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What Happens If You Use the Wrong Car Battery?

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Each vehicle has exact battery specifications for you to install. And this car battery gives all the power for the vehicle to run smoothly.

Eventually, as a car owner, you may face problems finding the recommended matter or wondering what will be the adequate way to ensure the best performance. If you have any of these queries to answer then – welcome to auto care labs.

This article will look into different issues you might face when you install the wrong car battery. But before that, let’s look at what the right battery for your car would be.

What Happens If You Use the Wrong Car Battery?

Using a car battery smaller or larger than recommended can have detrimental effects. Let’s have a brief look at them individually.

Effects of using a too-small car battery

Your automobile will not start in most cases if your car battery is too small. Even if it starts, most of your gadgets, including your anti-theft system, will be turned off due to a power outage. Even a simple task like listening to music or the radio can be incredibly demanding.

Expect a small battery to perform much worse than it does now if you take quite a few short journeys. Because the most demanding use of a car battery is when you start the engine, taking short excursions prevents the battery from fully charging.

As a result, if you take a lot of short journeys, the battery will not get sufficient time to fully recharge, reducing battery life and ability to hold a charge. Besides, reviving a dead battery is not always an option.

On the other hand, it won’t connect properly when using a smaller battery than your battery compartment. As a result, it will cause the battery to vibrate. Vibration causes gaps in the cell connections and separators, which eventually kills the battery.

The Winter season can also bring a huge concern when using smaller batteries. Each battery has a rating based on its expected life and CCAs (cold-cranking cramps). The CCA rating measures a battery’s capacity to power an engine in cold weather.

If you purchase a small battery to save money, it will have a lower CCA rating than your original car battery. As you might expect, a larger battery with better capacity and a higher CCA rating will fare better in winter circumstances.

Effects of Using a too Large Car Battery

Using a larger battery than one recommended by your manufacturer could cause various issues. To begin with, if you buy a battery off the shelf at a big box retailer, you will most likely notice that it does not fit in the battery compartment of your vehicle.

Furthermore, even if the battery fits in the compartment, a bigger battery may cause other problems. Alternators and batteries need to be perfectly matched to the power requirements of each vehicle. If you use the wrong battery and alternator, your alternator could overheat and degrade its life. Consider fitting a battery built for a large premium six-cylinder SUV with plenty of options into a modest, entry-level four-cylinder sedan.

Consequences of Installing the Wrong Battery

A wide range of faults and problems can occur if you install the wrong size battery in your car. They can include the following:

Failure in start-stop

The start-stop system can be damaged if an improper battery is used. As a result, when the car comes to a complete stop, the engine may rarely or never get turned off (e.g., at a traffic light).

Failure of various vehicle functions

The usage of the wrong-sized battery might result in a variety of problems. This means that some features in the car may no longer be used or can only be used to a limited extent. For example, you might not be able to turn on the seat heating or the air conditioning system in the car.

Irritation and loss of time

A battery failure may result in time loss, the need to wait for assistance, delays, or scheduling issues. You will always be unsatisfied with the wrong battery because of these issues.

Cranking strength can become weak

Cranking power will decrease when car batteries are tiny. Winter and summer are tough weather conditions that necessitate a dependable battery that allows our engines to start regardless of temperature changes.

Batteries with the incorrect voltage are still capable of starting the engine. But the battery will freeze due to the intense cold, and the automobile won’t start.

Battery life expectancy will vary

Batteries that are used regularly on short excursions have a shorter life expectancy. Some types of batteries aren’t ideal for short journeys.

Using a considerably smaller battery, on the other hand, will result in reduced battery life. The battery has to put out a lot of power to heat the glow plug. A big battery stores massive amounts of electricity.

In the winter season, this will be affected even more. So I will suggest choosing winter car batteries more carefully.

Power loss

Your automobile may eventually lose power if you use the wrong battery size. Your car appears to be lacking in power. Eventually, the air conditioner could stop operating due to a lack of electrical supply.

Besides, your headlights may not be as brilliant as they used to be because your battery can’t offer enough energy. Even you won’t be able to charge your accessories fully.

Fuse blows

Using a tiny battery can cause your fuses to blow. Each of the electrical loads aspires to do the duty that has been set to them. A 50W bulb, for example, would like to use 50 Watts of electricity. If the voltage were lower than the minimum, a fuse would eventually burst.

