How Much Does A Car Battery Cost?

It depends on a battery type and size when it comes to the cost of a car battery.

Early last year, the battery of my four year old car was already begging for a replacement. I asked around, how much does a car battery cost? The answers I got made me dizzy. They range from ludicrously cheap to prohibitively expensive. So, I took the matter into my own hands and conducted research on the matter, the result of which I’m sharing here for those who might also need a new car battery in the near future.

What is the price of a car battery? A car battery will cost from $50 to more than $460, excluding installation cost. But according to experts, the AVERAGE cost of a car battery could range from $70 to $200, also excluding the cost to install the battery.

Why the wide range in prices? The price is actually determined by several factors, which will be discussed later. For typical or ordinary batteries, the price range is from $50 to $120. Premium or superior quality batteries are priced from $90 to as high as $460. Typical or ordinary batteries are lead-acid wet or flooded batteries while premium batteries are Absorbent Glass Mat (AGM) batteries.

Some batteries are more expensive because they are provided with a longer warranty and longer lifespan, better performance, and superior reliability. Other batteries are priced higher because they are specifically designed to perform well in cold weather.

It is understandable for luxury cars to require a specially designed battery. In the same manner, a large diesel engine for a truck or a V-8, which both demand stronger power to start, will need bigger and more powerful batteries. A racing car also has special needs that can only be provided by a high-performance and more efficient battery. These special needs in a battery bring the price of a battery higher.

Factors That Determine The Price Of An Auto Battery

Actually, there are a number of factors that account for the difference in the prices of batteries. When the time comes for you to replace your battery, it is very important that you are cognizant of these factors so that you already have an idea of how much to shell out or better yet, you can already save for it.

Knowing the factors that go into the price of a battery will also help you make the right decision on where to buy and what kind or type of battery to buy. So, let me enumerate these factors, at least the most significant ones:

● Type of car

Because of improved technology in modern vehicles such as high-powered electrical devices and accessories, modern cars need batteries that can meet the demands of the car’s electrical system. This has caused the battery manufacturers to rise up to the challenge of coming up with batteries that are also technologically improved and will meet these needs.

There are now high-performance batteries suited to vehicles used for racing, as well as heavier, bigger and more powerful batteries appropriate for bigger engines. And there are also batteries with higher reserve capacity and increased reliability and efficiency for cars heavily loaded with power-hungry electrical accessories such as power windows, heated seats, car computer, GPS, entertainment systems and the like.

Although there are still ordinary, and a lot cheaper batteries available, usually, these are now reserve for older cars. But, if I am the owner of an older car, I would still prefer the more improved type of battery since I plan to have more years of use with my old car.

● Type of battery

The most commonly used battery for vehicles is the lead-acid rechargeable battery. This type has two subtypes – wet or flooded battery and sealed battery also known as valve-regulated lead-acid battery (VRLA). The cheaper kind of battery is the lead-acid wet or flooded battery.

The VRLA is considered a more superior lead-acid battery than the wet or flooded type. VRLAs are spill-proof, vibration resistant, and maintenance-free. This type of battery also has a longer lifespan.

There are two kinds of VRLA, the AGM and gel-cell battery. The AGM is designed with the AGM technology that makes the battery deliver greater power in quick, short spurts in comparison to other sealed batteries. This is due to the rapid reaction between the fiberglass mat and the electrolyte.

A gel-cell battery has a silica-based electrolyte. It is preferred for deep-cycle application such as for golf carts and boats. It is not very effective, however, in extreme hot or cold temperature.

The superiority of valve-regulated lead-acid batteries or sealed batteries such as the AGM batteries has a price. It makes them a lot pricier than the ordinary wet or flooded lead-acid battery.

For more information about this topic, then read this article.

● Where you buy the battery

Where you buy the battery could also spell the difference in the price of a battery. For example, if you buy a car battery at Costco which carries only one brand of battery, Interstate Battery, the price will range from $50 to $100 plus a refundable $15 core fee when you bring back the old Costco battery.

Interstate batteries are, in reality, automotive batteries manufactured by Johnson Controls, Exide Technologies, and other battery manufacturers, but marketed by Interstate Battery System of America.

The price differences of the batteries from Costco is accounted for by the size, warranty, quality, and performance of the battery that you will buy. Warranty ranges from 12 months to 42 months, subject to the kind of battery you are buying. Installation at Costco is free.

Another example would be buying batteries at Walmart. Walmart, like Costco, also has a chain of retail stores located all over the United States. The big difference between the two establishments is that at Walmart there are several brands of batteries that are on offer. Walmart has the reasonably priced Value Power battery starting at $50, as well as the top of the line Optima battery that can go as high as $450. Installation is also free if you buy your battery from Walmart.

AutoZone, the leading auto parts and accessories retailer in the US, also have three brands of batteries on offer; the reasonably priced Valucraft, the tough and durable Duralast and the high-end Odyssey. Prices of these brands of batteries differ not only because of the brand but also because of the size, performance, warranty and capacity ratings.

For more information about this topic, then read this article.

● Battery size

Size is a key factor in the pricing of batteries. Bigger engines need bigger sized batteries. Bigger batteries need more materials to produce them. It, therefore, stands to reason that bigger batteries are more expensive than the smaller ones. The more frequently used sizes of batteries are 24, 65 and 75. The cost of batteries of these sizes, without considering warranty, type, brand, and other factors, ranges from $50 to $100.

For more information about this topic, then read this article.

● Reserve capacity

A battery’s reserve capacity (RC) has a lot to do with its performance, maintenance, and lifespan. The higher the RC rating of a battery is, the better it can sustain itself for a longer period of time. And the higher the reserve capacity of a battery is, the higher its price will be.

● Amp hour capacity

Amp hour capacity indicates the amount of time a battery can continuously supply a specific current to a load. For example, a battery that has an amp hour rating that reads 70 AH @ 20 hours means that the battery can deliver 3.5 amps of current continuously for 20 hrs. (70 AH / 20 hrs = 3.5 amps). Again, the higher the amp hour rating, the more expensive the battery becomes.

For more information about this topic, then read this article.

● Cold cranking amp (CCA)

This factor is more significant in areas where the temperature gets excessively cold. This battery rating will determine how well your battery will perform in a cold climate. The higher the CCA value, the easier the battery will start even when the temperature drops exceedingly low. Obviously, the higher the CCA rating of a battery is, the more expensive it is.

For more information about this topic, then read this article.

Conclusion

Given the above information, you may no longer have to ask, how much does a car battery cost? You already have some ballpark figures to guide you. Now, you also have an idea for the reasons of the wide range of price differences. With such know-how, you will be able to determine what battery features you really need that are appropriate for your car and how these features affect the price of your chosen battery.

However, you may still need to do your own research as regards the factors listed above such as comparing the prices of different brands. Also, you should not only focus on the price, but you should also seriously consider the difference in quality, durability, and longevity of the battery. It is self-defeating if you decide to buy a cheap battery that will die on you long before you are due for another replacement battery.

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