What To Do With An Old Car Battery: Safe Options To Consider

The role of a car battery is to provide enough power to start your vehicle and power its electrical components. After several years of usage, this battery becomes old, less effective, and requires replacement. But before you replace it, you need to know what to do with the old battery.

Getting a replacement is the easy part of dealing with old car batteries. You can simply visit or place an order with a local auto part retailer near you. The tricky part is how you choose to dispose of the battery.

An old car battery (in fact, batteries in general) cannot be thrown in waste bins or just anywhere. You need to recycle it properly, upcycle it, or sell it (if it is still functioning) to a retailer who can find other uses for it or transport it to a recycling center. 

This guide explains how each option works and why it is essential to the environment and healthy living. 

What to Do with an Old Car Battery


There are several ways you can safely dispose of your old car battery. They include:

1. Recycling 

To recycle a battery is to transport it to an appropriate battery recycling center near you. A simple online website can help you with that. If there is none near your residence, you can opt for municipal or county recycling centers.

Just know that these centers may request nominal fees. The last option for recycling is local service garages. and metal recycling centers. What most of these stations do is disassemble the old battery, remove the lead, and drain its sulfuric acid.

The sulfuric acid gets processed or is transported to a hazardous waste facility while the lead is used in a new car battery or melted into ingots. 

Alternatively, you can leave your old car battery at auto shops when you buy a new one. In fact, some auto centers may give you a discount for your new car battery when you bring in your old one.

Here are a few things you must do to prepare an old car battery for recycling:

  • Place it in a thick plastic bag and ensure it is not leaking
  • The battery must maintain an upright position or sit well to avoid falling or damage. Place them on the floor of your car, not their soft seats.

2. Selling 

Selling your old car battery is another option. However, this method is best for a battery that still functions. This is because there is always a market for such batteries. Places or platforms that can accept them and play you a few bucks are:

  • eBay, Facebook, and other online channels
  • Auto mechanic shops 
  • At a yardsale
  • On Craigslist
  • At a pawnshop

This is better than just piling up functional old batteries in your garage without using (upcycling) them.

3. Upcycling 

To upcycle is to find an alternative use for something you do not wish to dispose of. This is usually because such a device still functions and can be helpful elsewhere. 

In the case of an old car battery, there are several residential projects or science experiments you can use them for. They include:

  • Combining them with existing solar batteries improves longevity.
  • Race cars or box cars designs for children can be based on old batteries
  • They can also create a portable lighting system to light up big spaces.

Why Do You Need to Dispose of an Old Car Battery Safely?

Car batteries are primarily composed of lead and sulfuric acid. These substances are hazardous to humans, animals, and green matter. When you dispose of a car battery in a regular bin or a landfill, it will decompose over time, exposing its content to land and water.

Drinking water may damage the body’s internal organs, such as the brain and reproductive organs. In plants, they result in stunted growth.


How do I know when my car battery needs replacing?

Such a battery will affect the performance of your car. 

Symptoms to watch out for include:

  • Delayed or sluggish response to ignition
  • Corrosion on the terminals
  • Check engine light activation

Can I use a car battery to power my house?

Yes, you can power your home with a functional car battery.

Ideally, a single battery houses about 60 kilowatt hours of energy, which should power a regular home for about 2 days.

Is it worth charging an old car battery?

Charging a battery over 4 years old should only be a temporary fix as the charge will drain the battery faster than it should.

To avoid repeating the cycle regularly, it is better and more cost-effective to replace such a battery immediately.


Batteries are electrochemical cells that pose many threats to lives and the environment. This is why it is important to dispose of them using any of the methods mentioned in this guide.

While most of these options depend on the functional status of the battery, the end game with proper disposal is that they find themselves in a station suitable for their recycling.

Hence, it does not matter which option you choose. If an old battery ends up in your hand and is no longer functioning, you must take it to appropriate recycling centers near you or auto shops.

I hope you found this guide helpful. Before replacing an old battery with a new one, you must remove the old one first. Please see my guide on how long it takes to remove a car battery to better understand how the procedure works.

Thank you for reading.