Whether you like it or not, every vehicle owner has to replace their battery every once in a while. And, wouldn’t it be great if the place you bought it from installed it for you for free? Today, we are looking into a store that does just that. By the end of this article, you’ll know the answer to the question, “Does Walmart install car batteries for free?”
It is indeed true that Walmart installs car batteries for free, in addition to providing many more battery-related services. Keep that in mind the next time you are looking to get a new battery for your ride!
Unless you have been living under a rock, you probably know what Walmart is. Here, we will tell you everything you need to know when purchasing a car battery from this flagship American store.
Car Battery Types
We all know that car batteries provide electricity for the vehicle. But, what else can they do? To start things off, we’ll be taking a look at a few different types of batteries available for your purchase too.
The way car batteries work varies depending on their type. A few of the most common car battery types every car enthusiast should know about are,
- Lead Acid Batteries
- Lithium-ion Batteries
- Solid State Battery
Let us now take a closer look at each of these battery types.
Lead Acid Batteries
Looking for a long-lasting, low-maintenance, and affordable car battery? Then, lead acid batteries are the ones for you! People market these as “zero-maintenance batteries” exactly due to these properties.
You can identify the four main elements of the lead acid battery as the electrolyte, separator, and positive & negative plates. A plastic container holds these four components together. Furthermore, the battery is sealed in a spill-proof manner, enabling them to function for 3 to 5 years. The spill-proof nature also makes them safer to work with, as long as you handle them with caution.
Next up are lithium-ion batteries, which get their name from the lithium anode and cathode found inside. These batteries have a high energy density and are smaller in size when compared to other types.
Some other qualities of lithium-ion batteries include their low self-discharge rate, great performance characteristics in high temperatures, and recyclability. These power cells power almost all of today’s popular EVs and PHEVs.
The high energy density – up to 3.6 Volts – makes these batteries the ideal choice for systems that require a high power output. The lifespan of lithium-ion batteries is about 300 – 500 cycles or three years.
However, you should take great care when handling lithium-ion batteries. These aren’t sealed like lead acid batteries and can cause injuries if mishandled.
Solid State Battery
Solid-state batteries are another type whose popularity has skyrocketed in recent years due to their use in electric cars. They require no maintenance and can last well over 10 years (10,000 cycles)
These also have a high energy density similar to the aforementioned lithium-ion batteries. And as they have no spillage issues, it makes them safer than lithium batteries too.
Functions of Car Batteries
In this section, we will take a closer look at what car batteries are, and what they do. Some of the most important ones include,
- Engine startup
- Regulating voltage
- Powering the electronics
Starting the engine is the main thing that comes to people’s minds as soon as they hear “car battery” But, have you ever wondered how the battery starts your car?
You see, every vehicle comes with a small electric motor, more commonly called the “starter motor” It is responsible for – you guessed it! Starting the vehicle from a standstill. This motor engages a gear onto the vehicle’s flywheel, which in turn turns the crankshaft and starts the engine.
However, in order for the starter motor to come to life, it requires a burst of energy. This is where the battery comes in. The internal components of the battery interact with each other to create positive and negative charges, providing the starter motor the power it requires.
The battery is one of the main electrical components of the vehicle. Apart from powering the electronics, it is responsible for regulating voltage throughout all electrical systems of a car.
If you know the basics of electronics, you know how dangerous power surges can be. Similar to your home, these surges can damage the electronic components of your vehicle as well. The battery prevents these surges from taking place.
Working in conjunction with the alternator, the car battery absorbs any excess power to charge itself. This is why mechanics don’t recommend suddenly disconnecting the battery from the alternator. Doing so is a great way of frying your vehicle’s electronics in an instant! In short, you can think of a car battery as the automotive version of a surge protector.
Powering The Electronics
Nowadays, vehicles are more advanced than they have ever been. As a result, modern car batteries have to power more electronic components compared to their predecessors – be it the infotainment system, speakers, power windows, heated seats, sunroofs, and a whole host of driver aids.
However, the battery cannot power all these systems on its own. Instead, it relies on the alternator to carry some of the weight. The alternator powers all the electronic components while the engine is running, while the battery remains in the background acting as a backup power source, ready to jump into action whenever it is required to do so.
When talking about the battery, we should also mention the importance of the alternator as well. This important component acts as a mini generator, keeping the battery charged while the vehicle is in motion.
Similar to the battery, it is important that you take care of the alternator as well. Fail to do so, and you’re looking at a repair bill possibly exceeding $300.
Will Walmart Install Your Car Battery for Free?
With all that out of the way, let us address the elephant in the room – Does Walmart install car batteries for free?
If you are a car enthusiast, you probably already know how to replace the car battery by yourself. However, if you aren’t keen on doing so, or simply don’t know how to do it, Walmart is a great place to do your car battery shopping,
“What makes Walmart so great for battery shopping?” you may ask. Well, the technicians at the Walmart Auto Care Center will install the battery free of charge. But, there’s a catch. They will only do this if you purchase the battery directly from them. Buy it elsewhere, and you’re looking at an installation cost of $10.
However, there are some things to keep in mind before disconnecting the battery to install a brand-new one. Some systems like the radio settings, electric windows, throttle body settings, and the onboard clock may be affected. Furthermore, if you experience rough idling, malfunctioning electric windows, warning lights on the dashboard, or HVAC control issues, you might have to calibrate the new battery.
In addition to installing new ones, the Walmart Auto Care Center offers many other battery-related services, such as,
- Battery testing (Free)
- Terminal end replacements ($5 – not including the cost of parts)
- Anti-corrosion treating the batteries ($3.50)
On top of all that, Walmart accepts battery returns within 90 days of purchase if they are faulty, unused, or aren’t compatible with your vehicle.
Preventive Maintenance Tips To Make Your Battery Last Longer
Car batteries can be expensive, so it is important that you maximize the service life of your brand-new one. Here are some tips you can follow to make your battery last longer.
- Keeping battery terminals clean
- Regular battery tests
- Drive your vehicle often
Keeping Battery Terminals Clean
If you have followed along so far, you know that lead-acid batteries contain sulfuric acid inside. Over time, this acid leads to corrosion of the battery terminals.
Corroded terminals make the battery work harder and drain its energy by increasing its electrical resistance. The best way to prevent this from happening is simply to keep the battery terminals clean.
Regular Battery Tests
Testing the condition of the battery regularly is a great way to avoid sudden battery-related surprises while you are on the way to your next job interview. You can either invest in a battery tester or take a trip down to the nearest Walmart Auto Care Center where they will do it for free.
Drive Your Vehicle Often
Letting a vehicle sit for a long time is a certified way of killing the battery. So, make sure that you drive your vehicle at least once a week to maintain good battery health. If you plan to store your vehicle for a while, we recommend investing in a battery tender.
We hope you keep this information in mind the next time you take your vehicle for a battery replacement. Also, make sure to use the battery maintenance tips above to keep it in the best condition possible.