Dead Car Battery? Don't Buy a New One ... Swap It for a Good Used One (With Video)
If you attempted to re-charge your battery and the charger went immediately into a "Full" charge state, then that's it! The battery can be considered shot.
Now there are ways to potentially bring a battery back to life, but it may take time and effort to revive it. Most people won't bother and just trade it in for a new one. But here's an alternative, if you want to save a little money. Why not swap your dead battery for a battery that's only partially discharged? I've found that around 50% of traded-in batteries are partially discharged. What you'll need is a battery testing tool that measures both voltage and amperage to give you a good idea of the condition of the battery.
Auto retailers place traded-in batteries on a pallet in the back of the store. Some vendor drops by every week to pick them up, presumably to attempt to recharge and resell them off label as "used reconditioned" batteries. If you have a good relationship with your local auto parts store, they may let you swap your dead battery for a traded-in one sitting on a pallet. Otherwise, there are other sources you could pursue. Township recycling centers may take used batteries, and my local auto salvage yards sell charged batteries for $25 to $30.
Why Batteries Go Bad
Car batteries, unless they have some mechanical defect, can last for many, many years if you take care of them. Battery sulfation is the primary reason for battery failures. Sulfation can be caused by:
- Corroded battery terminal connections. If the connections are corroded the alternator cannot provide enough current to recharge the battery during vehicle operation.
- An undriven vehicle. Vehicles should be driven at least twice a week to allow the alternator to recharge the battery.
- Long term vehicle storage, where the battery was not disconnected and placed on a trickle charger
- Low battery fluid (sulfuric acid) levels where distilled water was not added.
- A malfunctioning alternator that has only sporadically been charging the battery.
Video: Swap Your Battery for a Traded-In Battery
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
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