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When Did Car Batteries Get So Expensive?

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  • When Did Car Batteries Get So Expensive?

    While searching for a new battery for our 1998 Honda Civic, I couldn't help but notice that the prices seemed to have jumped by 35% or more in the past few years. Gone are the $55 and $60 deals, and most start in the $80 range. That Civic takes a battery that's barely a step up from a motorcycle battery...it should be cheap. It seems to me that I just bought a battery for our big Ford Econoline van 3 years ago for ~$65. Did I miss something contributing to a sudden increase, or has it just been long enough that normal inflation is has pushed them farther than I realized?
    Happiness is sort of like wetting your pants....everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth.

  • #2
    The Price of Lead is outragous.
    Thats the major cause. I pour my own lead for fishing weights, but was in Walmart last week. They were charging $1.20 for an 8oz fishing weight.
    Every tool you own is broken, you just don't know it yet :-)

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    • #3
      Walmarts lead weights might be expensive, but their batterys are the lowest price I,ve found anywhere including most all of the auto parts stores, Got 2 new ones for the wifes and mines SUV,s for $120, not too bad and a pretty decent warranty to boot.

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      • #4
        I just replaced the battery in my 2000 ranger pick up last december. That battery was still cranking good but it was ten years old and I thought I had gotten my moneys worth from it. The new one cost about $70 and had a three year replacement warrenty. The new one might outlast me.
        Wayne
        Wayne J

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        • #5
          Costco's kirkland battery is reasonably priced and has a nice warranty. The self-service selection is not huge but the honda should be in the mix

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          • #6
            Thanks for the explanation and the leads gang. I can't even seem to locate batteries on the Walmart or Samsclub site....any links?
            Happiness is sort of like wetting your pants....everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth.

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            • #7
              Have you tried the auto parts stores (chains), like NAPA, Autozone, Discount, or even Sears?
              .

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              • #8
                Originally posted by cabinetman View Post
                Have you tried the auto parts stores (chains), like NAPA, Autozone, Discount, or even Sears?
                .
                Yep....$70+ for that little battery. I can get a 500CCA Prostart battery by Johnson Controls from Pep Boys for $73 + tax with core exchange, Diehard for $70+ tax and exchange, but I'd like to do better.
                Happiness is sort of like wetting your pants....everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth.

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                • #9
                  I suspect that you have a battery that is not too common anymore. While I can't say I'm particularly knowledgeable about the specific size and requirements of you 12-yo Civic, I think "availability" has a lot to do with it. My 1995 Miata MX-5 takes a gel-cell, but other than the dealer they are hard to locate. Many companies make an equivalent lead-acid size, including Interstate, Autozone, etc. But I'm looking at $85 to $100 or more, depending on the source. I only drive this vehicle in the summer, for fun, so it was hard on batteries until I bought a maintenance charger to keep it up to par during those long garage periods.

                  Shop around and don't hesitate to ask "what's up" with the higher price.

                  CWS
                  Think it Through Before You Do!

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                  • #10
                    I got a top of the line Interstate about 6 months ago for $100.00 flat... A Walmart batter would have cost me $60.00 installed, but I like batteries I am familiar with...

                    Having said that, my Saturn has a Walmart battery that has lived through 3 Texas summers / winters so far... I may be willing to put one in the truck next time...
                    My personal workshop blog is http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com. My camping / hunting / outdoor blog is http://wildersport-outdoors.blogspot.com/ |My DIY / Woodworking Youtube Channel

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                    • #11
                      I actually paid $100 for a battery from Walmart 2 years ago, but it was highly recommended across the board.
                      It was sticker shock for me also, but if you break it down to a six year life, you're really only talking about 5-6 cents a day.
                      You don't need a parachute to skydive, you only need a parachute to skydive twice.

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                      • #12
                        We haven't replaced car batteries in a while but we use Die Hards. We can count on about 7 years of life from them.

                        I have to replace the airplane's 28 volt gel mat battery about every four or five years (waiting until it dies is very unwise). $400 including shipping. One reason they're so expensive is really low production - maybe 30,000 per year.

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                        • #13
                          I've always gotten very good longevity out of my car batteries. I had a 84 Toyota Tercel wagon that I purchased new and drove until 1997 and only replaced the battery once. In 97' we bought a used 91 Plymouth Grand Voyoger which we replaced in 2006; I never had to replace the battery in it.

                          My 1995 Miata which only has a little over 34,000 miles on it, is only on its third battery. Unfortunately, the second battery didn't get driven very much and after the second winter it was shot, which was totally my fault. The new battery stays plugged in during the winter, non-drive, months.

                          I think that is pretty good considering we live in NY state with its stifling summers and all too cold winters.

                          CWS
                          Think it Through Before You Do!

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                          • #14
                            Thanks for the additional input. Can anyone confirm that the batts made by Johnson Controls are good quality?
                            Happiness is sort of like wetting your pants....everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Knottscott View Post
                              Thanks for the additional input. Can anyone confirm that the batts made by Johnson Controls are good quality?
                              Yes, the batteries I sell for the heavy duty truck market are made by Johnson Controls and, we have had very good success with them. They are the first battery line we've had with an almost non-existant warranty return ratio. That is in a very harsh environment too.
                              Also, our batteries increased in price about 2 years ago by about 35%. I was told then that the Chinese were buying all the lead they could get their hands on, decreasing our supply while increasing the price in our own marketplace. That has supposedly changed now but, the battery pricing hasn't changed any. I guess what goes up, does not have to come down after all.
                              Do like you always do,,,,,,Get what you always get!!

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