How should you dispose of a used vehicle battery

By David Sholicar

On average, a car battery usually has a lifespan of around four years. Therefore, the issue of how you should dispose of a used battery is something most drivers will encounter quite a few times in their driving life. Read on to discover why correctly disposing of a used car battery is so important and how you can do it safely.

Battery change

Why do you need to dispose of a used battery safely?

Vehicle batteries are full of hazardous materials that can cause extensive damage to the human body. Inside a battery, you will find a large quantity of lead and sulphuric acid, both of which can cause damage to internal organs, the nervous system and the brain. In the UK back in 2009, the government passed the Waste Batteries and Accumulators Regulation [1] to ensure that UK manufacturers, distributors and retailers adhered to the guidelines for battery disposal. Also, as technological advances have progressed in recent years, more vehicle batteries are being safely recycled so that they can be reused rather than cluttering up landfill sites and potentially being dangerous to people and the environment.

Where can you take a used vehicle battery?

When you have removed your vehicle battery, it must be taken to a regulated and authorised garage or recycling centre. Most recycling centres will have a designated car battery container in which you can place the used battery but it is always best to check first before you visit. When a car battery gets recycled, it gets broken down into its different component parts. The plastic outer casing of the battery will be removed and then it can be recycled with other plastic items and eventually turned into something new. The lead inside the battery is melted and purified and will then be stored until it is reused. The dangerous sulphuric acid that is found inside a battery mostly disappears during these processes. It is now thought that up to 90% of a car battery can be potentially reused, which is good news for the environment.

What problems can undiagnosed battery issues cause?

Car batteries usually last around 4 years. However, there are a number of factors that can affect your battery and if you don't maintain it carefully, it may not last as long as it should and will start to cause you issues. Experts recommend that you get your vehicle checked if it has been left stationary for some time, especially in the winter months when the cold weather can easily drain the power from your battery. Undiagnosed battery problems, at the very minimum, can cause problems with your car accessories and, in the extreme, can result in problems starting the car. A failing battery also stresses the alternator and charging circuit.

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Can Protyre help with testing and changing a car battery?

Here at Protyre, we can help with your vehicle battery maintenance needs. We offer a free battery check which only takes a few minutes and can assess whether your battery needs to be replaced. During this check, we will test the voltage, the conductance and the resistance of the battery as well as inspect it for any damage, cracks, leaks or corrosion. If your car battery does need to be replaced, our qualified fitters can do this for you and will also be able to dispose of and recycle your old battery. Protyre also covers many other vehicle servicing needs, including MOT, aircon regas, brakes, wheel alignment and tyres. Tyre brands in stock include Pirelli, Falken and Sumitomo.

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About the author

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By David Sholicar
David is the National Retail Operations Manager for Protyre. One of David’s areas of responsibility and expertise is dealing with the DVSA and MOT’s for Protyre. As the Authorised Examiner Designate Manager ( AEDM ) David deals with applications for changes to the many Vehicle Testing Stations ( VTS’s) including managing the growth of the Number of MOT testing stations that Protyre operate, allocating MOT tester roles, and monitoring the MOT Test logs to ensure that Protyre MOT standards are maintained as the best in the industry.
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