Damage caused by alternators

Starting an automobile engine from a little battery requires a significant amount of energy. If you use this startup practice daily or frequently, the alternator will wear out too fast.

Some automobiles have a modest alternator and rely only on the battery to keep the vehicle running. If the battery is used to start the car, the alternator will eventually have to work overtime to give current to the battery.

Finding the Right Battery for Your Car

Before buying a brand-new car battery, check your owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s suggested battery specs.

It’s worth noting that it’s allowed to use a battery that isn’t the same brand as the one that came with the car as long as it’s the same size that the manufacturer recommends. As a result, if you don’t have the correct size battery, the battery replacement cost will rise over time.

The voltage

A 12-volt battery is the industry standard for current models. You will most certainly locate one at your local store. A 6-volt system may still be found in vintage autos.

Marine (deep cycle) batteries are typically 12 volts and fit in a variety of vehicles. They aren’t known to work with alternators and aren’t as economical.

Battery Amperage

Cold-cranking amps (CCA) and cranking amps (CA) are the two amp ratings most batteries have (CA). The number of amps your battery can supply to your starter is measured in amps.

The number of amps a 12-volt battery can produce for 30 seconds at 0°F (-18°C) while retaining at least 1.2 volts per cell is known as cold-cranking amps (7.2 volts for a 12-volt battery).

The number of amps a 12-volt battery can produce for 30 seconds at 32° F (0°C) while retaining at least 1.2 volts per cell is referred to as cranking amps (7.2 volts for a 12-volt battery).

Size of the Battery

Batteries exist in various sizes, but because the battery compartment in most current cars is cramped, it’s critical to get the correct size group. The size group is generally represented by a number, which can be difficult to comprehend.

For instance, numbers like 75 and 26 are considered smaller size batteries than a 24-sized battery. On the other hand, 34 is considered an equal size battery to 78, while 65 is bigger. The biggest size battery for cars is 31.

The size group represents a battery’s overall dimensions. It’ll be tough to close the car’s hood or battery cover if it’s too tall, wide, or lengthy to fit in the battery compartment. So, double-check the specifications to make sure they’re proper.

If the battery is smaller than the compartment, you’ll have to deal with other problems, including battery vibration. Vibrations can cause cracks in cell connectors and separators, leading to the battery’s demise.

Another feature of the sizes is that they may include a letter that indicates the battery’s terminal position. For example, the terminals on 24F will be on the opposite end of 24. On the other hand, terminals will be on the side of 75/78.


It is safe to say that using a wrong-sized car battery is never a wise decision. There are a lot of uncertainties and issues connected to using a smaller or larger battery for your car. The worst thing would be your car engine losing power during the drive.

So, follow the manuals before buying a new car battery. Know the battery sizes. Thus, you can replace old batteries easily and with the correct size.


Can You Put a Different Size Battery in Your Car?

Using the wrong size battery can cause a slew of issues, much as using the wrong size part or accessory. This includes loss of power, car breakdowns, and many more problems.

Can you Put the Wrong Ah Battery in a Car?

Any wrongful battery for your car would cause various problems. This includes putting the wrong Ah battery in your vehicle as well.

What Will Happen If I Put a Smaller Ah Battery in a Car?

A smaller Ah battery for your car would provide insufficient power to start and run the engine. You might not even be able to turn the AC, radio, or car heater on with a smaller Ah battery.

What Will Happen If I Put a Higher ah Battery in a Car?

A higher Ah battery could be beneficial for your car. It will provide more power to the engine. But that is more theoretical as a higher Ah battery will also overload the alternator.

How much Do Car Batteries Cost?

The price of your car’s battery will vary depending on the year, model, and the retailer you choose. Newer vehicle batteries cost between $80 and $150 on average. Luxury automobile batteries can cost upwards of $200.

How much does a used car battery cost?

The lead composition of old automobile, truck and equipment batteries determines their dollar value. On the market, lead prices fluctuate daily, affecting the price scrap dealers are willing to pay. For a scrap automobile battery, you can expect to spend between $5 and $8. Batteries for trucks are larger and cost between $10 and $12 per unit.

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