How To Dispose Of Car Batteries

There are few places where you can dispose of car batteries.

How to dispose of a car battery is a serious business. It isn’t as simple as merely throwing the battery in the trash. Batteries contain hazardous chemicals which pose a threat to the environment. Because of the gravity of the issue, I have explored several car battery disposal methods that I want to share with you.

What is the proper way to dispose of car batteries? The proper way to dispose of car batteries are to bring it to a place that can safely deal with the battery on your behalf. It could be a recycling center, an auto parts & accessory shop, your battery retailer, or a scrap metal yard.

Why Are Batteries A Threat To The Environment?

The most commonly used car battery is a lead-acid battery which contains a large number of toxic substances. If it is simply disposed as trash and it ends up in the landfill, it will contaminate the ground with chemicals, lead, and none-biodegradable materials like plastic.

Lead is a very noxious element that is extremely toxic. In addition, lead is also such a challenge to clean up and could have a long-term effect on the environment. It is particularly alarming since it is detrimental to health, especially for children. It can cause irreparable damage to the brain as well as a devastating injury to developing nervous systems.

The lead-content of a lead acid battery is approximately 20 pounds, which is quite substantial. Lead is a very valuable element and is very much in demand. It is widely used to produce other products such as cable sheathing, ammunition, pigments, turbines, and for more car batteries.

Considering the high demand for lead, recycling lead-acid batteries is being practiced extensively. If you bring your battery for disposal to a recycling center, you could even get some form of remuneration for it.

Why Do You Need To Dispose Of Your Car Battery?

Before we go into how to responsibly dispose of your car battery, let’s first discuss the reasons for the need for it. Since you are disposing of it, this means that it is already useless, damaged beyond repair. Usually, the reasons for this are:

● Age

A battery’s estimated lifetime is from three to five years. When you have been using it for more than three years already, you’ll notice that it is beginning to show its age – starting the car in the morning has become a touch-and-go operation or you get stranded on the highway because of a dead or weak battery.

Jumping the battery will bring it to life, at least for that moment. However, you cannot forever jump-start the battery. Doing so could only make matters worse. Next time you know it, even your alternator has already been damaged.

The only solution is to dispose of it and replace it!

● Damaged battery casing/missing or damaged cell cap

A crack or fissure in the casing or a bulging battery case is bad news. Once you notice that there is a crack in the battery where fluid leaks or the case bulged from being frozen, immediately dispose of it and have it replaced.

Even a missing or damaged cap of a terminal post should either be replaced or if there are no available caps in your local auto parts store, have the battery discarded. Acid leaking out of the battery from a missing or damaged cell cap is very dangerous.

● A totally discharged battery that doesn’t accept a charge

Batteries getting drained is normal, but when it is totally drained and no longer accept a charge, without any doubt, it has already reached the end of the line. But, if you want to be really sure, you can subject your battery to a load test which will determine its charge level and whether it still maintains a charge.

When the battery fails the load test, it is time to retire it, dispose of it and replace it.

Removing The Battery And Preparing It For Transport

Before you can bring the battery to wherever you have decided to dispose of it, you need to remove it from the car and prepare it for transport. Removing a battery is easy but it has to be done with care. The risk involved in handling a battery cannot be repeated often enough.

You battery contains acid which could do damage to your person as well as to the surroundings. So, before you even open the hood of your car, make sure that you have the following appropriate safety gears on.

● Rubber gloves
● Safety goggles
● An old long sleeve shirt that can protect the skin of your arms
● Footwear with toe covering

Also have a pail of water ready to wash off any spill or douse a fire, just in case.

A Step-By-Step Process Of Car Battery Removal

Step 1 – Disconnect the battery

When disconnecting a battery, you start with the negative terminal. Using an appropriately sized socket wrench, loosen the nut securing the cap of the negative terminal post. Pull out the ground cable attached to the negative terminal and set it aside away from the battery.

Repeat the process for the positive terminal.

You can wrap both terminals with a cloth and set them apart so that they don’t get in contact with each other or with the terminals as you lift out the battery.

Step 2 – Lift the battery out of the car

Before you can lift the battery out of the car, you need to loosen and remove the clips or straps that secure the battery to the battery tray. Set aside the fastening hardware in a place where you can easily locate it when you will install the new battery.

Step 3 – Check the battery for damage

Look for any sign of damage such as a crack, or leak in the battery casing and terminals. A leaking battery is dangerous to handle. You should be aware of what you’re dealing with when you move the battery. If there is a leak, make sure that it does not get to your eyes or skin.

Step 4 – Prepare the battery to be transported

After removing the battery from the car, bundle up the battery in a plastic bag. This will prevent the grime and dirt on the battery casing from dirtying the car’s flooring and interior when you transport it.

If there is a leak, double wrap the battery in a thick plastic bag to make sure that no fluids will seep through.

Maintain the battery in an upright position and not upside down or leaning on its side when you put it in your trunk. Use a piece of plywood, a flat metal item, or thick plastic as a seat for the plastic bag with the battery. See to it also that it does not tip, slide around, or fall over when the car is moving.

3 Places Where You Can Dispose Of A Car Battery

Now that the battery is ready to be transported, you have three options for a car battery disposal. You can bring the battery to a recycling center, to an auto parts store or a retail establishment like Walmart or Costco where you will buy your replacement battery, or to a scrap metal yard.

1.Bring the battery to a recycling center

If you decide on getting rid of your old battery by having it recycled all you need to do is find a recycling center that accepts batteries in your area. You can use the phone book or go to Google or any online search engine for this purpose. Some local sanitation units have a program for recycling toxic or hazardous waste.

Whether it is the local sanitation department or a recycling center you found when you did an online search, the important thing is for you to call first and confirm that they are accepting batteries for recycling.

It is a waste of time and energy while at the same time increasing the risk of contamination if you drive directly to the center just to find out that batteries are not one of their priorities. Also, it may save you a drive if the recycling center is willing to pick up the battery.

If the battery has to be delivered, drive directly to the recycling center and once there, register your wish to dispose of your battery with the attendant in charge. Have him carefully remove the battery from your car and bring it to where they are keeping batteries to be recycled.

Some recycling centers pay for batteries brought to them for recycling. You can always check with the attendant if this is included in their recycling program.

2. Bring the old battery to an auto part store or a retailer where you will buy a replacement battery

Of course, you will need a new battery as a replacement for the battery for disposal. The best way to discard the old battery is to bring it to the auto part store or retail establishment where you plan to buy the new battery.

Most auto parts stores such as AutoZone, and retail establishments like Costco, accept old batteries when you buy a new one. They even give you a “core charge” and you get paid a certain sum for returning the old battery. A core charge is a form of incentive to consumers to return items like a battery which can be rebuilt or recycled.

3. Bring it to a scrap metal yard

Operators of scrap metal yards buy scrap metals and other items that can be recycled. In a battery, there are several items that are of value to scrap metal operators, and they are willing to take the battery out of your hands and pay you for it too.

You can even check online and compare the rates of several scrap metal yards for the value they place on batteries for disposal.


There are several ways on how to dispose of car batteries. Here, I have given you three options. All you need to do is choose what is more convenient and beneficial to you. But car battery disposal entails care, conscientiousness, and responsibility.

You have to follow certain precautionary measures to ensure that the old battery won’t cause you any harm. This is particularly true when you remove it from the car and transport it to wherever you choose to dispose of it.

But this article can help you determine if you like to recycle your used car battery for cash instead of disposing it!