What happens if you put the wrong battery in your car?

By Julia Freeman

The importance of fitting the right battery in your car is often overlooked. It's true that many batteries are interchangeable across the same class of car, but there are some crucial considerations to bear in mind.

charging car battery

Battery specifications

Batteries come with different specifications designed to match those of the car they're made for. This goes beyond simply the amount of power they supply since the more accessories your car is running, the higher the battery specification needed. It may not be imperative to use the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) brand but it's essential to match the recommended size and output.

If you use the wrong size battery, this could cause changes in the flow of electrical currents, resulting in power surges that can damage the onboard computers or other components.

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What if the battery is too small?

The first obvious disadvantage in using an under-sized battery is the possibility of ignition problems. If your engine demands more power than the battery can supply, your car could be immobilised before you've even started.

Furthermore, you may find there is not enough energy to run your accessories, especially when the engine is switched off. Even listening to the radio could be enough to drain the wrong battery. The air-conditioning may not function properly and even the headlights may not light up as fully as intended. You may find other equipment fails because of the lack of power needed to perform the car's normal functions.

Remember, too, that operating in low temperatures can easily drain any battery – an under-powered one will be particularly vulnerable.

Short journeys put a lot more pressure on the battery than long ones even in the best of circumstances and an under-sized one simply may not have the opportunity to recharge sufficiently, which could lead the alternator to overheat and cause long term damage.

What if the battery is too large?

Equally, using a battery that is too large has its own implications. For one thing, it simply might not fit into your car's battery compartment. If you do manage to fit it, there is always the possibility that the terminals may touch other metal parts of the bodywork which may cause the battery to short-circuit. Even when safely and successfully accommodated, the wrong battery will present a discrepancy between output and demand which will cause the same problems for the alternator as a battery that is too small.

Talk to Protyre

As you can see the potential problems are numerous and years of experience tell us that it's advisable to seek expert advice. A quick online search for 'car battery near me' will help you find some options, but there's no one better to ask than the qualified technicians at Protyre.

Our tyre professionals also enjoy an enviable reputation for fitting tyres from brands across the price range from Pirelli to Falken and Bridgestone to Sumitomo, but our expertise is much wider. As the local garage on a national scale, we offer friendly, reliable advice to take the hard work out of all aspects of car maintenance. We can check the condition of your current battery and advise you on how long you can expect it to last. If necessary, we can help you select the perfect replacement.

Why not book a free battery check online, or call us today to find out more?

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About the author

Article Author Photo
By Julia Freeman
Julia is Head of Retail Marketing for Protyre and loves engaging with customers and the business as a whole to make sure Protyre is more than just a local garage.
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