Car batteries don’t necessarily cost that much.
In fact, with replacement services, it’s the parts that actually make the bulk of the costs and not the service rendered since it’s not too difficult of a task.
Despite this, car batteries are still fairly inexpensive compared to other automotive maintenance tasks.
It has been estimated that the average price for car batteries run from $90 to over $150 depending on the type and size.
Lead-acid batteries are the most common type of car battery and they’re also the cheapest.
There are also premium batteries that could reach prices of over $250 with the most advanced ones being priced around $300 and more.
Battery Replacement Service Rates
If you are well-familiar with your car and bear adequate mechanical knowledge, then, you may be able to pull off a battery replacement service on your vehicle by yourself.
But if you’re not feeling up to the task, you can always choose to go the easier route: hiring an experienced mechanic to replace your car’s battery for you.
Doing so may cost you around $50 to $100 with most companies offering an average of $70 for the service.
However, if you choose to go through this route, why not first ask the place where you bought your car battery if they offer battery replacement services as well because oftentimes, they would do it free of charge if not at a cheaper price.
Factors That Influence Car Battery Cost
The prices for car batteries tend to vary and there are a number of factors at play that influence the rise and fall of these prices.
- Battery Lifespan
The estimated lifespan of a battery plays a significant role in raising car battery price.
Basically, the longer the lifespan of a battery is, the more expensive it would be.
Batteries are expected to last for about 4 years. However, you may find more expensive brands that could last up to 6 years with proper care and maintenance.
- Battery Size
While batteries come in many sizes, they are normally classified into various size groups – each of which is attributed to specific brands or types of vehicles.
Battery size or size group basically means the height, width, and length of the battery.
When you buy the wrong battery for your car, you’re setting yourself up for failure as you’d only end up wasting money and doing more harm to your vehicle than good. The car battery that you choose should fit securely and snugly at your car’s battery tray.
To know which group size your car’s battery belongs to, you can refer to the manufacturer’s manual or consult battery retailers to help you out. Usually, these retailers would provide a size chart that would help you determine what size your car’s battery is.
Larger batteries would usually cost more given that they have more power and reserve time than smaller ones.
Brands that hold a higher prestige and quality, or those that are popularly known, would no doubt cost more than those that aren’t.
Probably the best thing to do is stick with the brand specified on your car manual. But if you feel like it is too expensive, do not be afraid to ask a specialist regarding which ones would be a suitable replacement so that you could cut down on costs.
Never settle for the cheapest brand because it may cost you more in the long run if you consider the frequent battery changes for when the brand of battery seems faulty.
- Age of the Vehicle
Older cars are unsurprisingly in less need of a new and more expensive car battery because their outdated builds do not require the same draw of power and demand from batteries like new cars do. On the other hand, newer cars are subject to the modern standards and would thus need greater amperage, as well as higher CCA values.
What’s more is that when you have an older vehicle, chances are you wouldn’t be keeping it for any longer which is why you should spend less on batteries especially when you plan on having your car replaced.
Different Types of Car Batteries
Before you go buy a new battery for your vehicle, you should first determine which type is suitable for your car. There are basically three types of car batteries for you to choose from: Wet, VRLA, and Calcium Alloy batteries.
1) Wet Cell Batteries
These are the traditional lead-acid batteries that are mainly used for automotive purposes. Oftentimes, wet cell batteries need maintenance because the water in the diluted acid has to be replaced or topped off from time to time.
Wet cell batteries mainly have two types: SLI and Deep Cycle.
- SLI – These batteries are made for quickly starting the car. SLI means starting, lighting, and ignition and this type of battery can send fast and powerful waves to quickly power up the vehicle’s engine, lighting, and motor. As soon as the car starts running, it will then be sustained by the alternator.
- Deep Cycle – This type of battery is named as such because it can be discharged for a great number of times, able to provide energy for long periods, unlike SLI batteries that would definitely be compromised by the repeated use. This battery is designed for long-term use.
2) VRLA Batteries
Known as the valve-regulated lead-acid battery, the VRLA is the perfect battery to use in confined and unventilated spaces because it is sealed.
