Unless you have some sort of personal use for an old car battery, they aren’t worth keeping around. Batteries aren’t exactly environmentally friendly, especially as they sit around and corrode.
Fortunately, many auto parts stores offer incentives for returning yours, including Autozone.
While Autozone doesn’t technically buy old batteries, they do offer a reasonable discount directly related to the core charge. If you purchase a new battery, the core charge is discounted from the battery you purchase. If not, you get a gift card.
It’s not enough to make you go on an Autozone buying spree. For instance, the core charge in Pennsylvania is $19.01, because the one cent following $19 is relevant in some universe.
Regardless, you can usually get between $10 and $20, based on the core charge for the turned-in battery.
Bring the Battery in for Recycling
You may not need a new battery but perhaps you have a few lead-acid batteries laying around that you wouldn’t mind getting rid of.
Three batteries might net you a nifty, $30 gift card at Autozone. They’re essentially paying you to recycle your battery.
That’s a much better option than tossing the battery in your dumpster for the garbage pick-up. For one, it’s probably not legal to dump your battery like that. For two, batteries are terrible for the environment.
The most common battery in a combustion vehicle is a lead-acid battery. Lead acid will eventually leak out of the battery and absorb into the ground.
Its eventual endpoint will be the groundwater table. Depending on where it’s at, that “groundwater” might be an aquifer.
Aquifers feed springs, especially in states like Florida, where the entire state is practically sitting on one of the biggest (if not the biggest) aquifers on the entire planet.
It feeds over a thousand natural springs throughout the state and that’s not where you want battery acid to end up.
The good news is, when you turn your battery into places like Autozone, your battery will eventually be recycled at a rate of 97%.
The battery is crushed and ground into small particles. Once it’s submerged, all of the plastic floats to the top and is scooped up.
The remainder of the battery (mostly the acid) is separated from the pool and collected as well. There are a lot of uses for the acid but often, it’s just rendered inert and disposed of.
Whatever is left over will eventually end up in a brand new battery, ready to go in another car, marine vessel, RV, bus, or EV.
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How to Return Batteries to Autozone
The best way to do it is to take your failing car battery out and return it to Autozone. At the very least, you will get a discount on a brand-new battery for your car.
Car batteries are getting more and more expensive, so every little bit helps.
You don’t have to do anything special. All you need to do is bring it inside the store and place it up on the counter when you are ready to turn it in.
Officially, Autozone offers a $22 credit for turning in an old battery to exchange for a new one.
Of course, not every Autozone is beholden to what one Autozone does. That’s because every state has specific rules and regulations regarding materials that may be harmful to people or the environment.
Some states are much more involved in grabbing up old batteries and Autozone can make money off of that.
If Autozone can make money off your old battery, you will get a slice of the pie as well. A small slice, to be sure, but a slice nonetheless.
Autozone also lists your credit and receipt on its website, which is advantageous if you have an account with them.
Autozone’s Pay to Recycle Program
This is the part where you get $10 just for bringing in the battery but only if you are bringing it in to recycle, not if you’re bringing it in to exchange for a new battery.
Autozone’s Pay to Recycle Program will give you a $10 gift card for each battery you turn in for recycling.
AA and AAA batteries from your TV remote don’t count. We’re talking about car batteries, RV batteries, and marine vessel batteries.
Autozone also accepts your old motor oil. They don’t pay you anything for it but since it’s illegal in most states to irresponsibly dispose of it, Autozone is the logical choice to bring it to.
Along with your battery, Autozone accepts a number of car-related parts and even some that aren’t related to a vehicle at all.
- Old Pallets
- Old car parts
- Motor oil
While Autozone may only pay you a gift card for returning your battery for recycling, returning all of the above is a good way to get on the good side of Autozone employees.
It could ultimately lead to a beneficial relationship down the road.
It gives the old “friends with benefits” adage an all-new meaning. Most car batteries are expected to last between 3 and 5 years.
That means you should get pretty extensive use out of your battery before you need to bring it to Autozone again.
Another plus with batteries is that they generally come with pretty good warranties—more than one year in most cases.
If anything happens to your battery (so long as it’s not your fault for leaving your dome lights on all night), you can get a new one under the warranty.
If you do take advantage of the warranty, bringing back the faulty battery may or may not net you any additional money. It just depends on the Autozone in question.
All Things Considered
While Autozone doesn’t technically buy back your old battery, they will throw you a gift card under their recycling policy and provide you with a $22 discount for returning it in exchange for another.
If you have a bunch of old batteries, a few $10 gift cards is worth the effort of dragging them into Autozone. You certainly don’t get paid to store them on your garage floor, after all.