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Car batteries are the epitome of getting what you pay for.
Depending on what you’re looking for, the cost of a battery ranges from around $60 for a battery with a shorter life, or upwards of $300 for one that delivers high performance. And if you’re talking hybrid or electric car batteries? They’re even more costly — you’ll need to add another digit or two.
While the replacement of any kind of battery is infrequent, those for hybrids and EVs represent a significant portion of the total cost of owning a car.
Here’s a rundown on the average costs of traditional, hybrid and electric car batteries.
Car batteries come in a wide range of prices. AutoZone’s online inventory shows traditional car batteries running from an economical $69.99 to a premium $339.99 for noncommercial vehicles. Depending on the brand and type of battery you purchase, you can expect a new car battery to last around three to five years, with gel batteries lasting up to seven years in some cases.
Here are a few factors that can affect the cost of a traditional car battery.
The standard battery group sizes are 24, 65 and 75. Batteries that are larger or a unique size are likely to cost more.
Traditional batteries can use different technology to give your car juice:
Lead-acid flooded batteries. Also known as wet cell batteries, these tend to be the cheapest option because they have a shorter life and do not perform as well in rough conditions, like extreme temperatures.
Absorbent glass mat batteries. Also known as dry cell batteries, these provide more power and tend to have longer battery life. They are also more stable and cost more.
Gel batteries. These are similar to absorbent glass mat batteries in performance and price. They don’t require maintenance and can survive rough conditions.
Performance in cold weather
Batteries often have a rating for how well they perform in cold weather, known as cold cranking amps. If you drive your car in colder temperatures, you’ll likely want a battery with a higher cold cranking amps rating, which will cost more.
Batteries come with warranties that are often a reflection of price. The more expensive the battery, the better the warranty. If you want a battery that offers free replacement within two or three years if yours dies, you’ll want to buy one that has a middle price point or above.
Discounted traditional batteries
Rebuilt, refurbished and reconditioned batteries: Some companies will take old batteries and rebuild them or recondition them. This allows the batteries to be recharged and resold as a cheaper alternative to purchasing a new battery. While they might not last as long as a new battery, rebuilt or reconditioned batteries can sometimes offer one to three years of power for less than the price of a new battery.
Used batteries: A used battery offers a great deal of savings over a new battery, in some cases costing as little as half the new battery’s value. But used batteries can come with issues that can damage your car, such as leaking fluids. You also have no way of knowing how much life is left in a used battery.
If you have a mechanic or a roadside assistance company like AAA install a battery, you’re likely going to pay a labor fee that can range from $20 up to $100. But you can avoid this additional cost by installing the battery yourself or purchasing the battery from a car parts store that offers free installation with a battery purchase.
Due to their technology, hybrid batteries cost much more than the traditional battery. The good news is that they can last up to 150,000 miles with proper maintenance, and some hybrid manufacturers warranty their batteries for up to 10 years.
Hybrid car batteries can range between $1,000-$8,000, and the final price depends on the make and model of your car. For example, a quote for a hybrid battery for a Toyota Prius can run around $3,800, while a quote for a hybrid battery for a Ford Escape can be closer to $8,500.
Discounted hybrid batteries
Sadly, there aren’t as many options available for you to compare when considering how much you want to shell out for a new hybrid battery. But there are a few ways to save money.
Rebuilt hybrid battery: While rebuilt batteries are a cheaper alternative to new hybrid batteries, they don’t provide the same performance as new batteries. They also don’t always come with warranties, and so they aren’t guaranteed to last for a certain amount of time. However, they can provide a financial cushion if you plan on trading in your hybrid car in the near future.
While rebuilt batteries will save you some money, how much depends on where you buy it and the model of battery. In most cases, you can expect to save a few hundred, if not a thousand, dollars overall.
Reconditioned hybrid battery: A reconditioned battery offers a very short-term option that restores a once unusable battery to usable condition. But this option works more like a Band-Aid rather than a long-term solution, and it isn’t likely to last very long.
Prices vary here as well depending on the specific car you’re driving, but a reconditioned battery will cost less than a new version, potentially saving you thousands of dollars.
Reconditioned batteries are sometimes also called refurbished batteries.
Used hybrid battery: If you don’t want to pay up for a new battery, you can look for a used battery to fit your hybrid car. This can sometimes save you thousands of dollars. On average, they cost between $500 and $3,500, depending on the model you need. If you go for a rebuilt hybrid battery, you can pay up to $5,000.
As with any used purchase, though, err on the side of caution before agreeing to pay. Used hybrid batteries might be closer to their deathbeds than you realize and can affect your fuel economy. Ask for a diagnostic report of the battery’s health before making the purchase so you know what you’re buying.
Regardless of the type of battery you buy, you’ll also need to pay for the labor to remove the old battery and install the new one, which requires special training. That doesn’t come cheap, and like the cost of the battery, the total charge for labor depends on your car’s make and model. For some more common hybrid vehicles, it takes only one to three hours to replace the battery, but more complicated vehicles can require over six hours of labor. Depending on the hourly rate, the labor could add several hundred dollars or more to the total cost of battery replacement.
Electric car batteries are a cake of a different flavor altogether. Unlike traditional batteries and those used with hybrids, all-electric car batteries must be charged regularly. And similar to how our electronics start to lose their charge sooner over time, electric vehicle batteries also slowly degrade and lose their efficiency despite regular charging.
The good news here is that quality electric batteries can last a long time, with most electric car batteries driving 200,000-300,000 miles before needing to be replaced. The bad news is that when you do need to replace them, electric batteries can run you between $4,000 and $20,000.
The total cost for an electric battery depends on the car’s make and model and is likely to be related to the original cost of the car: The more expensive the electric vehicle, the more expensive the battery.
Discounted electric batteries
Remanufactured electric battery: Remanufactured batteries for electric cars offer cheaper alternatives for car owners. However, there aren’t a lot of options available for electric car owners who want to buy a cheaper battery outside of a dealership or mechanic shop. Even with a remanufactured battery, a Tesla battery replacement could run around $14,000.
Used electric battery: There are some used batteries out there for electric cars, but they come with the caveat that a battery’s charging history can affect its condition. If the previous owner didn’t follow best practices for charging the battery, it could have fewer miles left in it than you expect. But buying a used electric battery does save you money upfront, usually several thousand dollars, depending on the model.
As with other battery installations, you’ll need to account for labor charges as well, which can range from a few hours to several hours. And electric batteries sometimes require additional parts like connectors to install, which can add anywhere from $20-$200 on to your bill.