How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Car Battery

A car battery is just as important to how your car runs as gasoline, but car batteries can be a lot less intuitive than fuel. Knowing when and how to replace a car battery can be difficult, as well as knowing how much a replacement car battery will cost.

The average price range of a new car battery is between $50 and $300 dollars, depending on the make and model of the vehicle as well as whether you go through a professional mechanic. Generally, the batteries in older, smaller, less powerful cars are easier to replace than new models or large trucks, although there are exceptions. 

Of course, before buying a replacement battery you need to know when to replace a car battery and if this should be done professionally or at home.

person holding black and green electronic device

How Much it Costs to Replace a Car Battery

To replace a car battery, you need to know when a car battery is no longer working, what it will cost to replace, and where you should go to replace it.

Signs You Need a New Battery

There are many telltale signs that your car battery has gone bad which you should be aware of, since replacing a drained battery fast is important to keeping your vehicle working. If your car has one of more of these symptoms you should look to replace the battery as soon as possible so your battery doesn’t die while you are out driving.

Additional electronic features stop working. The first sign that your battery is dying is some of the extra electronics on the vehicle stop working, like the lights and horn. Other features that can be affected are the radio, air conditioning, and power features like seats and mirrors. So, if these features start losing power or failing, then your battery may need replacing.

The engine has trouble starting. If it takes several cranks or button presses to start the engine, and the ignition doesn’t make noise when starting, then your battery may need to be replaced. Power from the battery is what ignites a car’s engine so if the battery is not working properly starting the car becomes difficult, if not impossible.

Corrosion and warping around the battery housing. As car batteries lose their charge, they tend to start corroding and leaking caustic chemicals into your car. If the terminals on your batteries start breaking down or the battery housing starts to fall apart this is a good sign you need a new battery as soon as possible.

Cost of a Replacement Car Battery

As a general rule, the average car battery costs between $50 and $150 dollars for the battery itself without any further service or installation. With a professional mechanic’s help the price jumps from between $200 to $300 dollars, although the cost for either a lone battery or a replacement service changes based on a few key factors.

Make and Model. The style of car you have greatly affects the price of a replacement battery, with larger, high performance vehicles needing larger, more powerful batteries. The more powerful a battery has to be in order to work with your truck, the more it will cost to replace that battery later.

Age. Older models of car generally have less sophisticated and powerful batteries, so they are easier to replace than the batteries in more modern vehicles. At the same time, if a car is extremely old or obscure this may increase the price as the correct battery has to be special ordered by you or the mechanic.

Cleaning. If you need to replace a battery because your current battery has corroded or is damaged in some way, that will cost extra since the mechanic will have to be extra careful removing the battery. They will also have to clean and repair the battery housing before installing the replacement, adding to the time and cost of the service.

Professional vs At Home Installation

Once you’ve found a car battery, you’ll need to decide whether you want to install it yourself or go to a professional mechanic, as both methods have different benefits.

Professional Installation

The most common way to install a new car battery is to have a professional mechanic handle the installation, since you will have to buy your new battery from a mechanic or auto parts store.

Mechanical Knowledge. A professional mechanic will understand more about automotive repair and replacing parts than the average car owner, which helps them replace batteries safely and more efficiently.

Specialized Tools. Mechanics have more equipment which can help them replace a car battery without damaging your vehicle. This also helps them work more quickly and deal with problems like battery corrosion and damaged battery housing.

Access to Parts. Whether through their store or through specific online retailers, professional mechanics have greater access to special parts and components compared to the average car owner, which helps them find batteries more easily.

At-Home Installation

Another option for replacing your car battery is to simply buy a replacement battery and install it yourself at home. Make sure you have the tools necessary to change a battery at home, such as screwdrivers and socket wrenches.

Lower Cost. With an at-home battery installation, you don’t have to pay for the services of a professional mechanic. Depending on the type of battery you are buying, this can easily slash the price of replacing a car battery in half.

Faster Turnaround. Professional mechanics often need time to gather their materials and work on a project, during which time you can’t use your car. Replacing a car battery at home lets you set your own pace and work around your schedule for faster results.

Reliability. Mechanics can sometimes be unreliable, either in how quickly they work or in the quality of their work. If you replace your car’s battery yourself, you can make sure you do a thorough job and that your work holds up.

Conclusion

While knowing how to spot a failing battery and how to price a replacement are helpful, there is more understand about your car’s battery life.

How to Extend your Car Battery Life

There are a number of ways to make sure you get the most out of your car battery by increasing the overall life of the battery. These range from general habits that save battery life to regular maintenance tips that will not only help your car battery, but your entire car as well.

It is important to remember that all of your car’s components impact each other, so improving one area can strengthen others. As such, each of the following tips and techniques will not only help preserve your car battery but can help your entire car as well.

  • Regularly check your battery to make sure it isn’t leaking or corroding.
  • Clean your car battery terminals often.
  • Take long car rides instead of short ones.
  • Make sure your battery is securely fastened and connected.
  • Turn off all lights and electronics before you exit the vehicle.
  • Don’t use electronic features while the car is idle.
  • Take your car in for regular tune-ups and repairs.

Also, it is important to keep in mind that extreme weather can cause your car battery to wear out faster, either by losing charge in extreme heat or working harder in extreme cold. There is not much you can do to stop this effect, so you should check your batteries more often if you live in a very hot or very cold area.

Frequently Asked Questions About Replacing Car Batteries

While knowing the cost of a replacement car battery can be helpful in replacing a drained or damaged battery, it doesn’t help with actually knowing where to get replacement batteries. Where and how to get a battery replaced is one of the most common questions people ask, and some common answers can be found below.

Does Walmart Replace Car Batteries? Yes, Walmart will replace a car battery but only if the store has a Walmart Auto Center attached to the building, otherwise they can’t help. It should be noted that installation is free if you buy the battery at Walmart, or if you are collecting the warranty on a broken battery bought from Walmart.

Does O’Reilly Replace Batteries? Yes, O’Reilly Autoparts will not only replace a damaged car battery, but if you buy a battery from another location, they will still check the battery during maintenance and tune-ups. O’Reilly also sells batteries on location, making replacing a bad battery that much easier when visiting.

Does AutoZone Replace Batteries? Yes, AutoZone will replace a car battery from their store as long as it is not located in a difficult area, but they will not replace batteries from other stores. This means you will have to go somewhere else if you have a unique car or if you bought your initial battery from another retailer.

Does Insurance Pay To replace Car Batteries? No, generally speaking car insurance does not cover minor repairs and replacements such as getting a new car battery. Even if the battery was damaged as part of an accident that warrants using insurance money, replacing the battery itself will not be covered.

Wrap Up

Since a working car battery is essential to keeping your vehicle running, it is important to know what it might cost to replace one. This can range from $50 dollars for a cheap, at-home repair to $300 for a high-end, professional job. If you have any further questions about car batteries and car repair, please comment with them below.

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