Is your car battery dead and you want to learn more about the car battery replacement cost? Well, if that is the case, then you are at the right place because, in this article, there will be quite a bit to cover on this topic.
- Car Battery
- How It Works
- Average Life
- Why It Fails
- Testing It
Doing your research on the cost of a certain service is always a great idea. You just don’t want to go blindfolded and end up being ripped off by greedy mechanics. And trust me, there are a lot of these guys out there. Mechanics just want to deal with inexperienced people and in the end, rip them off for something simple as a car battery replacement.
And especially when it comes to something like this. This is a type of replacement that you can do by yourself and not pay hefty bills to mechanics to do this job on your car. There are basically two clamps on the terminals that you need to untighten and remove the battery. Our guide on how to safely disconnect a car battery has more details on this process.
Then place the new battery in, tighten the terminals and you will be good to go. Simple as that. But don’t worry because, in this article, we are going to try to help you out. First, we are going to learn what is a car battery and how it works. Then we are going to hear more about the reasons why this component fails.
Once we clear that out, we will cover the symptoms of a bad car battery. How you can test one with a multimeter and also the replacement and the car battery replacement cost? So, if you want to learn more, follow along.
Now before we dive into the replacement and the car battery replacement cost, let’s first take a look at what is a car battery. People are having similar issues and want to learn more about the basics of this problem. So, let’s further elaborate on this topic and try to understand more about this component of your car.
So, what is a car battery? Well, a car battery is basically your auxiliary power unit on the car. You just need to have an auxiliary power source in order to have a properly functioning vehicle.
Without this component, you will not be able to start the car, you will not be able to use the lights inside of the car, the radio, and so on. Car batteries are very useful.
These batteries store electricity. So, when you need to use the car, you have something to start up the engine.
Since the engine as you know works with the help of an electrical spark. And the battery is basically storing electricity that then will convert into a spark and turn on the engine.
Without this device, you will not be able to start the engine, unless you connect the terminals for the battery to a different car and start the engine. In other words, you will need to jump-start the car.
So, you see why car batteries are so important and crucial when it comes to starting a vehicle. Without them, driving a car on a daily basis would be close to impossible. But what is the car battery replacement cost?
About that, we are going to elaborate in a bit, now let’s take a look at how these batteries work.
How Do Car Batteries Work
Now that we learned more about what is a car battery and learned that this is basically the auxiliary power unit for your car that gives you the ability to start the engine and use the accessories. And now before we cover the symptoms and car battery replacement cost, let’s take a look at how car batteries work.
So, how does a car battery work? This battery design is known as a lead-acid battery. And this technology is very old. Much older than the cars.
It was invented by the French physicist Gaston Plante back in 1859. This was in fact the first rechargeable battery invented. So, this design withstood the test of time, and even in the 21st century, we are still using lead-acid batteries for auxiliary power.
A lot of people are confusing this type of battery with lithium-ion batteries. And you should definitely not do that. Since even though they are batteries. They work on a very different principle.
The lead acid battery as its name implies works with the help of sulfuric acid and lead metal.
Inside the battery housing, there are six different cells. Each cell is storing about 2v of power. So, in total there is 12v of power.
And in each cell, there is sulfuric acid and two lead plates as electrodes. And here a chemical process occurs between the lead and acid that charges the battery.
What is worth noting is that there are a few other types of batteries. The first is the Enhanced Flooded Battery (EFB) used on cars with start-stop technology.
There is the absorbent glass mat battery (AGM), and there are also lithium-ion batteries designed for this purpose. But what about the car battery replacement cost? More on that, in a moment.
Average Car Battery Life
Now let’s cover the average car battery life before we discuss more about car battery replacement cost. What is the average battery life of a lead-acid battery?
Well, the average life of this type of battery is about 2 years. These batteries do not last for a very long time. But this doesn’t mean that this is the case with every battery.
It is a strange case, that OEM batteries that come with the car when you purchase it, as well as some of the batteries that are on the higher end last for up to 10 years in some cases. So, why is this the case?
Well, probably the build quality matters. Even though the technology is pretty much the same, some companies that are on the higher end of the spectrum are doing better work at building these batteries. You can learn more by checking out our write-up on who makes Super Start batteries.
So, more expensive batteries generally last longer. While your regular battery lasts for about two years.
In addition to this, there are also some other factors that affect the battery life. And more about that, we are going to learn more in the following chapter before we dive into the symptoms of a failing battery, as well as the car battery replacement cost.
Why Do Car Batteries Fail
So, we covered the average battery life, now let’s take a look at why car batteries fail. What makes them fail? Let’s further elaborate on this topic before we learn more about the car battery replacement cost.
Car batteries can fail for many reasons. But the first reason is probably the build quality. Some of these makers that are producing cheap batteries do not go that extra mile to improve the battery life. They just make the battery last long enough so the warranty expires, and after the warranty expires, the battery dies. This is a very common thing when you are dealing with cheap batteries.
