The problem I read about too often is people connecting the cables backwards. Other than that, you need to look at the "CCA" rating. That's an industry standardized way of rating batteries and stands for "cold cranking amps". There are formulas for determining the minimum size for your truck, but you're going to have a hard time finding one that's too small. Any battery store salesperson can help you pick the right battery. In general, bigger is better but will cost more.
You also have to look at the physical size and how it is bolted in. Light truck batteries typically have a shorter warranty period but they withstand vibration better than regular car batteries. That becomes a minor concern as they near the end of their life and the lead flakes off the plates faster leading to a shorted cell. The manufacturers know how fast that is likely to happen and base their warranties accordingly.
Since he '87 model year, GM has used a generator design that is notorious for developing harmful voltage spikes that can destroy the internal diodes and voltage regulator as well as interfere with computer sensor signals and cause running problems. They have a very high repeat failure rate, but to prevent that, replace the battery before it fails. The battery should also be replaced whenever the generator must be replaced. A good battery absorbs and dampens those spikes and reduces generator failures.
You shouldn't have computer trouble with a 2002 model, but on newer GM vehicles, some computers will lock up when the battery is disconnected, and they'll have to be reprogrammed or unlocked by the dealer, ($$$). Volkswagens are much much worse! To avoid that, you can buy a "memory saver" that plugs into the cigarette lighter, but they only work if the lighter works with the ignition switch off. I connect a small battery charger but in doing so you must be careful that the positive battery cable doesn't touch anything metal on the truck. Also, if one of the cables pops off, it's purpose has been defeated.
Tuesday, September 27th, 2011 AT 12:06 AM