How do I know what kind of battery I need?
That’s probably the number one question we get to answer every day! By providing our battery experts at Factory Surplus Batteries with just a little bit of information, we can show you all your options. All we need is the make, model, and year of your vehicle. When choosing your next battery, always keep in mind that older vehicles and vehicles with lots of extra “gadgets” tend to need a more powerful battery.
Do you charge for battery installation?
NO! If you need your new battery installed, our friendly staff at Factory Surplus Batteries will install it for you within minutes of your purchase.
Do you recycle old batteries?
Yes, we do! And not just old car batteries! Any type of battery you need to get rid of can be recycled through us. Our sister company, Elite Energy Distribution (right here in the Milwaukee area), is an R2 certified recycler. So, you can rest assured that any batteries you bring us for recycling will be recycled in only the most environmentally conscious ways.
How do I keep my battery clean?
Keeping your battery clean is a great way to extend its life. Keep the terminals and the battery case clean. Visually inspect the terminals and cables for signs of corrosion at least once a year, especially in hot temperatures. Keep the top of the battery clear of heavy dirt and oil to reduce the risk of electrical transients between the positive and negative posts, which will result in a quicker discharge.
Battery cleaners are available. Use them to clean the terminals, cables and the battery case. You can also use a mixture of baking soda and water. Ensure that the caps are left on the battery during cleaning so that nothing gets into the battery. Once the acid is neutralized, rinse the battery with water. After cleaning the terminals and cables with a wire brush, reinstall the battery cables and use a terminal protector spray to protect the terminals from future corrosion.
How do I know when to replace the battery in my car?
There may be little or no warning; however, if any of the following happens, your battery should be tested immediately:
- Motor has difficulty cranking over.
- Battery indicator light on the instrument panel stays lit for extended periods after starting
- Headlights dim when the engine is idling, or
- Clock starts to lose time after the vehicle sits unused for several days
Note: To maximize the vehicle’s battery/charging system service life and performance, we recommend having your vehicle battery tested at least semiannually or every time the oil is changed. If you’re unsure, you can always swing by Factory Surplus Batteries for a FREE battery check! No appointment needed.
Can my battery freeze?
The short answer is “yes”; however, it is extremely unlikely as long as your battery is fully charged. If your battery is partially discharged, the electrolyte in a lead acid battery may freeze. At a 40% state of charge, electrolyte will freeze if the temperature drops to approximately -16 degrees F. When a battery is fully charged the electrolyte will not freeze until the temperature drops to approximately -92 degrees F. While we certainly see our share of low temps around here, we don’t see them quite that low! We always recommend going with a battery that has a higher CCA (cold cranking amp) rating to keep those engines turning over in even the harshest winter weather.
What are Lead Acid Batteries?
Lead acid batteries are the oldest and still the most common type of rechargeable battery on the market. Although not used for applications like consumer electronics where small batteries are required, their high discharge capacity makes them popular for larger-scale applications, such as vehicle starting and emergency backup power.
Lead acid batteries fall into two categories: vented and sealed. Vented batteries allow gas to escape without any positive pressure buildup in the battery. This ability makes them less susceptible to problems caused by high ambient temperatures and overcharging. Sealed batteries are used in applications where vented batteries are impractical, either due to a lack of ventilation or the mounting position of the battery. They are also more compact, allowing them to be used in some applications where vented batteries may not be practical. While vented batteries must be mounted upright to prevent the acid in them from escaping, sealed lead-acid batteries can be mounted in any orientation.
Sealed lead-acid batteries are used in applications where a high discharge capacity may be needed, such as uninterruptible power supplies (UPS), emergency lighting, and backup generator starting. While the energy density of sealed lead-acid batteries is much lower than that of other rechargeables, their ability to release a large amount of energy quickly makes them ideal for these applications.
What is an AGM Battery?
The term AGM is short for Absorbed Glass Mat, which is a specific manufacturing process utilized in the production of sealed lead acid batteries (SLAs). In the AGM manufacturing process, extremely thin glass fibers are woven together to form a glass mat separator that is placed between each lead plate. The glass mat plates allow for the even distribution of electrolyte over the entire surface area of its adjacent lead plate(s) due to its ability to hold acid. This maximization of electrolyte to plate coverage enables these batteries to far exceed the performance of conventional flooded lead acid batteries.
Every battery that is produced using AGM technology will fall into the VRLA category, or valve regulated lead acid. Through the use of AGM and GEL manufacturing processes, manufacturers are able to make a sealed maintenance free battery. These batteries have several advantages when compared to the typical flooded lead acid battery. The first of which is the maintenance free nature of the battery - you will not have the need (or the ability) to add any electrolyte to the battery. Due to the VRLA design, the battery is recombinant and will vent less gas than flooded batteries. These batteries can also be mounted in any position and function without leaking any electrolyte.
What is a GEL Battery?
Two of the most common terms that we hear from customers are AGM and GEL, which are often mistaken for one another. The term GEL is short for Gelified Electrolyte Lead acid. In other words, a true GEL battery will actually contain a gelatin in place of the typical free flowing electrolyte (battery acid). A special gelling agent is added to the electrolyte to reduce the movement of acid inside of the battery – the process literally turns the acid mixture into a gooey Jell-O like substance. Due to this mixture of Jell-O like acid, the GEL battery is designed with special one way safety valves in place of open vents typically found on wet-cell batteries (non-sealed), this method of venting allows the internal gasses to recombine back into water in the battery, greatly reducing gassing.
The GEL battery is a sealed non-spillable type. If the casing of the battery were to develop cracks or otherwise be compromised, there will be no free flowing acid leaking out the of the battery. The GEL battery is also a maintenance free type. The term battery maintenance typically refers to the need to check on the electrolyte level of the battery about every thirty to sixty days depending upon usage. The valve system used in both AGM and GEL applications minimizes the amount of electrolyte released from the battery during the charging period.
The GEL style battery is used in a wide variety of deep-cycle applications due to their ability to recover from deep discharge cycles. Where the GEL battery will excel is in situations that require a slow and steady discharge. A prime example of a good application for a GEL battery would be an electric mobility chair.
What is a Deep Cycle Battery?
Deep cycle batteries are designed to be discharged down as much as 80% repeatedly. They have much thicker plates than a standard automotive battery.
What is a Marine Battery?
Marine batteries are considered a "hybrid" battery which actually fall between a starting and deep-cycle batteries. Marine batteries are usually rated using "MCA" or Marine cranking amps which is rated 32 degrees F, while Cold Cranking Amps is at zero degree F.