Motor Insurance

How Much is a New Car Battery in the UK 2020?

Motorists can pay anywhere from £60 to £320 or more to replace a car battery in the UK. We surveyed main dealers, independent workshops and high street chains to find car battery prices to help you spot a good deal.

New car battery prices in the UK range from around £60 to £185, depending factors like the brand, the length of the battery guarantee and conventional vs. start-stop technology. Having a car battery replaced professionally in the UK typically costs in the range of £115 to £320, including both the battery and labour installation costs, with prices varying significantly depending on the type of service center.

We’ve asked a number of main dealers, independent garages and high street stores to find out how much it would cost to replace a car battery. Here's what we found.

Average Car Battery Cost

The cost of a new car battery in the UK is £60 to £150 for a conventional battery and £110 to £190 for vehicles fitted with some sort of start/stop technology. Start/stop technology is harder on batteries, so those batteries are typically around 20-25% more expensive.

Beyond the battery cost, professional fitting adds to the price of car battery replacement. Chains like Halfords charge from just £15 for those on a budget (Halford's weFit service), while going to an independent workshop or a dealer will probably cost quite a bit more. Our survey for a Ford Fiesta found that independent workshops charge an average of £181 for a conventional battery replacement, while dealers charge £276—including battery and labour costs. AA charges £10 to fit your new battery and dispose of the old if you're a member, and £35 if you're not—plus you pay for the battery.

Average New Car Battery Replacement Cost UKConventionalStart/stop Technology
High street stores, battery price (e.g., Halfords)£100£135
High street stores, battery plus installation (e.g., Halfords)£115£150
Independent Workshop£181£221
Main dealer£276£321
Bar chart showing the average cost of UK car battery replacement prices
Where you have your car battery replaced affects the price you'll pay

Independent Network

Having a new battery fitted through an independent workshop will cost £181.15 for non-start/stop vehicles, and £221.08 for those fitted with the technology. The most expensive garage (in our study) was just £21.26 (£25.92 start/stop) more expensive than the least. The labour figure is quoted as less than one hour, although in our experience, a new battery can be fitted in around 20 minutes, including reprogramming the in-car entertainment.

Main Dealer Battery Costs

Again, the quoted labour time is less than one hour, but the average cost for a battery replacement through the main dealer network is £275.77 for non-start/stop and £320.80 for a start/stop battery. Some of that near-£100 difference is the mark up for parts, but the rest is swallowed by labour costs.

Depending on where you shop, you could be paying over double the amount for the same job; the most expensive main dealer was £357.42, the cheapest independent came in at just £170.61, a difference of £186.81.

Do I Need to Buy the Same Brand of Car Battery?

It's worth understanding that most car batteries are nearly identical, providing you’re choosing like for like; they come in a wide array of different types, from lead-acid, through to AGM (Absorbent Glass Material), and Gel, and of course, have different power ratings—a 3.0 litre diesel V6 needs much more starting power than a 600cc three-cylinder petrol engine for example.

This means that the competition is quite strong—the replacement battery doesn’t have to be labelled as a main dealer only part, and you can quite literally pick up car batteries from a wide range of outlets: high street automotive accessory stores, independent motor factors, main dealers, and of course, the independent workshop.

How Long Should a Car Battery Last?

It’s not quite as simple as that. Many different factors can affect a battery's performance and longevity, from environmental conditions through to how the car gets used, or even what type of driving it does. However, most batteries have a minimum number of starts before performance drops, this can range from around 20,000 through 50,000 for regular batteries, perhaps even as high as 360,000 for start/stop batteries.

All new batteries carry a guarantee, the minimum is typically for three years, and some companies offer double that. Under regular use, we’d expect a minimum service life of around four years, but well-maintained batteries can last for up to ten years without problems. Most car batteries on the market these days have a guarantee of 3, 4 or 5 years.

How to Charge a Car Battery

DISCLAIMER: The following is intended as a guide only. Different cars can sometimes require different charging procedures, in particular, vehicles fitted with stop/start technology may not be suitable for charging with a regular charger.

Before charging any vehicle battery, it’s always good practise to make sure that the battery terminals (also known as ‘posts’) are clean, and that the clamps are tight; the smallest amount of movement could indicate that the clamps aren’t tight enough, which could be the reason why your vehicle isn’t starting.

If you still need to charge your battery:

  • It’s entirely acceptable to charge the battery while it’s still connected to the vehicle, but as an extra safety measure, disconnecting the battery takes just a few a minutes, and will prevent any damage from occurring to the vehicle’s electrical systems, should things go wrong.
  • Always remove the negative lead first (usually coloured black), if both leads are black, check the top of the battery for '+' and '-' symbols. The negative lead is the '-' symbol. Be aware that you may need to recode your in-car entertainment system after battery disconnection.
  • Attach the leads from the battery charger, being careful to match positive to positive, and negative to negative. Ensure that the sprung loaded battery clamps from the charger are making good contact with the battery terminal. Switch the charger on and leave it to charge.
  • Once done, re-attach the battery leads, making sure to fit the positive lead first, and tighten the clamps.

It’s a similar process should you wish to change the car battery yourself, except you’ll also need to undo the restraining clamp to remove the battery.

How to Test a Car Battery

Unfortunately, there is no real way of testing a vehicle’s battery without the use of specialised test equipment. Even for driver’s that are armed with a voltage meter, that will only give you a basic readout of the stored volts, it won’t tell you how capable of delivering power it is, even more so when it’s under load. Most workshops have specialised equipment that can test a battery, and for the main part, they’re always happy to diagnose the charging system (including the battery) for a small fee.

How to Dispose of Car Batteries

All car batteries have hazardous substances inside them, and it’s for this reason that you’re not allowed to dispose of them (by law) with your regular household waste. Most recycling centres, scrap metal facilities and garages are able to dispose of them, some may charge a fee for doing so.

If you need to transport the battery, remember to always keep it upright, and preferably placed within a safe container, even if that’s just cardboard. Also, car batteries are heavy, be careful not to injure yourself while moving them.

FAQs

Possibly. Providing that you’re looking at like for like batteries (such as lead-acid), you need to ensure that the power rating is the same (or very close), this is usually measured in Amps, and you’ll see a figure like ‘600 CCA’ which means Cold Cranking Amps. Aside from that, the physical size of the battery needs to fit within the allocated space, and the terminals need to be placed the same way.
Some batteries can be topped up with fluid, but if your battery has been damaged, or is leaking fluid, then you should replace it as soon as you can. All batteries contain hazardous substances that are harmful for both you, and the environment.
It’s possible to leave a battery charging for sustained periods of time, but only with a smart or conditioning charger; something that reduces the input to a ‘trickle charge’ once the battery has charged fully. A smart charger will just maintain the level of charge.
No, even the best car insurance doesn't cover car battery replacement. However, breakdown services like AA and RAC offer battery replacement cover—under RAC battery cover, for example, they'll provide and fit a new starter battery if you have a breakdown due a faulty starter battery, at no extra charge.
Jamie Rogers

Jamie Rogers is a member of the Guild of Motoring Writers, the Alliance of Commercial Writers, and the Association of Heritage Engineers.

He has twenty-five years of industry experience, with everything from bespoke super-luxury SUVs to IndyCar and Formula 1. His work has been featured by The Guardian, Jaguar Land Rover Experience, The Royal Foundation, Coventry University and numerous dealer groups, independents, and specialists. For more information see Jamie's Linked In profile.

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