Running a car is often an expensive undertaking, and it can get more expensive with every trip to the garage. New car parts can cost you an arm and a leg, and it can be tempting to try and save at every chance you get, including by opting for a cheap new or used battery, but is that always a good idea?
Here we will take a look at whether this is a genuinely cost-effective idea, or if you could lose out on more than money in the long run.
Is it better to buy a new but cheap or a used car battery?
Some people may argue that buying a used car battery is a good idea. You can buy a top-of-the-range product at a cut price, reuse someone’s unwanted battery instead of having a brand new one and therefore reduce the need for new ones to be manufactured.
While this is all well and good, it is not the whole picture. Opting for a used car battery can be dangerous for you and your car. The biggest issue is that you have no idea what condition it may be in, and though there are certain tests, and you should be able to see any obvious damage from the outside, you may be letting yourself in for some serious trouble.
An old and used battery could end up leaking acid, could harm your engine and cause serious danger to your car and even your person. If you see any orange or green residue on the battery, do not buy it as it is a sign of corrosion and is a real warning sign.
You should also check the shelf life, and how long the battery has left before you buy it. There is no point in choosing to buy something at half price when it has less than half of its lifespan left. A warranty is also desirable when you are making any purchase, including a second-hand battery. Make sure that it is really worth your while otherwise, a new battery is surely the better choice.
Car batteries can seem pricey depending on what you are looking for, and if money is already tight. There are cheaper options that can work well, though they may have a shorter shelf life or have less power than a premium battery.
You can find new batteries for as low as $50, and the average is around $100-200, so although there are options that go for more than double the average, there are plenty available to suit every budget out there.
If you know and trust the seller, getting a second-hand battery can be a fine choice, but if you are in any doubt it is far better to spend the money now on a new battery from a reputable and quality company like G7 Battery than have to spend more money replacing the old one and repairing any damage it may cause in the future.
How long will a cheap new car battery last?
On average, a car battery should last you between 3-5 years, and you should keep that in mind when you are thinking about your routine car maintenance. When you buy your battery, you will see a year limit written on it, and most retailers will give you a comparable warranty of 3, 4 or 5 years.
Even the more expensive car batteries won’t last forever, and you shouldn’t try and make them. There might not be visible signs that it is time to change your battery, but failure to do so can leave you stranded, with a damaged engine or worse.
How long will a used car battery last?
For a used car battery, the amount of time it lasts will obviously depend on how long it was in use before it reached you. Beware of untrustworthy sellers making false claims about it only being a few months old, or even that it was in a car that was never used.
Just because a car sees less use, it doesn’t mean that the battery won’t deteriorate. Batteries basically start to degrade from the moment they are made, and while a lack of use may slow the process, you should still stick more or less to the shelf life of the battery.
Always make sure to check how long the battery has left written on it before you agree to buy it and ideally look at it yourself to check for any of the signs mentioned above. You could get a half-price battery that still has 3-5 years left, or you could be paying more money than it is worth for an unknown result.
Can I install a car battery myself?
You absolutely can install your car battery by yourself, though if you do it wrong you can mess up the engine and cause problems for yourself later on. If you want to avoid any risk then get an experienced professional to do it for you, but if you want to give it a go make sure you do your research and take it step by step.
If you are taking out your old battery before putting in your new one, you should disconnect the negative terminal first, and then the positive. For installing a battery, reverse the order by going positive first, then negative.
Your settings and other add-ons may also need to be set up again after you have put in your new battery, so make sure that you check over everything before setting off in your car. If you are in any doubt, ask a professional for help.
Buying a used car battery can arguably be good for the environment and save you a little money, but it can also cause far more trouble than it’s worth. Make sure that you use a reputable seller, check the battery yourself for corrosion and check out the shelf-life before committing.
A cheap new battery should still be affordable, will likely last longer, and is the safer choice for your car. If you want you can install it yourself to save the expense, or you can get it installed cheaply if you prefer.
Make sure that you don’t leave your battery in situ too long, and check out the options available for replacement today.