The next probable cause of why your battery dies is because of bad ignition components. For example, if you have bad wires, coils, or spark plugs. Also, if you have bad crankshaft or camshaft position sensors, it is highly likely that the battery will die. Why is this the case?
Well, this is the case because you are cranking the car a lot. And this puts a lot of stress on the battery and its longevity. A car should start with a single click. Simple as that. If it does not start immediately, something is wrong. And you should make sure that you fix the problem.
Another thing that can affect battery life is the way you use your car. For example, if you travel short distances. The battery does not have enough time to charge. So, it will be constantly empty. This consequently will kill the battery.
And lastly, what kills car batteries is cold weather. So, if you live in a state where winters are really cold, you will experience more frequent battery failures compared to states where the climate is warmer. But what about the car battery replacement cost? More in a moment.
Bad Car Battery Symptoms
Now that we learned more about the main causes of why car batteries fail. Before we dive into the car battery replacement cost, let’s discuss a bit about the symptoms that a bad or weak battery will produce.
We will elaborate in detail on each of the symptoms that are associated with this problem and learn more about what you can expect when you face a problem like this with your car.
Car Battery Replacement Cost, Symptoms #1: Battery Light On
The first symptom on our list of bad battery symptoms is the situation where you have the battery light on.
If you didn’t know, on the cluster, you have a light dedicated specifically to the battery. And this light can turn on whenever the battery is low on charge.
But what is worth noting is that this doesn’t necessarily have to mean that your car battery is bad. It could be the alternator that is bad and not charging, there could be the voltage regulator as well. As such, you’ll have to diagnose whether it’s a bad alternator vs a bad battery and remember how long do alternators last…
As is when a new alternator is not charging your battery (and remembering how long does it take to replace an alternator). So, whenever you notice this battery light, it is important that you test the battery before you look for the battery replacement cost.
Car Battery Replacement Cost, Symptoms #2: Car Is Difficult To Start
The second symptom that we are going to cover before we learn the car battery replacement cost is the situation when your car is difficult to start.
Whenever the car battery is low on power because of a dead cell, or weak charge, the car would be difficult to start. Why is this the case?
Well, let’s say that one of the cells in the battery died. Each battery has six cells. And each cell delivers 2 volts, so 12 volts in total.
So, if a cell dies, you will only have 10 volts. And this will result in poor starting power. The car will tend to crank a lot before it finally starts.
This is why you should definitely try to sort out the problem if your car tends to crank a lot before it starts. Because it could mean that the battery is in poor health. Once you diagnosed this battery, you can move on and learn the car battery replacement cost. And more about that, we will cover in a bit.
For more insight into this specific issue, you can check out our explainer on why your car won’t start with a new battery. Or, why your car won’t start but the battery is good. Alternatively, if you have a new battery but your car won’t start without a jump.
Car Battery Replacement Cost, Symptoms #3: Clicking Sound When Trying To Start
The next symptom on our list that we are going to cover before we learn about the car battery replacement cost is the clicking sound. So, why a clicking sound?
Well, if the battery does not hold enough voltage in order for the engine to crank, there will be a rapid clicking sound that will develop instead of the engine cranking.
This sound is created by the starter motor. So, if you hear a rapid clicking sound from the engine compartment, you just know that this sound is caused by the starter.
And the core cause of this problem is the battery. Which in this case, does not hold electricity and has to be replaced. But what about the car battery replacement cost? More about the cost will elaborate in a moment.
Again, you can check out our in-depth overview of why your car won’t start but there’s a clicking noise.
Car Battery Replacement Cost, Symptoms #4: Lights Start To Flicker Or Get Dim
The next symptom on our list of symptoms that indicate a weak battery is the situation when the lights of your car start to flicker or get dim.
So, if you notice that your headlights are outputting relatively dim light and you can barely look in front of you during the night, can mean that the battery is bad.
First of all, this is a very dangerous situation because you lack vision. You just don’t see what is happening in front of your car. This is why it is really important to act quickly.
First, you need to test the battery. Secondly, you need to replace it. But what is the car battery replacement cost? More on the costs, we are going to further elaborate in the following chapters in great detail. Now let’s finish the symptoms.
Car Battery Replacement Cost, Symptoms #5: Dim Dashboard Lights
Another very common symptom on our list of symptoms that indicate a bad battery is the situation where you have dim or flickering lights inside of the car.
Let’s say that you drive the car and the lights on the inside get dimmer and dimmer. Then they all of a sudden turn on again. Or in some cases when the battery is completely empty, they just turn off.
This clearly indicates a problem with the battery. And this problem needs to be sorted out in order for you to make sure that there are no further repercussions.
We are saying this because low voltage can damage some of the electronics. And you don’t want to play this game with your car. That’s why you should learn more about car battery replacement cost. But more on that, we are going to cover it in a bit.
