Best Practices for Battery Selection and Installation

A reliable battery that’s always ready to perform and deliver on each turn of the key is what you expect – even in the most extreme temperatures and on the toughest jobsites. That’s exactly what you’ll get when you count on Cat® batteries to power your productivity. In addition to proven durability and reliability, Cat batteries are available in almost every Battery Council International (BCI) size to fit a wide variety of equipment.

But with so many different battery sizes and machine types, determining which battery is the right one and how to install it safely can be confusing. That’s why we’re sharing the following battery selection tips and installation procedures – in addition to the free advice that’s always available from the parts experts at your local Carter Machinery store.

Tips for Selecting the Right Battery

  • Choose enough power – Always select a battery with enough cranking power, reserve capacity, and vibration resistance. A machine with numerous electrical accessories needs a more powerful battery for optimum performance. Temperature matters too as equipment working in extremely hot or cold climates may need a battery with a higher cold cranking amps (CCA) rating.
  • A higher CCA rating equals a longer life – In general, a battery with more CCA will last longer than one with a lower CCA rating. That’s because the higher-rated battery uses less of its capacity to start the engine, resulting in fewer charging cycles because the battery remains fully charged more often.
  • There are wet and dry batteries – Wet batteries often outperform dry batteries, particularly in extreme temperatures and operating conditions, and are more tolerant of being overcharged. Dry batteries, however, have a longer shelf life and may be less expensive.
  • Side or top post locations – Batteries with the posts or terminals mounted on the side are less prone to corrosion, which means less frequent cleaning. Terminals on top of the battery, however, make it easier to work on the cables or battery and to jumpstart the machine because there’s more space for using jumper cables and tools.

Eight Steps Toward Proper Battery Installation

  1. Wear safety glasses, a face shield, and gloves – Consider reviewing these battery safety tips before getting started.
  2. Mark the cables – Before removing the old battery, identify and mark the positive and negative cables to ensure a proper connection when installing the new battery.
  3. Always disconnect the ground cable first – The ground cable is usually the negative one, and by removing it first, it helps prevent sparking near the battery, which could lead to an explosion.
  4. Disconnect the positive cable, loosen and remove the hold-down assembly, and remove the old battery.
  5. Inspect the battery tray – Examine the tray, hold-down assembly, and battery cables, looking or corrosion, debris, or worn or broken parts. Replace and clean parts as needed, paying particular attention to cable ends that must remain clean and corrosion-free.
  6. Install corrosion protection washers on the battery terminals – Then install the new battery in the same position as the old one and tighten the hold-down assembly. Look at the terminals to ensure they won’t make contact when the hood is closed, with the fender, or with any other metal body parts.
  7. Connect the positive cable first and the ground cable last – Use a special side-terminal torque tool to properly tighten side terminal cables without damaging the battery. Never over-tighten or hammer cables onto terminals.
  8. Coat the terminals and cable connections with a corrosion-protection spray.

Remember, if you need more advice on selecting, installing, storing, or charging batteries, expert help is just a phone call, email, or in-person visit away at your local Carter Machinery store.