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We’ve all been there – you jump into your car on a chilly evening, put the key in the ignition and…nothing. A flat car battery is a pain, especially when you’ve got somewhere to be. But as batteries have a limited lifespan, it’s a common problem, so it’s quick and easy to have them replaced.

It doesn’t need to be a pricey affair either, with our super simple garage comparison tool. Simply enter your reg plate and postcode, and we’ll find the best deals from garages near you.

How to replace a car battery

When the time comes to replace your car’s battery, there are lots of options. You can buy one online or in a shop and take it to a garage who will fit it for you, but they may charge you extra to do this, as they’ll need to dispose of your old battery responsibly. Some shops such as Halfords will fit it for you if you buy the battery through them.

Alternatively, you can book a mobile mechanic to replace your battery. Big brands include RAC and the AA, but there are also lots of independent mobile mechanics too.

The simplest route is to compare quotes from your local garages and book in with them to look after the whole process for you. They’ll order the right battery, replace it, and dispose of your old one for you. Done and dusted, and back on the road.

Can I fit a new car battery myself?

Yes, you can. But you need to be pretty confident in what you’re doing, and as with all potentially messy jobs, replacing a car battery isn’t always straightforward. Some modern cars will need the new battery to be coded to their system, and if something goes wrong mid-way through, you could end up with a more expensive job to have it rectified. And then you’ll need to take your dead battery to the local recycling centre for disposal.

How much does car battery replacement cost?

The cost of car battery replacement varies depending on the make and model of your car, the brand of battery you choose, and the way you choose to replace it.

Typical battery replacement cost in the UK is between £150 and £300. AA will fit a car battery for free for members with home cover, for £10 for non-home cover members, and for £35 for non members.

Halfords will fit it from £25, and independent garages will charge a little more than this, however, you get the satisfaction of supporting a small business.

The battery itself can cost anywhere from £50 to £300. It really varies depending on the car, and specifically the technology within your car (think cameras and entertainment consoles etc). Cars with stop/start technology are also pricier.

Most batteries today come with a guarantee. For cheaper ones, it’s typically one year, while for leading brands such as Bosch and Yuasa, they offer five year warranties.

How long do car batteries last?

Most car batteries will last around five years. If your battery is struggling before then, it could be that you’re not driving the car enough, or are doing lots of short journeys, which doesn’t give the battery enough time to recharge. If that’s not the case, it could be a sign of a potential fault, which definitely needs looking into by a professional.

And of course, there’s always the chance of user error flattening the battery, such as leaving the lights on overnight, or sitting too long with the heating and radio on and the engine off.

When to replace a car battery

When your car battery has died completely, it’s easy to tell, because your car simply won’t start. If your car does start, but it takes longer than it used to, it could be a sign that your battery is getting old. Similarly, if the battery keeps going flat even after you’ve been on a long drive or recharged it, it’s probably time to get a replacement.

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Written By Michael Foote, Insurance and Finance Expert

Michael Foote is the founder of Quote Goat and has over 13 years experience working in the finance, insurance and currency sectors. Since launching Quote Goat he has appeared on TV as well as many of the largest online publications including Forbes, The Telegraph and The Metro. Prior to Quote Goat, he worked in finance in the city for a number of firms including HSBC.