Car Battery Replacement Cost, Symptoms #6: Visible Acid Leaks And Corrosion
The next symptom on our list is the situation where you have visible leaks and corrosion. If you have a bad battery, then it can more than often start to release some acid.
And this acid will start to come off from the terminals. This will mean that there will be corrosion development on the terminals as well. This is otherwise called battery terminal corrosion.
So, if you notice corrosion on the terminals, it is definitely checking the condition of the battery and if it holds power or not. If not, you will have to pay the car battery replacement cost.
Car Battery Replacement Cost, Symptoms #7: Low Battery Fluid
And the last symptom on our list is low battery fluid. On some batteries, you can remove the screws for each of the cells and top them off with distilled water.
If the cells are running low on fluid, your battery will probably perform badly. So, if you remove one of these and there is a low amount of sulfuric acid, it means that the battery is probably toast. But how you can test a battery? Let’s elaborate more on that before we learn about the car battery replacement cost.
Testing A Car Battery
Now before we learn more about the car battery replacement cost, let’s take a look at the procedure that is involved in testing the car battery on your car.
For this purpose, you will need a multimeter. A multimeter is a special tool that will tell you that you have a bad battery. With this tool, you can measure voltage and other electrical properties.
But for our purpose, the measurement we are interested in is voltage. So, what you can do is tweak the multimeter to measure volts.
Then place the red probe do the positive and the black on the negative. If you need additional references, check out our guide on positive or negative first when connecting a battery. A good battery should produce at least 12v.
Then start the engine and leave the probes on the car. In this case, when the car is running, the voltage should increase close to 14v. If the voltage when the car is running is below 13.5v, it could mean that you have a bad battery or bad alternator (which can be further diagnosed once you learn how to know if alternator is bad), or if it’s higher than 14.5v, it means that the voltage regulator is bad. The latter are common symptoms of a bad voltage regulator.
Car Battery Replacement
Replacing the battery is a very straightforward procedure. For this job, you will need a 10 mm wrench.
Then with this wrench, you just loosen up the bolts and remove the clamps. Once you are done, place the new battery in and tighten up the clamps. Then you will be good to go.
Nonetheless, before you replace the battery in your car, there are other considerations that you have to make beforehand. That includes shopping around for the best car battery brand. Or, figuring out what car battery sizes you need. Then, you need to worry about other variables, such as how many amps is a 12-volt battery, and how much does a car battery weigh.
Car Battery Replacement Cost
Now let’s move on and learn more about the car battery replacement cost. How expensive it is to replace the battery on your car? In other words, how much is a new car battery (and how long does a car battery last)?
Well, the cheapest price for this replacement is about $100. The cheapest batteries usually go in this range. If you want to get a better quality battery, you can end up spending about $250 on this replacement.
Also, if you do this job at a shop, you can expect to pay about $100 for the labor. If you do it at home, it would be free.
Best Place To Buy Car Battery
When it comes to the best place to buy a car battery, this place is probably Autozone (for more resources, check out our guide on how much is a car battery at Autozone), they have excellent deals. O’Reilly is another good place where you can buy auto parts.
Or if you don’t want to go and buy in person, you can also order a battery from Amazon. This is also a very good option if you don’t have time. The following two batteries are the most highly rated ones on Amazon.
Car Battery Replacement Cost: In Conclusion…
In this article, we have covered quite a bit when it comes to the battery. First, we learned what are car batteries and how they work.
We also covered the service life of these batteries, why they fail, and what is produced with weak car battery symptoms. Then we discussed more about how to test a car battery and the car battery replacement cost.
FAQs On Car Battery Replacement Cost
Now let’s answer some frequently asked questions.
How Much Is A Car Battery
A car battery is not that expensive. A new car battery on average costs about $90 to $110. Still, if you want something better, you will pay a bit more than this. So, you have to be prepared for this. But old-school designs go in the range of $90 to $110.
Where To Buy Car Battery
You can buy batteries in a lot of places. Parts car shops like Autozone and O’Reilly have them readily available. You can also buy them at gas stations, Walmart, and Costco. Also, online on websites like Amazon.
How To Change A Car Battery
Changing a car battery is a relatively simple process. You only need a 10 mm wrench to loosen up the bolts that hold the clamps for the terminals. Then just slide them out and replace the battery. Repeat the process with the new battery.
How Long Does It Take To Change A Car Battery
Usually, it doesn’t take more than 10 minutes. If it’s your first time, it could take you longer. But not longer than 30 minutes overall. It is a fairly simple process.
Does Autozone Install Batteries
Yes, they install car batteries for free. If you buy a battery from Autozone, they will install this battery on your car for free. Which is an excellent deal. So, check them out and get your battery replaced.
Does Costco Sell Car Batteries
Yes, you can purchase a battery from Costco. Costco sells batteries from the brand Interstate. These come in two variations, the standard flooded battery. As well as the Absorbed Glass Mat or AGM battery. AGM batteries are more advanced. And also more expensive. In addition to this, these batteries come with a 36-month limited warranty.