Furthermore, the VRLA battery is considered as the safest wet cell lead-acid battery out there because of its inability to leak and release hydrogen gas. Unfortunately, because they are sealed, they can’t really be serviced, unlike wet cell batteries.
With VRLA batteries, there are two types namely the gel cell battery and the AGM.
- Gel Cell – The main difference gel cell batteries have from the wet cell variety is that instead of having the same electrolyte-rich battery fluid, this battery’s cells are covered in a gel-like substance. This substance also contains electrolyte but the solidity makes the gel cell batteries extremely tough, being able to withstand extremely hot temperatures and physical shock.
Furthermore, their solidity makes them immune from spillage as well as electrolyte evaporation. A far as functions go, they don’t differ that much from wet cell batteries.
- Absorbed Glass Mat – This is another dry cell battery that does not employ the use of regular battery fluid. Rather than having flooded plates, the AGM battery has electrolytes contained inside a cluster of thin fibers that form the glass mats.
3) Calcium-Calcium Battery
Just like VRLA batteries, this is a type of sealed lead-acid battery that requires no maintenance whatsoever. This battery makes use of calcium rather than antimony in its plates. This gives the calcium-calcium battery a number of perks including corrosion resistance, lower self-discharge, and less water usage.
Silver can also be added to the material in the battery making it more resistant to high temperatures. When this happens, the battery is often called a silver calcium alloy battery.
When Should You Replace Your Car Battery?
Every battery comes with a capacity to charge power and as they age, this capacity decreases.
Most of the time, it isn’t hard to spot a car with a dying battery because it often exhibits the following signs:
- A dying battery may not feed enough power to the car for it to start. One of the most common problems associated with this is when the engine cranks and the car is turned on but it won’t start. This is because the cranking of the engine is not powerful enough to start the car. Sometimes the problem lies with the starter but usually, the cause is a dying battery or one that lacks the necessary voltage to bring the car to life. Using jumper cables or a jump-starter box usually does the trick.
- If a car is unable to even crank its engine, then, there is without a doubt that the problem is with the battery. If the car is devoid of all life, you might want to check on your alternator as well.
- If the electrical components of the car such as the lighting or the security system begin to malfunction, it’s time to get your battery tested and if necessary, replaced.
- A battery replacement may be needed when the charging system or the battery warning light is lit up.
- Lastly, you would know that your battery needs to be replaced when you had jumped your car too many times already. When your car won’t start every other day, or you need to jumpstart it three times a week, that is when a new battery is truly needed.
It doesn’t matter whether your battery is old or new. When you jump start your car, you’re basically shocking the battery to life and by doing so would also be damaging the starter, alternator, and the overall battery as well.
How To Get Prolonged Battery Life?
How long a car battery lasts depends on several factors:
The colder the temperature, the lesser the chemical activity; and with this being said, the battery works considerably less during cold climates. This will increase the battery’s lifespan because the liquid inside it will be less likely to evaporate.
Batteries come with various climate specifications.
Oftentimes, people would buy their cars (and their batteries) at warmer places only to relocate to a colder location. The change in climate may be detrimental to the battery and could end up shortening its life.
If you want to extend the life and functionality of your car’s battery, make sure to conduct regular servicing on it. This means that the battery line should be cleaned and maintained along with its terminals, the water should be topped up, and the battery fully charged.
When you send your car to the station to be serviced, be sure to remind them to pay attention to the battery.
- Charging System
If a car isn’t properly charged, you should expect problems to arise. Using a poor charging system on your car battery may cause the alternator to provide insufficient voltage to the vehicle. When this happens, the battery’s power may drain faster than normal and will also affect the vehicle’s other components.
When you overuse your car, you are sure to shorten your battery’s lifespan.
However, there are ways for you to control this. When not in use, leave the car’s lights, radio, and AC off so that they don’t further consume your battery’s power. On the other hand, when the usage is low, the battery may suffer from sulfurization. This happens when the lead battery is deprived of a full charge.
Over time, the battery’s terminals will corrode and when this happens, the flow of current will be impaired; thus, inhibiting its functionality.
Thankfully, there are commercially available chemicals designed to clean away corrosion when it happens.