What Should I Do with Old Car Batteries

Technician is pulling up an car old battery for replacement

Automobile batteries typically have a life span of 3 or 4 years, but after that, it is time to dispose of it. Below, we have included the suggestions and requirements for what to do with an old car battery

Car batteries can be recycled, reused, or disposed of. The fastest and simplest way to get rid of or recycle an old car battery is to take it to either the manufacturer, where the old car battery was purchased, or to the retailer from which the new battery is being purchased.

Although it doesn’t seem like a complicated task, there are both federal and state laws regarding the disposal of car batteries, as well as safety warnings for the handling of them.


This type of battery is called a lead-acid battery which has more uses than just being for a car. These batteries are also used in boats, motorcycles, golf carts, snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), and even in some wheelchairs. They can even be utilized as a generator of sorts; one idea for this is to use them as backup power for something like a basement sump pump or a power supply for a computer.

If your car battery is just old and not malfunctioning, it might be worth looking into upcycling for one of these purposes. It is important to note that this should really only be done if you are experienced with handling vehicles and batteries. (Source)

Charging car battery with a car battery charger


Nearly half of the states require car batteries to be recycled as opposed to thrown away, so it would be important to check if you fall into that category to avoid any fines or penalties. A small portion of the states lawfully requires that manufacturers offer recycling services. This is nice because for you as the customer, all you have to do is take the old battery back to the producer. It is very simple and quick and also helps benefit the environment.

The easiest way to recycle this product is to take the battery back to the manufacturer or to the business from which you are purchasing the new battery. This is a fantastic option because they will properly handle it and all you have to do is drop it off. It is also a very common practice that the retailer or producer will either give you money back for returning the battery or a discount on the new battery. This is to help encourage environmentally friendly ways of getting rid of hazardous materials.


I recently had my car battery die on me after moving to a different state and I very quickly had to learn how to replace and dispose of it safely. Being my first experience with car batteries, I was able to learn some tips for disposal that could be very useful for others.

In my experience, my plan was to buy a new battery and then have my friend help me replace the old one. When I went to the auto shop to buy the new battery, the workers told me that they actually provide a deal for these batteries. They informed me that this retailer offers you $10-15 off of a new battery when you bring your old one back to them. This is the easiest solution for disposal because an auto shop would know how to get rid of it safely, you get a deal off of a new battery, and it’s less time-consuming and complicated for you.

Mechanic engineer fixing car battery in garage (selective focus).

Proper Handling

When transporting the battery, it is crucial to do so safely to not injure or harm yourself in any way. Because these batteries have hazardous material and chemicals, they can be dangerous if handled improperly.

It is essential to note that the battery can never be stored or transported on its side, it should always be stored upright. This is because some types have something called vent caps which can leak out acid if it is tipped over. It is recommended to place the battery in two plastic bags or a thicker, heavy-duty option like a plastic container. These options are suggested to reduce the chance of the old battery getting your vehicle grimy and gross, but also to contain any fluid leaks. (Source)


The best tip I can give from my personal experience is that if you are replacing the car battery, bring the old one to the retailer where you are purchasing the new one from. Another helpful thing to know for handling is if your battery isn’t too old or corroded, you should be able to read instructions and warnings on the battery itself. This is very helpful to look at so that you know what to do and how to do so in a safe manner.

Another crucial tip is to know what kind of battery you have, hybrid and electric vehicles possess a different type of battery that requires slightly different steps. These are called Li-ion batteries and can be used for energy storage when installed in buildings. The difference with these batteries is that they are larger and more complicated to handle and remove.

If you are looking to get rid of one of these, it is recommended by the EPA that you just contact either the manufacturer or retailer of the battery for removal and disposal options.

Old battery corrosion, seal lead acid battery damage.


It is important to be very cautious about what you do with the car battery, it is not something that you can throw in the dumpster or your home’s garbage. There are federal and state laws regarding the allocation of this type of battery and some states require these batteries to be recycled and not just discarded, while other states have no such restrictions. It is highly important to check what your state requirements are, that information can be viewed using the link below. (Source)

The typical car battery is composed of 18 pounds of lead and approximately one gallon of sulfuric acid mixed with corrosive lead, both of which are hazardous to the environment and our bodies. It is important to follow the warnings and instructions on the battery along with the proper handling suggestions.

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