When it’s time to replace your car’s battery, you want to ensure you’re getting the real deal. With counterfeit auto parts flooding the market, learning to identify an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) battery versus a fake knockoff has become critical. By arming yourself with the right inspection techniques, warning signs, it will definitely help you on how to identify original car battery, and to avoid getting duped by cheap imitators.
Table of Contents
Examining Key Battery Markings
An original new battery from your carmaker will have clear permanent markings, logos, and identification codes molded into the case and cover. Here’s what to look for:
- Manufacturer name, logo, and trademark on top/sides
- Electrical specs like voltage, CCA, AH rating printed on top or side
- Model number specific to vehicle application
- Batch number, serial number, date codes
- Regulatory certification marks like DOT, SAE, BCI
- Safety warnings and terminal polarity indicators
These mold-in markings on an OEM battery prove authenticity. They should be sharp, clear, and consistent in placement. Fake batteries often have poorly defined, irregular, blurred, or missing markings.
Verifying Proper Fit
- An original battery matches OE dimensions and terminal layout. It should fit the tray precisely without gaps, odd overhangs, or need for shims.
- Connection terminals line up perfectly with cables and clamp securely.
- Hold-downs, handles, vent tubes align with mounting points.
- Electrical connections snap firmly in place.
- No modification or rigging should be required to install.
If the supposed OEM battery doesn’t fit right, it’s a dead giveaway that it’s not genuine. You shouldn’t have to “make it work.”
Researching Battery Specs
Before purchase, look up the correct OEM battery model number for your make/model/year vehicle. Resources include:
- Vehicle owner’s manual
- Dealer parts counter
- Manufacturer technical websites
- Online OEM parts catalogs
- Battery finder applications
Compare key specs like CCA rating, voltage, group size, terminal layout to avoid buying the wrong replacement. The battery should be an exact match.
Examining the Seller or Source
- Legit OEM batteries are sold through authorized dealers and parts stores. Independent sellers are risky.
- Fake batteries frequently come from online auctions, discounters, importers.
- Excessive low pricing signals counterfeit. OEM batteries cost more.
- Only buy direct from reputable brands like AGM Batteries, Interstate Batteries, Deka, Duracell, etc.
Buying directly from the automaker dealership parts department ensures authenticity. Independent sellers may unknowingly or deceptively market fakes.
Asking About Warranty
The product description and labeling should clearly state the warranty terms.
- OEM batteries often have 3-year or longer pro-rated warranties when installed by a dealer.
- Quality aftermarket brands offer at least 1-2 year warranties.
- Fake batteries rarely have any warranty stated.
Avoid sellers that offer no warranty or have sketchy claims. Only real OEMs and reputable brands provide backing.
Trusting Your Instincts
If a deal seems too good to be true, it likely is. Use common sense when evaluating battery bargains.
- Extremely low prices are a giveaway.
- Generic labeling, hypothetical applications are red flags.
- Mixed mismatch batches raise doubts.
- Shady vendors should be avoided.
- Paying a little more for peace of mind is worthwhile.
Stick with reliable national brands from reputable local suppliers. Don’t take risks just to save a few bucks. A counterfeit battery can leave you stranded.
Confirming Return Policy
Before purchasing, always confirm the seller’s return policy for incorrect or defective items.
- OEM dealers allow easy returns and exchanges.
- Major retailers also accept returns of most products.
- Private sellers, liquidators, importers often have iron-clad no-return policies.
The ability to return gives recourse if the battery turns out to be fake or fails prematurely. If no returns allowed, go elsewhere.
Carefully selecting batteries from trustworthy sources is the best defense against counterfeits. Following these guidelines helps ensure you get the right OEM-quality battery with a valid warranty and protection. Don’t let a cheapy battery leave you stranded.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are signs of a counterfeit battery?
Indicators of fake batteries include incorrect or fuzzy markings, poor molding quality, imprecise fit, cheap terminals, no warranty, very low price, sketchy seller, mismatched specifications.
Can a fake battery damage my vehicle?
Yes, counterfeit batteries often don’t provide proper power, lifespan, or electrical control. Premature failure can leave you stranded and even damage car systems.
Is it OK to buy used OEM batteries?
While used OEM batteries can provide cost savings, only do so if you can verify date codes, prior usage, and test condition. Their lifespan may be diminished.
Should I rely on battery warranties?
Battery warranties give important protections if the product is defective or fails prematurely. But you must go through an authorized dealer for claim support typically.
What’s the average lifespan of an OEM battery?
When properly maintained, most OEM batteries last 4-6 years. Heat, cold, frequent short trips, added accessories diminish longevity. Only use OEM-approved replacement batteries.
Don’t waste money on questionable batteries. With savvy shopping and a critical eye, you can confidently obtain the right replacement battery made to the vehicle manufacturer’s strict standards. Insist on an authentic OEM battery with full warranty for optimal performance and longevity.