How to Recycle a Dead Car Battery

JackPak is a portable battery pack that will get your drained car battery charged and running in no time, but a dead or drained car battery can also be a sign of a larger issue. If the battery died because of some small error, say for instance you simply left your headlights on all night, a healthy car battery will be easy to jump, and it will hold its charge. However, if you're regularly busting out JackPak to jump your car, there's a problem. It might be time to get a new battery, and that means getting rid of the old one. Here's how to safely dispose of and recycle that old car battery. That is, of course, unless you get your battery from a service station and pay both parts and labor for installation. If that's the case, they'll dispose of that battery for you.

Filling up a bike tire with air pump

Step 1: Remove the old battery

Go here to see a full breakdown on how to change the average car battery. Before you start, be sure to remove any metal from your wrist or neck. Never let any metal make contact with a terminal and another piece of metal at the same time. Always wear protective insulating gloves!

Step 2: Install the new battery

Follow the directions for installing a battery according to the battery's instructions and the make and model of your vehicle. The JackPak portable power pack works with any 12V battery, so there will be no compatibility issues going forward with any battery you choose.

Step 3: Understand the importance of recycling

It's important to know why we're recycling these old batteries. They are extremely hazardous to people and the environment because they contain a lot of lead (which is why they're so heavy), in addition to acid and other chemicals. Throwing them in the trash is simply not an option, even if you have to go a little out of your way to dispose of one. You can do it! You're saving money and the turtles!

Step 4: Prepare the old battery for transport

There are two things to account for when moving an old battery. 1) Possible leakage from the terminals or other damaged area. 2) The sheer weight of the thing. Wrap the battery in a protective layer of plastic. Double-bagged garbage bags will suffice in a pinch. Then place it on something stable and disposable—a thick piece of cardboard will do nicely. Transport it on the floor of your vehicle, or in the trunk. You don't want it sliding off seats or bumping into objects. It's heavy, and if it falls, it might crack or cause something else to crack. No good.

Step 5: Return the old battery to a parts store or retailer

Many auto parts stores will accept batteries free of charge. Basically, if they sell new batteries, they'll take your old one and safely handle the recycling. They might even refund your core charge, which is a fee some retailers assess upfront, and return it to you upon return of the used part. Think of the core charge as a sort of incentive to properly dispose of the battery. Be sure to hang on to your receipts, so you can provide proof of purchase!

Skip steps 1 & 2: Hire a mobile mechanic or drop your car off for service

If you don't want to take 45 minutes to an hour to change your own car battery, or you just don't want to deal with the potential mess of leaky lead-acid, any dealership, auto service shop or mobile mechanic can do the job. Note that most 12V batteries cost between $50 – $100, and most shops will charge between $130 - $200 for parts and labor. So, depending on your vehicle and the cost of the labor, it might be wort hit to you just to get the thing installed professionally. But, if you can save a few bucks by doing it yourself, do so, and then go ahead and take the old man or lady out to dinner. Really enjoy those savings! Whatever you do, don't throw your old car battery in the trash. And don't forget to keep JackPak on-hand to give you a safe, reliable charge whenever you need it most.