With the massive increase in online shopping many people are also looking at buying their car parts and accessories online to save a bit of money and also to take advantage of the "delivered to you door" service to squeeze a little more out of our already busy lives.
Is buying a car battery online a good deal ?
Is there any problems with buying a car battery online ?
In many cases, on the face of it, buying a car battery online seems to be the cheapest option, however I would like to mention some potential pitfalls to what seems like a simple deal.
Car Batteries are normally deemed as a distress purchase. Mostly purchased when the car doesn't start and in most cases needed to be fixed immediately. The most convenient way to do this is normally to get it done straight away at a local fitter/mechanic.
Battery Quality & Specification
Do you know the exact size of the battery you need ? Physical Size, Electrical Properties (CCA / Ah), Construction type (Standard, EFB, AGM)
Is the battery you have in the vehicle at the moment the correct one ?
Can you fit a larger one there ?
All these would be answered immediately when your vehicle is taken to a local battery company or mechanic.
We have found that some online retailers have sold batteries of low quality or dubious specification, as it is more difficult and less likely for these to be returned under warranty than if purchased from a local parts shop or garage.
I must say that this is not true of all online retailers......
All batteries have to be fitted, and are becoming an increasingly technical product. To ensure this is done properly the correct tools are necessary which can be anything from special sockets and allen keys to extended deep sockets or a OBD ECU battery reset/register tool. Incorrect fitting can lead to the vehicle not working, reduced life, early failure and simply be dangerous if what some DIY fitments we have seen in the past is anything to go by.
Some fitments are relatively straight forward, some can take up to an hour or more by a properly trained mechanic and specialist tools !
Checking the Vehicle and Charging System
Many professional battery fitters/companies will also check the old battery before changing a new one, along with checking the alternator, starter motor and also to see if you have a drain on the battery. This is great, as the last thing you want is to change the battery, then realise it was something else in the car that needed fixing, and the new battery is now ruined by the original problem, costing you 3 times as much to put right.
Old Battery Disposal
Your old battery is now classed as hazardous waste so you cannot place this in the bin and needs to be disposed of properly. All battery fitters will take away the old unit for proper recycling.
Nobody wants to think about future problems with batteries, however as with any mass produced product there is always a chance of premature failure. If the product is purchased online, please check the terms or guarantee conditions. Many online retailers require the battery to be returned to them for checking.... Have you tried taking a used car battery to the post office to send (Royal Mail and most other companies will not send used batteries).
If you do manage to send it back can you wait a week or so without use of your vehicle for the battery to be checked ?
If purchased locally you have a place you can take the battery back to where they can either test and diagnose it on the spot or at the very least provide a loan battery while yours gets checked so that you are able to continue using your vehicle in the meantime.
This article is just food for thought. We wanted to point out that with batteries becoming a more integral part of the cars electrical system and being placed in increasingly hard places to reach it sometimes pays to get it done professionally buy a local battery supplier.