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How to Read Automotive Battery Numbers

by Carolyn Sorrell

The battery in your automobile provides the electrical energy to start your car and run things like the lights and clock. Your battery also helps to stabilize voltage and to keep your engine running smoothly. A new battery typically features a one-year warranty and lasts from three to five years. If you have a problem with your battery, it will be important to have all the data that's included with the battery when you return it to the store.

How to Read Automotive Battery Numbers

The numbers are on top of your battery.

Open the hood. Locate the battery. Have a pen and paper handy.

Try to park in a well-lit area.

Write down every number you find on top of your battery. It may be necessary to have a drop light or flashlight handy in order to illuminate the numbers. Use a magnifying glass, if necessary. Scan the long string of numbers and letters. The first two relate to the date the battery was shipped from the factory.

A fresh battery lessens your chances of stalling on the roadside.

Ascertain the month and year your battery was shipped from the factory by checking the numbers against these codes: The first letter should be a letter of the alphabet that corresponds to a month of the year. A = January, B = February, C = March, D = April, E = May, F = June, G = July, H = August, I = September, J = October, K = November, L = December.

The second letter should be a number. 0 stands for 2010, 1 stands for 2001, 2 stands for 2002, and so on. Therefore, D 8 would mean the battery was shipped in April 2008.

Some of the numbers on your battery may be puzzling.

Decipher the remaining numbers and letters. The remaining numbers are usually abbreviations for general information about your battery. Some of these are as follows: SEC = Runtime, AV = Avg. volt, CG = Charge rate, DIS = Discharge rate, IR = Internal resistance, DET = Discharge end time, CFT = Cut-off voltage.

Information about your battery's freshness is important.

Save your information. Now that you have retrieved the numbers from the top of your car's battery and have them written down on a piece of paper, store them in your car's glove box for future reference. You may have trouble with your battery at some point and will need this information to take with you to the automotive repair center. Remember that your automobile battery warranty typically begins at the month and year it was shipped from the factory and not on the date when you purchased the battery.

Tip

  • Write down the numbers first and then take them indoors to decipher their meaning. Compare the date on top of your battery to the information on your receipt.

Warning

  • Check to make sure your car's hood is securely held in the upright position. A falling car hood can cause serious injuries. Never check items under your hood at night or in poorly lit areas. This can attract the unwanted attention of would-be muggers.

Items you will need

About the Author

Carolyn Sorrell began writing in 1985. She has written novels and short stories, and her articles have appeared in "Letters to Our Mothers" and "Southern Living." In 2009, she ghost-wrote a book about the Obama campaign for a client in Washington. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English.

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