How Much Should a Car Battery Cost?

Tips & Support
OPTIMA Batteries
Las Vegas, NV

Car batteries aren't getting any cheaper, even if you buy the cheapest one available at your local retailer. So how much should car batteries cost? Prices change on a regular basis and the cost of a battery varies considerably, just as the cost of the cars they go into can vary as well. Trying to post any prices here and hoping they'd be accurate even a few months from now could be a futile effort at best. We can tell you the least expensive car battery options are typically flooded lead-acid batteries that offer very short warranties. Those are ideal in situations where a customer just needs something to get their car started. Maybe it's even a car they are getting ready to sell or trade in? 

In those situations, most folks head to an auto parts store or big box retailer and buy the cheapest battery they can find. Since they're getting rid of the car, they really don't need any warranty beyond making sure it works that day...or week. Did you know there might be an even more affordable option? Many nearly-new cars, trucks and SUVs end up at salvage yards after being involved in a car accident, which often leaves their car batteries completely unscathed.

After salvage yards receive these wrecked vehicles, one of the first things they remove is the battery. After all, if it is still holding voltage, but a door has been damaged to the point that it leaves an interior light on or something else, like OnStar, is still drawing power, they don't want that battery going dead as it sits in their salvage yard. Even if the battery is bad, it has immediate salvage value for the lead inside of it. If it seems like it might be ok, salvage yards will typically remove the battery, attempt to charge them and then load test them. If the battery works fine, they'll offer it for sale at a fraction of what new batteries of a similar size cost. 

So why would OPTIMA Batteries tell you to buy anything but OPTIMA batteries? Because we want your business at some point in the future, but we know our batteries are not the right choice for every application. If you want the best battery money can buy and will use it in a vehicle you plan on keeping for a long time, we're here for you. Our batteries may cost more than a typical car battery, but they can last up to three times as long!

However, if you're right about to trade in or sell your car, we might not be the most sensible choice. If you just picked up a beater car for $500, does it really make sense to increase the value of that car by 50%, just by adding a battery? Maybe only if you plan on taking the battery to another vehicle, if your beater gives up the ghost.

Maybe your car or truck keeps killing batteries? If that's the case, throwing down a bunch of money on a top-of-the-line OPTIMA battery may not make much sense. If your vehicle has an electrical issue unrelated to the battery, a more expensive battery won't solve that problem. It might be best to sort the issue out while using the cheapest battery you can find, with the longest warranty and the most-liberal return policy. 

Do you see how chewed up the battery terminals are in the photo above? They look just like the terminals on a vehicle that has been jump-started over and over and over again. Either that vehicle had a parasitic draw that was continuously discharging the battery or the battery was deeply-discharged once, but never properly-recharged or perhaps both were happening? Whatever the case, those terminals look like they made regular contact with the teeth from jumper cables. 

Did you know many of the car batteries returned under warranty are just deeply-discharged and work fine, when properly-recharged? Unfortunately, jumper cables don't offer the salvation many hope for and not all car battery chargers do a great job of recovering deeply-discharged batteries. OPTIMA chargers can recover batteries that have been discharged down to 1.25 volts. In many cases, the money spent on a quality battery charger can be returned many times over by saving batteries thought to be dead or by maximizing the performance and lifespan of other batteries. 

The final thought we'll leave you with is that if you do need to purchase a car battery from a brick & mortar retailer, they will typically be required to collect a core fee from you, if you don't bring in an old battery at the time of your purchase. So if you need to buy a new battery, but don't have an old one laying around, ask your friends and neighbors if they do. There's a good chance one of them will have at least one battery in their garage, that does nothing but hurt toes and take up space and they'd probably be happy to get rid of it. 

If they have more than one battery, many auto parts stores will give you store credit for each battery you bring in for recycling. That alone could make a new battery purchase a whole lot more affordable for you!