Old Car Batteries Never Die, So Why Has The Price Of New Ones Gone Up So Much?

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This topic contains 6 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  Alfredo_T 1 month, 3 weeks ago.

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  • #42312

    Andy Brown
    Participant

    They just get melted down separating the lead from the plastic and both ingredients go right back to the battery manufacturers. I think the closest plant that does that is in California.

    Meanwhile, my 7 year battery lasted 13 years. It finally died yesterday.

    The shop I use when I can’t do it myself quote:

    Top of the line: $350
    Other option: $299 installed

    The battery that was in there that died cost me $110 13 years ago at said shop, and that was pretty high for the time. They were doing other work for me that time so there was a N/C for installation. That battery (an Interstate) today MSRP over $225 for just the battery.

    Northwest Battery Supply on SE Belmont (my go to guys since the 1970’s) had a battery (Armor Plate) with a higher CCA rating, 6 years, installed: $130

    I don’t think I could have beat that price even at Walmarts. The issue is my sled is 21 years old now and even my shop (a BMW/Mini only place) doesn’t even stock one. Northwest had one in stock. Battery failed at 2:40 PM. By 4:05 I was pulling out of the shop with a new one and all I had to do was empty the trunk (note: to achieve 50/50 F/R weight balance, the battery is in the rear in my car). The battery is actually accessible for inspection and removal without emptying the trunk, but to install a new one you have to thread the bracket bolt in a spot you can’t really see or get your hand down next to the battery without emptying your crap out of the trunk and lifting the panel above the spare, removing the spare and the jack (which is right between the tire and the battery compartment) and coming at the bracket from the side.

    #42315

    lastday
    Participant

    Those wacky German car engineers. My VW Touareg’s battery was under the driver’s seat. You had to unbolt the seat to get to the battery. The Touareg V10 TDI had a second battery under the cargo floor.

    Is it an AGM battery? They can be expensive. I think (but am not positive) that a battery located anywhere inside the vehicle, including in the trunk, has to be completely sealed against releasing toxic fumes.

    #42316

    Andrew
    Participant

    I’ve never had a car battery last 13 years. The last one I got from Costco is on year six. It got so weak over the winter that I assumed it was about to go, but once it warmed up it has worked better, not surprisingly. (Doesn’t help that I am not driving much these days.) By next winter I expect it will be totally shot.

    #42318

    Jeffrey Kopp
    Participant

    My batteries only last 2-3 years. I drive so little (1K a year) that the battery never fully charges, and something called acid stratification occurs.

    #42321

    semoochie
    Participant

    Speaking of Volkswagen, did you know that the recommended oil change is every 8,000 miles? I thought it was always “three”.

    #42324

    lastday
    Participant

    Newer VWs have an oil change interval of 12 months or 10,000 miles. They require a specific Castrol long-life synthetic motor oil approved by VW. New Toyota RAV4s require the use of 0W-16 motor oil. Not 0W-15 or 0W-20. 0W-16.

    I always figure that any more than 5 years out of a car battery is a bonus.

    #42335

    Alfredo_T
    Participant

    I just read that the price explosion happened starting around 2003. The explanation that I saw was that the longevity of car batteries is one of the main reasons for their high cost.

    Most of the lead used to make batteries is recycled from old batteries. The people who manage processing facilities for used batteries want to keep their facilities running at full capacity. In the face of dwindling used battery supplies, they have been paying more to acquire the batteries. This results in higher lead prices.

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