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How much does it cost to change a car battery?

Stephen Wright, 1 year ago

5 min read

  • Advice
  • Repair
VARTA battery test

Need a new battery? WhoCanFixMyCar explains how much it's likely to cost for a replacement

It’s a fact of life that changing your car battery is something you’ll have to face at some point as a driver. But exactly how much should you be paying, and how do you know whether or not you're getting a good deal? Thanks to WhoCanFixMyCar, there's no need to guess.

The average cost of changing a battery is £169.70 according to our data from 2021.

How much does it cost to change a car battery for different makes?

Costs can vary dramatically depending on the make and model of your car, with the average cost of a battery for a BMW topping the chart at £223.55, while at the other end of the spectrum you have Renault at £146.07.

Average Cost of a Replacing a Battery

Can I change a car battery myself?

On older cars, changing the battery is fairly simple and involves a spanner and a few minutes of your time. However, when it comes to modern cars, replacing your old battery isn’t straightforward given the complexity of most modern cars and the need for your battery to be coded to their system.

Mechanic inspecting car battery

How do I change a car battery?

Find out how to change a car battery in our step-by-step guide.

How long does it take to change a car battery?

The whole process of changing a car battery usually takes around 15 to 30 minutes.

How to change a car battery without losing settings

Resetting your battery without disrupting your radio signal and losing the settings doesn't require much work. It's actually pretty simple to do.

The reason that your settings can sometimes be lost is because of a safety feature; some manufacturers disable the radio when there is no power until a particular code is entered, the idea being that this will deter thieves.

Unfortunately, lots of drivers are unaware of this code and how to enter it. You can avoid having to use a code simply by using an alternative power source while changing your battery, or purchasing a memory saver. A booster pack or 12V battery with jump leads will do the trick.

Simply connect the alternative power source before removing the old battery and replacing it.

Here's how to connect a 12V donor battery.

Step 1

Connect the red clip to the dead battery's positive terminal

Step 2

Connect the other end of the red clip to the donour battery's positive terminal

Step 3

Connect the black clip to the donour battery's negative terminal

Step 4

Connect the other end of the black clip to a metal part of the car which is far away from the dead battery

Step 5

Start the engine

When you're ready to connect your new battery, lower it into place without disturbing any of the current jump leads. The positive terminal should be connected to the red and the negative to the black.

As you add the leads to your new battery, avoid knocking any other clips. Tighten the bolts to keep the clamps in place. Once you detach the crocodile clips it's safe to remove your donour battery.

What are the signs that a battery needs replacing?

Cars will always have tell-tale signs if something is wrong, and it’s no different when it comes to car batteries. Undertaking regular checks will help determine if your car battery is on the way out, and knowing the symptoms of a worn-out battery will also help you to prevent a potential breakdown at some point in the future.

Your battery might need replacing if:

  • There is a build-up of green, powdery residue on the terminals.

  • You can see a battery warning light on your dashboard.

  • The engine takes longer to start and feels like it is struggling.

Where is my car battery located?

Most drivers would assume that the battery is located at the front, but never assume anything – especially with cars. These days, only about 58 per cent of batteries can be found under the bonnet with about 40 per cent now in the boot (to help with weight distribution) and the remainder inside the cabin.


How can I make my car battery last longer?

On the whole, car batteries are pretty good at looking after themselves. However, there are definitely some ways in which you can help prolong its life and maximise the return on your investment:

Try to avoid too many short journeys

Your car battery gets a good workout every time your turn the key on the ignition, recharging itself as you drive along. But if you only do short journeys, your battery doesn’t have time to fully recharge, and repeated short journeys will result in the battery voltage steadily falling. If you can, drive your car frequently and try and plan in longer journeys if possible. Alternatively, invest in a battery charger as that will help to maintain the correct voltage.

Keep usage to a minimum when the engine is turned off

Batteries love being at 100 per cent charge, so try to avoid having the headlights on. The same applies to interior lights and the Infotainment System.

Ensure your battery stays clean

Make sure the top of your battery is clean, dry and free of dirt. The battery terminals will corrode over time and keeping them clear of any build-up of residue will help extend the lifetime of the battery.

Don’t leave your car unused for long periods

It's vital that car batteries are kept fully charged to avoid losing charge (sometimes known as ‘self-discharge’). Prolonged periods of non-use will drain the battery. If you’re not going to be using your car for any amount of time it’s worth thinking about a battery charger to make sure your battery is in tip-top condition.

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