What to do with those electric car batteries once they’re finished

What to do with those electric car batteries once they’re finished

What To Do If Your Battery Is Dead?

There are many factors that can cause your car battery to die or lose charge. Common causes of a dead battery include leaving your headlights or interior lights on, charging system failure, corrosion, or just leaving your car parked for a long time. You can always attempt to jump start your vehicle if your car battery is dead, though it’s best to have a professional inspect the vehicle to rule out other potential issues.

Part 5 of 7: Return it to the retailer

To replace the old car battery that you are discarding, you’ve likely had to purchase a new battery already. Check your receipt to see if there was a core charge assessed when you purchased the new battery.

  • Tip: A core charge is assessed to on certain parts like batteries where the old part has value to the retailer, either to be recycled or to be rebuilt. Core charges are assessed on water pumps, alternators, starter motors, and several other automotive components.

Step 1: Bring in your battery. Bring the old battery to your battery retailer or auto parts store. Use safe handling procedures that include protective gloves.

Step 2: Provide receipt for core charge. If you’ve paid a core charge on your new battery, show your receipt to the counter personnel along with your old battery.

Step 3: Collect your core charge. Collect your core charge back, and leave the old battery with the counter staff.


Phone a Friend: How to Jump a Car Battery

When you find your car battery dead, naturally, you are due for a battery replacement service. However, it can be hard to make it to the mechanic when your car refuses to turn over. In these cases, a simple jump-start can get you on your way. Jump-starting your car can be easy with the help of a friend. All you need is a set of jumper cables and a second running vehicle. You can read our 8-step guide to jumping a car battery here.

Electrical Systems

Can a bad battery harm the charging system or starter?

You bet. If you have a weak ankle, you tend to overcompensate and put more weight–and stress–on the healthy ankle. Same concept with a weak battery. When you have a weak battery, your car ends up putting additional stress on healthy parts. The charging system, starter motor or starter solenoid can be affected.

These parts can malfunction because they’re drawing excessive voltage to compensate for the lack of battery power. Leave this problem unresolved, and you could wind up replacing expensive electrical parts–typically without warning.

Quick Tip: Our Electrical System Check makes sure all the necessary parts are drawing the correct voltage. We’ll know right away if there’s any weak parts that may need immediate replacement. Don’t leave your car’s power to chance, you may end up paying for it later.

How do you know if your alternator isn’t giving your battery enough electricity?

Let’s just say we’re clairvoyant.

All joking aside, let’s start with the obvious symptoms:

  • The electrical system is possessed. Strange flickering lights or warning lights such as ’Check Engine’ flicker, disappear, and then reappear again. All these malfunctions usually start occurring when the car battery is nearly drained and struggling to provide power. If the alternator is faulty, your battery will no longer receive a charge and is moments away from being totally kaput.
  • The Slow Crank. You’re starting your car, and it keeps turning and turning, eventually starting–or not. This could mean your alternator isn’t charging your battery properly. If you start experiencing the possessed electrical system as well, please stop in to the nearest service facility. Your car could be moments away from a dead battery and alternator.

Let’s review: All the above happens when the battery is not receiving a charge (due to a faulty alternator). Your battery will continue to drain. When it drains completely…well, we all know what happens next: curbed car. And neither you, nor us, want you to go through that.

Quick tip: The sooner we can inspect your vehicle, the less likely you’ll face every drivers’ biggest fear–a car that won’t start. Drive with peace of mind.

  • Learn more about your vehicle’s electrical system
  • Warning Signs That Your Battery Could Soon Fail

    As mentioned, modern batteries are designed to perform at full charge right up until the time that they fail, which means you may have little warning that you’re driving with a low battery. That said, there are a few signs, especially if you’re using an older battery now.

    Engine Is Slow to Start

    If you notice that your engine is slow to start when you get in your car, it can be a sign that your battery is about to fail. Over time, the battery components wear out and become less effective. For this reason, it can take the battery more time to create a charge for your starter, making you wait a few seconds for your engine to start running.

    Check Engine Light Is On

    Your check engine light can be an indication of many problems with your vehicle, including a battery that’s low on life. Check the manual for your vehicle to see if it gives you an indication of what the check engine light could be telling you and have your car inspected by a professional mechanic.

    Dim Lights and Other Electrical Issues

    Your battery is responsible for powering all the electronic components in your car. If you notice that your cell phone charger, dashboard computer, radio, heated seats, or lights aren’t performing the way they usually do, it could be a sign your battery is about to fail.

    Corroded Battery Connectors

    Open your hood and inspect your battery visually. If you see a white, ashy substance on the battery metals, that’s a sign of corrosion. If the positive and negative connections on the battery are corroded, that can cause you to have trouble starting your car.

