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In the most simple of terms, a car’s battery is what provides it with electrical power. Without electrical power your car won’t run at all, so it is an extremely important component that must be kept in good working order, just as with all the other parts of your car if it is to run efficiently and perform as it was intended to do.
Replacing your car battery will usually cost between $118 – $216, with most of those costs coming from the part rather than the labor. The repair itself is normally a straightforward job, so the real cost comes from buying the new battery.
Car Battery Replacement Cost Comparison
Below are a list of sample car battery replacement costs from the leading garage chains in the USA. Expect the price you pay to be different depending on where you live and what kind of car you drive.
|Parts & labor||12 months||$115 – $225|
|Parts & labor||12 months||$110 – $211|
|Parts & labor||12 months||$114 – $231|
|Parts & labor||6 Months||$105 – $249|
|Parts||Limited||$49 – $199|
|Parts||Limited||$35 – $180|
What Is The Car Battery?
Your car’s battery is a rechargeable battery that is usually charged by a device in your vehicle called an alternator. An alternator converts the physical energy of your car’s engine into electricity which charges the battery. But when you first start your engine, there is no electricity being generated by the alternator as there is no movement, so the battery needs to provide the electrical power to get it started.
The construction of a car battery is quite simple: there is a plastic case that holds all of the inner components of the battery; there are plates of lead, or an alloy that contains lead, that are called the positive and negative plates; these are arranged in a grid-like formation and are covered in a mud-like paste of sulfuric acid, lead oxide powder, and water. To prevent a short circuit these plates must remain separated and this is done by placing thin sheets of a porous material between them. These are called separators.
Battery elements are formed by pairing a positive and a negative plate and separator; when this is done the component is called a cell, of which there are a number in the battery. These cells are connected with a metal that will conduct electricity.
The battery cells are covered with a solution called electrolyte; this is a solution of water and sulfuric acid; this is often referred to as battery fluid.
On top of your car’s battery are two lead terminals that allow it to be connected to the electrical systems of your car via electrical circuitry. Most car batteries are rated at 12 volts.
Benefits Of Car Battery Replacement
Your car’s battery is what enables you to start the engine by providing power to the starter motor. It also provides power for your car’s lights, stereo, window motors if fitted, powered seats, computer and anything else that works by electrical power.
If your car’s battery doesn’t work properly you will experience problems in starting your car and in the way that the electrical systems function. Quite simply put, no electrical power, no drive; so making sure your battery is up to the job it is intended to do is a vital part of maintaining your car.
Batteries discharge their electricity when drawn upon, but the alternator puts electricity back into them as the vehicle is driven.
Most people will have heard of the term ‘dead battery’ often used when a car won’t start. Batteries that have completely discharged all of their electricity will not be able to start a car, but it does not mean that they are completely dead; then can be recharged either through a battery charger or through the car being given a ‘jump start’ – with electricity from another vehicle being used to start the engine – and then driven so that the alternator can do its work and recharge the battery. When a battery becomes worn through frequent use, it can no longer be recharged and needs to be replaced.
The benefit of replacing batteries regularly is that you eliminate the possibility of being stranded without a running car.
When Should You Have The Car Battery Replaced?
It may seem obvious, but the simple answer to this is when it ceases to hold as much of an electrical charge as it did when it was new. Batteries corrode with time and cease to hold and deliver as much power as when they were new.
If you try to start your car’s engine and it either won’t start, or the engine sounds much slower and labored during the starting process, chances are you need a new battery. Electrical systems such as lights may be affected when starting your engine and this will also mean there is not as much power available as there should be, so time to have the battery checked and if necessary changed.
Of course if your car’s battery is damaged in any way during maintenance or accident, it should be changed.
Your car’s instrumentation may illuminate a warning lamp to indicate that there is a problem with your battery or electrical system and this will mean they have to be checked, and if necessary the battery replaced.
Most car mechanics will visibly check a battery when servicing, and they can test a battery using specialist equipment to see if it needs replacement. It is always wise to take the advice of a mechanic if battery replacement is recommended.
What Is Done During Car Battery Replacement?
Car batteries are not always located in the same position within a vehicle. Often it is under the bonnet, but they can also be located in the boot, under the floor, behind a seat, or other locations. The type of car your drive will dictate where the battery is located, so the obvious first thing to be done when replacing a battery is to find out where it is. The car owner’s manual will describe where the battery is located.
Basic steps followed when replacing a car battery are:
- Secure the vehicle
- Locate the battery
- Remove any covering over the battery
- The battery terminals are labelled
- The negative terminal is disconnected first
- Followed by the positive terminal
- The battery is released from its housing
- The battery is removed
- The new battery is fitted
- The positive terminal is connected
- The negative terminal is connected
New Car Battery Cost Examples
Replacing the battery in your car isn’t especially time-intensive, so labor costs are usually pretty low. The real expense comes from the part itself, which can vary depending on the make and model of your vehicle.
|Ford F-Series||$39 – $50||$79 – $121||$118 – $171|
|Chevrolet Silverado||$39 – $50||$79 – $121||$118 – $171|
|Ford Focus||$47 – $60||$110 – $149||$157 – $209|
|Toyota Camry||$24 – $30||$100 – $147||$124 – $177|
|Toyota Corolla||$25 – $30||$100 – $147||$124 – $177|
|Nissan Altima||$55 – $70||$109 – $146||$164 – $216|
|Honda CR-V||$24 – $30||$103 – $147||$127 – $177|
|Honda Civic||$24 – $30||$96 – $122||$120 – $152|
|Honda Accord||$24 – $30||$99 – $146||$123 – $176|
|Ford Fusion||$24 – $30||$99 – $146||$123 – $176|