How to Dispose of Car Batteries That Are Passed Saving

A senior man recycling a car battery

Did you know car batteries are toxic waste? Car batteries contain a number of hazardous chemicals that can poison the environment for years and years.

Because they’re so hazardous, it’s illegal to dispose of old car batteries improperly. Doing so can land you a hefty fine and time in prison—for each offence.

Needless to say then, it’s imperative to know how to dispose of car batteries properly when one dies on you. Fortunately for you, we’re here to teach you this knowledge. 

Learn all you need to know about old car battery disposal in the guide below.

Have Someone Else Do It

First, we should mention that the best way to dispose of an old car battery is via a qualified professional. Most automotive centres not only sell you the car battery but will also install it for you at a very low price. They may even do it for free.

Best of all, they typically dispose of your old battery for free, too. When you need a new battery for your car, it’s easiest and safest to take it to a nearby auto shop and let them handle it.

If the car needing a new battery isn’t drivable, there are mobile car repair services you can call as well. Call them up and they’ll meet you where the car is and swap out the battery on the spot.

DIY Car Battery Disposal 

Perhaps you already bought the new battery and don’t want to pay a professional to come to your house. Or maybe you’re trying to increase your automotive skills.

Whatever the reason, it may be that you’ve decided to replace and/or dispose of one or more car batteries yourself. If that’s so, follow these steps for safe and legal battery disposal.

Safety

It may be that the battery has leaked, or will leak, acid or other dangerous chemicals where you could come into contact with them during removal or handling. These chemicals are harmful to eyes and skin.

Before you get started, you’ll need the proper safety gear. Wear safety goggles to protect your eyes and waterproof gloves to protect your skin.

Disconnect the Battery

If you are removing the battery yourself from the vehicle, here’s how you do it.

Find the negative terminal on the battery. Wearing your safety gear, loosen the nut on the negative terminal with your hand or a socket wrench.

There’s often corrosion surrounding the old battery’s terminals. You might want to keep an old rag nearby on which to wipe off your gloves during this process.

Next, detach the ground cable you just loosened and set it off to the side. Tuck it away so it cannot come into contact with any of the terminals when removing the battery.

Now, repeat the whole process the same way on the positive terminal.

Remove the Battery

All cars have some way of securing the battery in place but it differs from model to model. Regardless, there will be straps, clips, screws, etc., fastening the battery to the vehicle.

If you’re not sure how exactly to free your battery from the vehicle, look it up in your user’s manual. If you don’t have the manual, it should be available online.

Be careful not to break or lose any part of this fastening system when you remove the battery. Otherwise, any new batteries put in could come loose while driving.

Preparing the Battery For Transport

For your own safety, it’s smart to be aware of any leaks in the battery. Do a visual inspection to check for leaking.

Whether or not you see any leaks, you always want to double-bag the battery in durable, plastic trash bags. It may have a leak you didn’t notice or may start leaking during transportation.

Wrap it up, tie it off, and keep the bag upright during transport. This will safeguard against any leaking.

Position the battery securely on the floor or in the boot of the vehicle you’re transporting it in. You need to ensure it won’t tip over during transport or acid could leak from the top of the bag into your vehicle.

Know Where to Recycle Your Car Battery

Simply do a local search online for battery recycling centres in your area. Call the centre you’re planning on using and make sure they take car batteries before you drive all the way out to them. You don’t want to transport a hazardous old car battery any more than you have to.

Also, as we said, almost all automotive service shops, even automotive departments in department stores, will accept old car batteries for free. Other places to try include the retailer you bought the battery from or other auto parts dealers. Just call and check first.

If you’re having trouble locating a centre that takes automotive batteries in your area, check Earth911.com. There, you can search for car battery recyclers near you.

Know What You’re Doing

Some recycling centres only pick up by appointment. Others will come to you and pick up the battery from your house. Be sure to call ahead and make the proper arrangements before heading out.

Try Selling Your Battery

You may also try a scrap metal depot. Scrap metal services will often buy your spent car battery for cash.

If you have a few different scrap metal depots in your area, you may want to try them first. Call around and see who offers the most money.

If you find a favourable offer, make arrangements the same as you would if recycling. 

Now You Know How to Dispose of Car Batteries

If disposing of old car batteries yourself, you absolutely must follow these guidelines. Otherwise, the price you’ll pay for negligent disposal is steep. Besides that, these consequences are so easily avoidable!

Do yourself a favour. Bookmark this guide on how to dispose of car batteries properly and obey it completely.

Now, are you ready to install your new battery as well? If not, we can help with that, too! Simply read this guide on how to change a car battery.

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