    Misshapen Battery Case

    When you visually inspect the battery, take note of the shape of the battery case. If your battery has been exposed to extreme temperatures, the case can crack and swell. If the case is any shape other than rectangular, there’s a strong likelihood your battery isn’t working properly.

    How Much Does a Battery Replacement Cost?

    Compared to other vehicle repairs, changing out a battery is relatively inexpensive. But how much it costs depends on exactly what your needs are, and what type of battery you buy. There are over 40 different battery types on the market, all made by different manufacturers.

    Traditional lead/acid batteries are around the cheapest you’ll find and can be bought for between $65 to $130. Absorbent glass mat (AGM) batteries cost around $200 and these are better suited to powering sophisticated electronic systems in luxury vehicles. The more reliable deep-cycle batteries such as those found in RVs and boats can cost at least $200. At the top end of the market are lithium-ion batteries and these have a starting price of $1,000.

    Replacing the battery isn’t a time-intensive job so labor costs are kept low. A mechanic may charge you anywhere from $10 to $100 in labor to replace a battery, depending on if anything else needs doing at the time. To save money on labor, it is a job you can do yourself, but instructions need to be strictly followed to avoid crossing the battery terminals, causing the polarity to reverse and shorting out your vehicles ECU, which can also be a problem if you select the wrong battery for your car. 

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    Your car battery is one of your electrical system’s most critical parts, so getting the right battery replacement is essential. But car batteries aren’t universal, and picking the right one can be confusing. So, what should you look for when it’s time to replace your battery?

    First, your battery has to physically fit into your car’s battery tray. Batteries can vary in size! Consult your owner’s manual for battery size guidance. 

    Second, you want to be sure that you’re choosing a battery that will be powerful enough for your vehicle. Consult your owner’s manual and see what it suggests is the right number of cranking amps (the amount of power that’s required to turn over your vehicle’s engine) and choose a battery that fits within those parameters. 

    Third, you may need to consider cold-cranking amps or the amount of power it takes to turn over the engine in freezing temperatures. This is especially important if you live in a colder climate. It can make the difference between your car dying or starting on a cold winter day.

    Finally, you’ll need to decide whether a maintenance-required or a maintenance-free battery is the best option for you. While a maintenance-required car battery, which requires regular electrolyte monitoring and top-offs, is cheaper on the front-end, maintenance-free batteries are a lot more hassle-free and don’t need much attention. Ensure you’re ready for the commitment if you decide to save money and go for the cheaper option.


    If you find yourself suddenly stranded with a dead car battery, your best bet is to jump-start it using another car’s battery. Luckily, if you can locate some jumper cables and a willing Good Samaritan, charging a car battery is relatively simple. Here are some simple steps and tips for properly charging your vehicle’s battery.


    Ensure that your jumper cables are clean, the alligator clips are free of corrosion, and that there aren’t any tears or kinks in the wires.


    Make sure that both vehicles are in Park and that the ignitions are fully disengaged.

    3. RED ON DEAD

    Attach the red alligator clip to the positive terminal of the dead battery. The positive terminal will be marked with a plus symbol and, often, a red plastic flip cap.


    Attach the red alligator clip to the positive terminal of the live vehicle. Then, attach the black alligator clip of the corresponding side to the live vehicle’s negative terminal. The negative terminal is marked with a minus symbol.


    Use the final black alligator clip to complete the circuit by grounding the charge. Instead of attaching the clip to the negative terminal of your battery, you’ll want to find an unpainted metal surface — such as the body of the car or the metal rod that props open your hood — which isn’t near the battery. This is to help ground the electrical flow and prevent sparking from the battery.


    It’s important to remember to do this in the correct order. You, Them, Them, You.


    Start the car with the good battery first and allow it to run for a few minutes. Then you can try starting your own (dead) vehicle. If your car doesn’t start at first, check your connections and allow for more time for power to flow between the batteries. Three to five minutes should transfer enough power to start the dead vehicle.


    Once you get your car restarted, it’s important to remember that your battery will still be low on power. Give it 15-30 minutes of running, preferably at highway speeds, without using peripheral devices like your radio or phone charger that drain the battery. You’re less likely to have to jump your vehicle again if you let it recharge with a long drive. For safety, make sure the destination you choose to complete your drive and turn off your vehicle for the first time is your home or intended final destination.


    If you repeatedly find your car’s battery is dead, and you can’t identify any user error like an overhead light left on, you’ll likely want to test your car battery.

    How can we help?

    Our service team is available 7 days a week, Monday – Friday from 6 AM to 5 PM PST, Saturday – Sunday 7 AM – 4 PM PST.

    1 (855) 347-2779 · hi@yourmechanic.com


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