This is one of those questions that one can NEVER give a straight answer to because there are a lot of factors that will affect the cost of replacing a car battery or any other thing for that matter. In this article, we will be looking at the different factors that can affect the pricing of car batteries and also doing a few price comparisons.
Let’s get right into it.
Factors that Affect Battery Prices
In economics, there is a standard principle that guides the cost of goods and services. That same principle applies here but only to an extent. There are other factors aside from the law of demand and supply that will affect how much that car battery you want to purchase will cost.
Some of the most prominent factors will include the following:
Type of Battery
There are different types of car batteries and each type will cost either higher or lower than the other for various reasons. Let’s look at some of these different types.
There are loads of information on battery types that one can easily get confused reading them. When we consider types of batteries, we can look at them in terms of their design (how they work) or their use. We will look at them from these two angles starting from how they are used.
Most car batteries are referred to as SLI which is an acronym for Starting, Lighting and Ignition. This simply means that it provides power to the vehicle to carry out those three actions - it helps start the car, provides power for the lights, radio and other systems that require electricity even when the car's engine is not running. It is explained in more detail here.
Batteries that fall into this category have what is called a shallow charge cycle and are not built to support deep discharges. This means that the amount of charge it can hold is usually small and the time before this charge is exhausted is also small. In the car, once it has performed the SLI tasks or just the S and L tasks, the car's alternator kicks in and begins to provide electric power to the car and also charge to the battery so it is recharged.
The other type is the deep cycle battery which does not provide so much startup power but can last for a much longer time. That is, they have a higher charge cycle. These are however not commonly used for cars but will be commonly found on marine vessels.
There are two types that we will consider here. These are wet cell and VRLA (Valve-Regulated Lead-Acid).
Wet Cell Batteries (SLI and deep cycle batteries are examples of these) contain electrolytes which are usually formed by combining water, lead and sulfuric acid. There are two versions of this. One requires maintenance which means that it needs to be topped up with water from time to time (distilled water is used) as the water level reduces.
The second variation does not require maintenance as the electrolytes are semi-solid and so do not evaporate easily like the other type. More so this second type is sealed in so you cannot carry out any maintenance even if you wanted to.
Valve-Regulated Lead-Acid Batteries also have electrolytes that are however stored in a different way in a sealed container. They are more expensive and also more reliable. There are two variations of this and these are: Gel and AGM.
The Gel variation is called this simply because the electrolytes are in gel form. They are very sturdy and are not susceptible to spillage, evaporation, shocks, heat and vibrations among other things.
The AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat) version is the most recent design of batteries and is most suited for very recent cars. They contain electrolytes which are held firmly within thin fibers called glass mats. These prevent the unguarded movements of the electrolytes. This arrangement and the sealed container ensures the electrolytes are not spilled and also do not evaporate.
These VRLA batteries are a lot more expensive than wet cell batteries because they are more efficient and also last for much longer. They can however not be repaired or subjected to maintenance.
You can get more details here: https://gear4wheels.com/car-battery-types-and-sizes-explained/.
Another factor that will affect the price of a battery is the brand you want to purchase. As you will expect, the more established and reputable brands will cost more than the new, untested brands. This does not necessarily mean that the new brands will not perform well. They’ve just not been tested and can therefore not sell at the same price as those that have been tested over the years.
Where You Purchase
Another factor is where you make your purchase. If you make your purchase from a direct dealer, you are likely to get it for a cheaper price than a seller that gets their stock from a middle man. Some sellers like Costco will also give you a refund when you return your old battery. This will reduce the amount you spent on the purchase.
Some other factors include the size of battery you are purchasing, the type of car you are purchasing it for, the reserve power, CCA and amp.
Examples of Price Comparison
To give you a practical example, we shall look at the prices of a couple of batteries from different sellers.
The Optima Batteries 8004-003 34/78 RedTop Starting Battery with the following specs: 12-Volt and 800 Cold Cranking Amps costs about $224.99
The Optima Batteries 8002-002 34 RedTop Starting Battery with the following specs: 12-Volt and 800 Cold Cranking Amps costs about $237.99
The Delphi BU9094R 94R AGM Battery with the following specs: 12-volts and 800 Cold Cranking Amps costs about $190.46.
The above are just a few examples of batteries that can be used for the same functions but have different prices. Some unknown brands will even cost less than these and still serve the same purpose.
If you need more guidance concerning car battery purchases visit batterymanguide.com.
Having the right battery for your car is very important. Aside from ensuring you choose the right battery when it is time for a replacement, it is also important that you learn how to maintain the batteries to ensure they perform at their best and last longer.
Another thing you need to do is ensure you make your purchase from a reputable dealer. Aside from the fact that you will get a good deal, you will also get warranties and other support services.
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