Buying Used Car Batteries: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

There is no clear-cut time period for when you should consider replacing the battery in your car, as the battery’s condition will largely depend on how you use your vehicle. Frequent journeys using stop-start technology (sitting in a queue at rush hour twice a day, for example) will take a much greater toll of your car’s battery than a weekly stroll to the store would. Furthermore, old cars with relatively basic on-board technology won’t use the battery for much more than the standard functions, but newer vehicles with in-built computer technology will find that their battery gets drained just a little bit more quickly than the vehicle’s older counterparts.

Function of the Battery

The battery has a large range of functions in the car and, put simply, your car simply can’t start and run properly without it. To begin with, when you’ve initially turned the key in the ignition, the battery provides the energy to turn on the lights of the dashboard. After this, when you turn the key the full way, the battery is then responsible for producing an electrical current which transfers to the fuel tank to ignite the fuel. Aside from this critical function, the battery is also tasked with powering all the lights in your car—including the indicators, headlights and rear headlights. It doesn’t take a genius to realize how dangerous driving without these working would be. In fact, flat or completely dead batteries are one of the most common reasons for a roadside call-out!

Jumper Cables

Replacing Worn Batteries

Despite its importance, many car owners neglect to check the health of the battery on a regular basis. However, it is imperative that you do take the time and, if you notice that it is getting past its best, you must have it replaced.

Of course, if you do find that you’ve worn your battery right down, it’s not free to get it replaced. In fact, brand new batteries can cost up to $100 or more. Naturally, some people will be trying to weigh up the pros and cons of buying second-hand. We’re here to help with that.

First, you need to ask yourself a relatively basic question, but one that people buying second hand often forget: why is it being sold? For all you know, your new purchase could be stolen or otherwise defective. Make sure to get the facts straight first.

Second, when buying a used battery, get the data on it. How old is it? How many miles has the car done whilst using it? What are its Amp Hours, Reserve Capacity and Cold Cranking Amps? Is it even the right type of battery for your car?

All of these factors should be taken into account, along with the cost of buying the battery, so that you can decide if the saving is worthwhile. Because it’s all very well and good buying a two-year-old battery for half the price of retail value, but when it gives up a year later and you have to spend $50 more to get another secondhand battery, you might as well have just paid for a new one in the first place and enjoyed the security associated with the manufacturer’s warranty.

When Is It Time To Replace Your Car Battery?

The battery is possibly one of the most important features of your vehicle. It makes everything happen. Without one your car wouldn’t start, you couldn’t operate any lights, and there would be no radio. As a crucial component of your vehicle, it is a good idea to know when you to replace the battery. It is also good to see warning signs that your battery is going bad.

While a vehicle not starting can often be confused with the starter, a battery problem presents itself differently. Some red flags will give you a good indication that it is time to replace your car battery and they can include the following. How To Clarify Which You Have: A Starter or Battery Problem?

Slow Engine Starts

If you turn the key to your vehicle and it doesn’t start right up or takes longer than usual, this could be a significant indicator you need a battery replacement.

Low Battery Fluid

Checking the battery fluid is one way to see if your car’s battery is on the way out. Some cells have a see-through part of the casing that will allow you to check the fluid level. If the fluid drops below the lead plates, it is time for a new one. Ryan GMW can perform a battery fluid check to see if this is indeed the issue and recommend a battery replacement.

Leaking Battery

Almost everyone has seen this universal sign on a battery. When a cell leaks it creates corrosion. A white buildup presents this, that is typically on the positive and negative posts. There is a good chance you aren’t getting the best connection to the battery corrosion being present. While you can clean the terminals and get a little more life out of the battery, it is also a sign you will probably need a replacement shortly.

Swollen Battery Case

With excessive heat in the engine bay and outside, this can cause a battery to become swollen. The battery will not have it’s same square or rectangle shape. It could have a bulge or bulges on the sides or top of the battery. A bloating battery case will ultimately mean the battery’s life is shortened.

The Age Test

Batteries don’t last forever. While batteries do last a very long time, it is encouraged to have them inspected after three years. After this amount of time, it is a good idea to check it annually. It will ensure it’s operating correctly and free of corrosion. If your car has a ten-year-old battery in it, and you have any of the other symptoms of a failing battery, then it is probably time to replace.