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The 101 of AGM high performance batteries.

Guest Contributor February 06, 2018
A CAA driver jump starting a car and showing a thumbs up.
Aaah, the joys of winter driving. There’s nothing quite like the sinking feeling you get when, after spending 40 minutes clearing the mound of snow that accumulated on and around your car, you hit the starter and the dashboard lights up… but the engine stays sound asleep. In the vast majority of cases, you’re likely dealing with battery troubles.

Is there a way around this or is it just part of the charm of living in a winter wonderland?

Well, if your battery is the traditional, flooded lead-acid type, we may have good news for you.

Battery types – flooded lead-acid versus AGM.

The flooded lead-acid battery is the oldest type of rechargeable battery, invented in 1859 by French physicist Gaston Planté. The design has stood the test of time because it is affordable, powerful and (generally) dependable. Even today, lead-acid technology is used as a backup power source in hospitals and for other applications where an uninterruptible power supply is required.

AGM stands for “Absorbed Glass Mat”. It has been around for several decades, but only recently has it started seeing regular use in passenger vehicles. It is also a type of lead-acid battery, just one with a different design that was optimized for use in modern vehicles. AGM is especially good at dealing with the power demands of modern cars with their start-stop systems, GPS systems, multiple LCD screens and cell phone charging.
A CAA Premium Car Battery

Pros and cons of AGM.

AGM has several upsides compared to traditional flooded lead-acid batteries.

For one, it is completely maintenance-free, whereas traditional lead-acid batteries need to be occasionally topped up with liquid to keep their electrode plates fully submerged.

AGM batteries, on the other hand, have just enough liquid in them to keep their glass mat wet, but not enough that a puncture would cause a spill. The mat also helps prevent evaporation, which contributes to its maintenance-free design.

AGM has a lower rate of self-discharge than flooded batteries. This means that your vehicle can sit unused for a longer period of time before the battery needs to be recharged (this is especially convenient for snowbirds with cars that spend nearly half the year under a cover!).

Also, AGM recharges itself up to five times faster than traditional lead-acid – so drivers who mostly cover short distances are at a lower risk of gradually depleting their battery. Starting an engine in the bitter cold is especially demanding on your battery, so having it stay at or close to full charge means that you’re much more likely to benefit from its full power when you engage the starter.

Finally, AGM is better at dealing with deep discharge, which most commonly happens when you forget to turn off your headlights or when the extreme cold weather forces you to keep cranking the engine for several minutes. Traditional lead-acid can quickly degrade and lose some of its overall capacity when it’s used in such a manner, whereas AGM is better at handling the occasional abuse.

What about the environment? Is one type of battery better than the other? Actually, it’s a draw on that front: both flooded lead-acid and AGM batteries are easily recycled. Virtually 100% of its materials can be reused to make brand new batteries!

The main downside of AGM is its cost. The batteries are more expensive to manufacture, which translates into a  higher price tag than that of a traditional lead-acid.  But what’s great is Members enjoy exclusive CAA Premium Battery pricing that’s $25 lower than the non-member price.1 PLUS Premium Members earn 20 CAA Dollars® on their battery purchase.2

And with a 6-year total warranty, if your battery fails within the first 3 years, you’ll get a free replacement. After 3 years, you’re protected by our discounted guarantee.

Looking to replace your current car battery with an AGM?

Call *222 or get a free online quote to determine whether CAA’s mobile Battery Service offers AGM for your vehicle.


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+ Terms and Conditions

1 CAA Members automatically receive Member-exclusive pricing on the purchase of a new CAA Premium Battery, compared to the retail (non-member) price. CAA mobile Battery Service Member benefit subject to availability by geographical area. Call 1-800-222-4357 for location details. CAA Battery representatives will deliver, install and recycle your battery at no extra cost, upon purchase of a new CAA Premium Battery.

2 For CAA Premier Members, 20 CAA Dollars to be added to Primary Member’s account within 4-6 weeks of CAA Premium Battery purchase. 1 CAA Dollar = $1 CAD.

Service Providers will deliver, install and recycle your battery at no extra cost, upon purchase of a new battery. Battery Services may not be available in your area. This will count as one (1) service call unless a new battery is purchased at the time of the call. However, an unsuccessful battery service that results in a towing service call, will count as a single service call.

CAA Dollars Terms & Conditions
To earn and redeem CAA Dollars, you must be a current CAA Member in good standing (CAA Membership dues paid in full by membership expiry date). CAA Dollars cannot be converted into currency at any time, and cannot be used to purchase CAA Premium Batteries, or to pay any amounts owing on your CAA Rewards® Mastercard®. Do not let your membership lapse or you will forfeit any accumulated CAA Dollars. Your CAA Dollars will be automatically redeemed towards your CAA Membership renewal dues..