Need a new battery in your ride? If you’re not thrilled about the high cost of new batteries, you can always opt to purchase used, discount auto parts from a salvage yard instead! But before you take that route, you should know what you’re getting yourself into.

While buying a used car battery from a salvage yard is safe and far more affordable than purchasing new, you must know what to look for to ensure you come home with a quality part. Here’s what you should know: 


1. Appropriate Size and Power Output

Installing the wrong size battery in your vehicle can lead to several problems, whether you end up with one that’s too small or too large. So before you head to a salvage yard to look for discount auto parts, take a photo of the battery you’re looking to replace. Alternatively, you can bring the battery with you — provided it’s not leaking — and ask a staff member to help you locate the appropriate size replacement


2. Battery Age and Warranty Period

Every vehicle battery should have a date stamp somewhere on the battery housing, which indicates the date of manufacture. But that date stamp isn’t always structured in a way that most people are familiar with, so you need to know how to read it. If you don’t, you could end up with a battery that’s nearing the end of its recommended service period, which you certainly don’t want. Here’s what you should know:

●        Letters correlate with months. If the first character in the date stamp is a letter, that letter indicates the month during which the battery was made. A means January, B means February, and so on. Lettering stops at L, which indicates a battery was made in December.  

●        Numbers correlate with days. The letter on the date stamp may be followed by one or two digits, which indicate the year the battery was manufactured.

Not all date stamps are structured with both letters and numbers; some feature two sets of numbers that indicate both the month and the year of manufacture. If you have any questions about whether a battery at a salvage yard is still within its recommended use period, don’t hesitate to ask a staff member for help.


3. Terminal Location

Proper terminal placement is one of the most important — and most overlooked — things you’ll want to make sure of before purchasing a used car battery. Not all vehicle batteries are the same and many have their terminals placed in specific locations that are designed to accommodate specific vehicles.

To ensure you come home with a battery that will fit properly inside your vehicle, it’s a good idea to either take a photo of your existing battery or bring it with you to the salvage yard. If you’re not sure what to look for, ask someone from the yard’s staff, and they can easily point you in the right direction.


4. Lack of Corrosion

Although corrosion can easily build on even a new car battery in a relatively short period of time, you simply don’t know what a deteriorated-looking used battery has been through. And if it’s been through a lot, it won’t perform the way it should.

To stay on the safe side and get your money’s worth out of your purchase, avoid buying used vehicle batteries that exhibit any signs of excessive wear and tear, such as:

●        Blue, fluffy-looking corrosion around battery terminals

●        A thin film on the top of the battery housing

●        Any indication of a battery acid leak

It’s important to note that if you visit a reputable salvage yard (like Ace Auto Parts), they won’t sell you a used car battery that’s in poor shape. After all, every business has a reputation to maintain, and if the yard offers product warranties, there’s no sense in warrantying a battery that’s bound to have problems shortly after installation.


Pick Up Quality Discount Auto Parts in St. Paul

Need a discount car battery? How about a discount alternator or motor? Perhaps a couple of used tires, a fender, or a windshield? Then come visit our team at Ace Auto Parts in St. Paul! For nearly 100 years, we’ve proudly provided Twin Cities vehicle owners with quality used car parts at deep discounts, and we’d love to help you out too. Check out our parts search tool to locate the part(s) you need, or give us a call at 651-717-4299 to learn more!