• battery

Battery inspection and replacement

avatar image

Updated 7 May 2021

Joel Ilton

Article Image

How much does a car battery cost?

For smaller vehicles, you may be looking at anywhere from $80 up to $200 for a decent quality battery.

For your newer vehicles, especially luxury vehicles that are crammed full of features, such as stop-start, you could be looking from $150 up to $350+.

The battery is your vehicles main source of electrical power.

It gives power to the starter motor, fuel pump, engine control computer (when the driver turns the key), and allows the vehicle to start.

It also supplies power to the radio, headlights and other electrical components inside the car which provides entertainment and information to the driver.

It is important to make sure your battery and charging system is in good working order, otherwise, you may get stranded with a vehicle that won’t start!

Symptoms of a failing battery

Vehicle will not start
• Radio or headlights will not operate, or are dim
• Vehicle sluggish to start

Common battery issues

Bad cell

The inside of a car battery is made up of cells, which hold the electrolyte (the electrically charged fluid inside the battery) and the plates that conduct the electricity.

If one of these plates fails, the battery is known to have a ‘Bad Cell’ and will need to be replaced.

A battery with a bad cell may still show that it is holding a good voltage, which is why load testing is the best way to test a batteries state of health

Low electrolyte level

Most new batteries these days are known as ‘Maintenance Free’ batteries.

This means that the electrolyte level cannot be checked and the health of the battery can be checked through a coloured sight glass on top of the battery.

However, in older batteries there are 6 caps on top of the battery that can be removed to check the electrolyte level inside.

Over time, the electrolyte level may drop as it evaporates through the breather tube attached to the battery, and will need to be topped up to keep the battery in top condition.

Bad alternator

An alternator that is not charging correctly will significantly reduce the life of your battery, as it will not top up the battery charge whilst the vehicle is running.

Having the charging system inspected at the same time as the battery is a good way to narrow down a problem.

Current draw

If a component in the vehicle is staying on after the vehicle is switched off, this will cause a drain on the battery.

If this is not rectified, the battery may be drained when you next go to start your car.

These issues may be hard to locate, or can be as simple as leaving your interior light on overnight.

If your alternator and battery are testing ok, but still have a drained battery after leaving the vehicle, having your electrical system inspected is highly recommended.

Corroded battery terminals

The battery cables and terminals are both susceptible to corrosion.

The acid from the battery can cause corrosion to appear on the terminals of the battery and this prevents proper contact.

This can cause hard to start issues and not allow the alternator to fully charge the battery.

If you notice a white, powdery substance on the terminals of your battery, it will need to be cleaned away to restore proper contact between the cables and the battery.

Applying terminal protection grease or Vaseline can stop this issue from re-occurring.

Vehicles equipped with stop/start systems

More and more new vehicles are being fitted with this feature, which shuts down the engine during certain situations to save fuel.

These systems place massive stress on the vehicles starting system, including the battery.

Manufacturers have designed special batteries for these vehicles.

Using a battery that is not certified for these systems may cause starting difficulties, and premature battery failure.

Battery inspection

Our mechanics will load test your battery as well as check the charging system of your vehicle, including the output of the alternator and quote on necessary replacement or repairs if needed.

Battery replacement

Our mechanics will remove and replace your vehicles battery, including recycling your old battery and carry out a test on the charging system to make sure everything is in working order.

Battery cables will also be cleaned if required.

Note – You may lose radio and clock settings during this repair, so make sure to have any necessary radio PIN codes handy to restore operation.

Why it's important to have you car battery checked

Having your battery inspected and charging system checked will give you peace of mind whenever you turn your vehicle off.

Operating a vehicle with a failed battery or charging system can be dangerous. Your vehicle may stop suddenly, endangering your family and other motorists around you.

If you notice any of these symptoms, have your vehicle inspected by a qualified service provider listed on AutoGuru, you can even get a fully certified mobile mechanic come to your house, office or roadside – Too Easy!

Image credit:Charging car batteryAutomotive Rhythms

avatar image

Written By

Joel Ilton

Finding a passion for cars from a young age, Joel carried out work experience as a mechanic whilst at school before starting an apprenticeship after finishing year 12.

After almost 10 years on the tools and in customer service, he moved into the IT realm as a Data Analyst and In-House mechanic at AutoGuru.