Your vehicle will not operate without a battery. The factors that determine car battery prices are the make and model of the car, the cold cranking amps, the warranty you want on the battery, and the overall quality of the battery. Not every car uses the same type of battery, and installing the wrong kind of battery can damage your vehicle’s electrical system.
Car Battery Replacement Cost
Any new car battery’s cost is determined by the make and model of the car. After that, the consumer can choose between a budget, mid-range, or high quality battery. While the warranty on premium batteries are generally longer, a budget battery will do just as good a job of starting your car. Car battery prices start at around $50 for budget brand batteries and go upwards of $100 for premium brands with extended warranties.
When choosing your battery, it is important to find the right size. Auto parts stores have guide books that list all makes and models of vehicles and which battery size they require. Many retail stores that carry batteries also have small computer guides where you can enter what kind of car you have and find out quickly what size battery you need.
All batteries lose life over time. So, when choosing your battery, make sure you find one that is less than six month old. Batteries will lose power even just sitting on the shelf, especially if the area is not temperature controlled. You might have to look carefully, as the manufacturers typically note when the battery was made with a code referring to the month and the year. For example, a battery with a code A10 might refer to January, 2010.
Where To Buy A Car Battery
If your car battery fails late at night, and you need your car for work early the next day, then you choices might be limited to one of the 24 hour retail stores. If it is at all possible, avoid purchasing your battery at these stores. It can be difficult to know how fresh that battery is, and they cannot help you with the installation.
You are much better off going to a store that specializes in batteries or auto parts. Stores that specialize in batteries will have larger inventory turnover, meaning that their batteries have not been sitting on the shelf as long. Stores like AutoZone generally stay open as late as 9PM. AutoZone, as well as Pep Boys and other similar chains, will also help you with free installation of your battery. This can be important as installing your battery incorrectly can ultimately damage your alternator or other parts of your vehicle’s electrical system.
Car Battery Sizes
Car battery prices are also largely determined by the size of the battery. The size of the battery is the length, width, and height of the battery. A battery that is not the right size will not fit properly inside the car. You also might not be able to get the battery cable to fit around the terminals if the battery is the wrong size. Purchasing and installing the wrong sized car battery can also do damage to your car’s electrical system.
The best place to find the correct size information for your automobile battery is in your vehicle’s owner’s manual. The important numbers that you are looking for are the group size. If the battery currently in your car is the original factory battery, then you can find the correct group size on that battery. Auto parts shops also have guides that will show you what group size you need for your particular car.
Car Battery Brands
Some battery brands have great reputations for quality and dependability. Car battery prices from those brand names are typically higher than with other discount brands. One of the largest manufacturers of discount automobile batteries is Duralast. Their replacement batteries generally run about $50. Interstate is also a popular brand for car batteries. Their car battery prices start at $50 and go as high as $90. Interstate is known for having one of the best warranties on the market. Exide is another dependable yet affordable brand that is popular among automobile mechanics. Their prices are also in the $50 range. Optima makes batteries that are more powerful than average, and are very popular among high end car stereo enthusiasts. Their batteries start at about $150.
There is an advantage to going with a brand name battery. Generic batteries that are sold at large retail stores are notoriously less reliable than brand name batteries. The quality control procedure as to the proper handling and storage of these batteries is extremely lacking. Also, unless you know how to decipher the manufacture date code, it can be hard to tell how long that battery has been sitting on the shelf.
Electric Car Battery Cost
Electric car batteries are different than the batteries used by gas powered vehicles. A major difference is what the battery needs to do to keep the car running. With a gas powered vehicle, once the car is started the car battery does little more than run the air conditioner and radio. For an electric car, the battery runs the motor. Because of this workload, the battery in an electric car needs to be more powerful and longer lasting. It also needs to be rechargeable.
Electric car battery prices start at around $100 to $140. Batteries in this price range generally need to be recharged every 100 to 150 miles. For a longer lasting and more powerful battery, you can choose a lithium battery. Lithium car battery prices range from $500 to $700. These batteries last twice as long as regular electric car batteries, only needing to be recharged after 300 miles.
Recent news reports indicate that the lithium batteries in electric cars might pose a fire hazard in a crash. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has recently launched an investigation into this risk of fire after a battery that had been damaged during a crash test three weeks earlier erupted in flame. The fire started while the car was in storage and spread to several vehicles that had been parked nearby.