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44% more car owners reported battery failure in 2017 than in 2016. Batteries also made up 6.1% of component replacements in vehicles 3 years old or more, an increase of 1.3%.
The best way to prevent battery failure is to understand the system your vehicle uses. You need to know how to compare deep cycle vs. regular battery options and care for them properly.
Read our guide to learn the differences between these battery types, how to choose the best one for you, and how to maintain it.
What Does Deep Cycle Mean?
Most people know how to identify a car battery but not how to differentiate between the different types or what options they have when choosing one. You may wonder what a deep cycle battery is and how to distinguish it from other battery types.
Deep cycle batteries, a.k.a. marine or leisure batteries, are a specific type of automotive battery. They’re designed to deliver a long-lasting, constant current. This keeps them running longer without getting damaged.
Deep cycle automotive batteries can handle lower or higher levels of charge without getting damaged. This allows you to use almost any level of power, and they come in various power ranges to suit your needs.
Some car batteries are deep cycle but not all. There are also several types, including AGM, gel cell, and floored lead-acid.
Deep Cycle vs. Regular Battery
Both deep cycle and traditional batteries use the same lead-acid chemistry. Their design is what sets them apart. It’s important to understand car battery differences when deciding which one to purchase.
The manufacturing process for deep cycle vs. regular batteries differs, leading to different results.
A deep cycle automotive battery has a thicker lead plate than a regular battery. It also uses a solid lead plate rather than the sponge plates you’ll find in other batteries.
Lead is a heavy material, so a deep cycle automotive battery tends to be heavier than a regular battery. It also tends to be costly, meaning these batteries cost more.
The advantage of the heavier plates is that they won’t buckle under the pressure of long discharges. This lets you run the car longer and at different levels of power than traditional battery options can handle.
Deep cycle automotive batteries tend to last longer than typical starter options. Their overall lifespan depends on the type.
Starting batteries rarely last for more than 13 months. Deep cycle options have lifespans ranging from 2-5 for deep cycle gel cell batteries to 4-8 years for floored lead-acid batteries.
Deep cycle batteries tend to be more durable than other options. They can withstand not being used for 6-8 months thanks to their low self-discharge rate.
Knowing how to compare the advantages and disadvantages of deep cycle vs. regular battery options allows you to choose the best one for your car. The decision depends on factors like your budget and how long and often you’ll use the vehicle.
The best way to keep a battery from breaking down, no matter what type, is to do regular maintenance tasks like cleaning and checking liquid levels. There isn’t a general procedure for how to perform maintenance on all batteries, which is why you must learn how to care for your specific type.
It’s important to understand the steps required for deep cycle vs. regular battery maintenance. They require different kinds of care to maintain. Choosing the wrong method can cause more problems than it solves.
Deep Cycle Battery Maintenance
Poor charging is a common cause of battery failure. This applies whether you have a regular or deep cycle battery.
Program your chargers correctly the first time you use your deep cycle battery. After that, charge often and fully while limiting discharge to 50%.
Make sure to use the right kind of charger. Also keep in mind how much charge you’re adding, as deep cycle automotive batteries, especially AGM varieties, are vulnerable to damage from overcharging.
Like the body, a car battery has to maintain the right levels of temperature, liquid, and other factors. Maintain electrolyte balance in your deep cycle battery by adding distilled water once or twice a month.
Deep cycle automotive batteries are already one of the longest-lasting options on the market today. Regular maintenance can help them last as long as possible.
Regular Battery Maintenance
There are several signs to look for that indicate your battery may be failing, such as dim highlights, slow starters. If these or other indicators appear, perform regular maintenance to avoid having to take the car to a mechanic.
Don’t leave your battery unused for long periods. This can lead to sulfation on the plates of a deep cycle automotive battery.
Batteries can get damaged by buildups of salt, dirt, and other contaminants. Pop the hood and check for this regularly. Simple cleaning with a cloth and the proper cleaning solution can remove anything that shouldn’t be on your battery.
Keep an eye on the temperature of your battery. Excessive cold or heat can damage any type.
Get your battery tested regularly. 2/3 of Americans never do, and they suffer the consequences when their car refused to start.
No matter what type of battery you have, it’s important to know how to prevent and/or fix any issues without making things worse. Learn more about how to maintain a deep cycle battery here.
How to Choose a Car Battery
Deciding between a deep cycle vs. regular battery is a matter of preference. If you want to go on long trips and need a battery than can maintain its charge, you may want to consider a deep cycle option. If not, another type of battery may do the job.
Whatever battery you choose, it’s also important to know how to maintain it. No one wants to have their car break down, but there are plenty of ways to prevent it. As long as you use the right methods for your specific battery type, you can keep it running for as long as possible.
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