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When did batteries get so expensive?

Started the truck yesterday morning, went to town. Started again and returned home. Went out 5 minutes later and no start, not even a click. The interior light came on dimly. I checked the battery voltage with a DVM, read 12.55 volts, so I took it to AutoZone where I bought it and had it load tested, no juice. I go to the battery isle to get a replacement and it was $125. Last time I bought a battery for this truck, it was only something like $39. I am shocked.

That battery you just replaced must be at least a decade old, because I noticed prices going up on car batteries back in 2003. Heck, even a small lead-acid motorcycle battery costs $70-80 now.

Even Walmart was $70 about five years ago. I bought a Delco for my Olds about three years ago and it was $150. I bought a Delco for my Pontiac last winter and it was $120. My mower battery was $70 last year. Yeah they aren’t cheap.

I’ll bet half of that $ is haz-mat rules and regs and procedures implimented and enforced since then.
Dealership o.e. batteries are now right in line with the others.

I don’t know when the price explosion occurred, but battery prices seem to have doubled over the last few years…In May of 2009, lead hit a price bottom at $.50/lb. Today lead is selling for $1.00/Lb…So in the average car battery, that would account for about $20 of the price rise…The rest must just be profit margin…

It’s the law of supply and demand. When the auto manufacturers went back to inside hood releases, it cut back the battery supply to Midnight Auto Parts, one of the big retailers of used batteries. Thus the other retailers of batteries lost a major competitor and are thus able to charge more for their batteries.

You can still get a very good battery for about $65-$70 at Costco.

Batteries have taken a big jump up in price over the last few years. A new battery for my Lincoln was 81 dollars a couple of years ago at Wal Mart and 50 something just prior to that. The same battery now is 110 dollars.

The cheapest lawn tractor batteries jumped from a shade under 20 dollars to a shade under 30 in a little over a year.

The core charge has gone from 2 dollars to 9 also.

Whitey, you nailed it, I bought that battery in 2003. It had a manufacturers code of Feb 2003. I have bought a few batteries since, three for the Honda and one for the Saturn and all of them ran about $70. The Honda went through 2 Walmart top of the line batteries in three years, it now has a Costco battery in it. I think the Saturn is another Duralast from Walmart.

Now I am a little concerned about the alternator in the truck. It puts out about 13.9 volts right after start up and drops to about 13.4 within a minute. If I turn on the blower fan (AC), it drops to 13.2 to 13.0 volts and the yellow indicator light on the plug in meter turns on. The meter is a digital meter you plug into the accessory power port (cigarette lighter) and it has three lights as well, red, yellow and green. The battery is still showing a 12.6 to 12.7 volt charge on it.

This is the alternator that had the screeching belt. I put on a better quality belt and the screeching went away, but sometimes it still will screech a little if I start the engine with the blower on #2 or higher speed.

The alternator tested good at AutoZone when I had the screeching belt.

OK4450, the core charge is now $15 BTW.

All you have to do is watch fuel prices. When they go up everything else goes up in price. But the funny thing is, when fuel prices drop none of the other prices drop.


Seconding @Docnick, I too have very good luck with Costco batteries for both my Coroll and my Ford truck. I haven’t noticed any significant price increases there. I purchased one last year for my Corolla & it was $60 (after the core charge is refunded) as I recall. The Costco car batteries don’t last forever, but they have lasted as long or longer than other brands I’ve tried. 5-6 years for my Corolla. The current battery is my truck is older than that, but I don’t drive the truck as often.

Consumer Reports has an article on car batteries once in a while. That’s another source of price and reliability info.

When did every ting get so expensive, up to 48$ per gallon for good paint, and ice packs small size $8.95 on sale at walgreeens!

It’s what the market will allow. Lead acid batteries for cars are pretty low end and cheap to make. They could probably sell the one you refer to for $39 which now sells or $120, and still make a profit. This is one area where you get nothing better then what you need, but or a higher price. For little more, they could make batteries that last the life of the car. But, like exhaust systems of old, until someone makes ( regulates)them do something like that, it’s money for nothin. Ancient technology lead acid batteries are a huge money maker for battery makers world wide.

"when did everything get so expensive ?"
Since the minimum wage went up to $15 an hour. Oh, it isn’t ? That must be why so many people are in poverty.

@keith, state laws must be different there to rate a 15 dollar core charge. The 9 dollar core here seemed high to me; especially seeing as how it went from 2 to 9 in just a couple of years.

$48 a gallon for good paint? Like I said before, when I was talking to the body shop last year he’d just ordered a gallon of paint for $400 and that’s on the cheap side. House stain is $54. Cost of oil and EPA.

It’s my understanding that huge demand in China (for all that paint and toy jewelry?) drove up the price of lead.

You guys are all talkin’ as if there’s one single factor that affects the price of batteries. In reality, everything from market forces locally and worldwide and for both the batteries and the raw materials, to transportation costs and taxes, to the costs of meeting the myriad of regulatory mandates, affect the cost of batteries. The variables are never ending.

Fact is, life is getting expensive.

Are the cold cranking amps the same on the old battery and the new one? My 2005 Accord V6 came with 440 CCA. I increased it to 640 CCA with an AutoCraft Gold ($125). The next lower version is $104 at 575 CCA. Still significantly higher than the OE level.

jt, not exactly. The ten year old battery I replaced was AutoZone’s top of the line Duralast at that time. The new one is the current top of the line. The CCA is close but not exactly the same.

Yea, I also have notice battery price has gone up. For a cheapo battery goes for $90 when it use to be $45. I use to remember the Optima Red Top battery was only $120 and now its almost $200. Since original battery gone through the roof in price, might as will buy the deep cycle car audio battery such as XS Power, Stringer, Kineck, etc… these last way longer than original battery with only a few dollars more then regular battery and have a better warranty/customer service.