Batteries are perishable products and the ones for cars are no exception. Whilst the brand of the battery may matter, the greatest concern for the car owner who needs a new battery, should be the production date. You need a battery as fresh as possible!
The confusion facing shoppers lies in the fact that car batteries do not have their manufacture dates stated as plain dates. Rather, it’s embedded in a manufacturer code stamped on the battery. You will need to learn to read this code in order to get the best deal in terms of freshness.
The first 2 digits; a number and a letter are all you need to know the date of manufacture of a car battery. The number corresponds to year of manufacture; in this case 2013, and the letter the month of manufacture. ‘A’ stands for January and ‘L’ December. Some manufacturers skip the letter I, in such cases ‘M’ would stand for December. So the manufacture date of the battery with the stamp in the image is June 2013. Note that some manufacturers interchange the letter and the number so you may have F3D201 instead of 3FD201. Whatever the case, the number still stands for year and the letter for month. The stamp can usually be found in the top left corner of the casing.
Remember sellers would want to push their oldest stock to you, try to ensure you pick the freshest available, if not you may end up buying a new but almost expired battery!