charge, not recover deeply-discharged batteries, so if you know you'll be deeply-discharging your battery and you'd rather not accelerate the demise of your alternator, buy a quality battery charger.

3. Buy a new battery from an authorized retailer.

In racing, there's an old saying that if you have a $100 head, buy a $100 helmet. The moral is that if you value your personal safety, don't cut corners and the same is true for batteries. Having a battery fail at an unexpected moment can be far more than inconvenient, it can put you in a very dangerous situation. If you need a battery, buy a new one from a reputable retailer, who can provide you with warranty service, if you ever need it. We see batteries being sold every day on Facebook, Craigslist, eBay and elsewhere. Many of them claim they are new, but the reality is that battery companies and retailers consider all of these batteries being resold by private parties to be used and carry no warranty coverage. You can find an authorized OPTIMA retailer near you by searching here.

If you have a truck equipped with two batteries and one of them goes bad, you need to replace both of them at the same time. That doesn't mean you can't continue using the other good battery in some other application, but any vehicles that use two or more batteries in series or parallel applications should always have batteries that are identical in age, size and type.