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What is a Core Charge for Batteries?

Power - by Joe Weber - updated on 9/6/2022

Battery waiting to be replaced

When you purchase a car battery from Batteries Plus you will notice a second charge on your order called a Core Deposit. What is a deposit? Why am I paying this extra fee when I buy a battery? Some people may get upset when they see that they are paying extra for something they didn't know about. A core deposit is there for a good reason and in many states required by law. Learn more about what it is and why battery retailers need to collect these deposits.

What Is A Core Charge Fee?

They're unavoidable and sometimes confusing. You buy a new battery and have to pay an additional fee anywhere from $10-$22 for a "core". A core charge is a fee that is in place and required by law in most states to encourage the proper disposal of batteries. Each state has its required minimum deposit amount. Please use BCI's State Recycling Laws resource   to see what your state has in place. Core management is not a one-size-fits-all process and the fees and procedures may vary by state. It is important to note that this is a deposit and you will get your deposit returned as long as you bring back your old battery that is equivalent to the battery you purchased.

How Does A Core Charge Work?

Battery retailers will charge a separate refundable deposit, generally between $10 -$25, for a core whenever an automotive battery is purchased. A core is any equivalent part that is to be returned to the store to be recycled. Upon return of an equivalently sized battery, the amount of money charged for the deposit will be refunded to the customer.

For example, if you purchase a new battery for your 2010 Chevrolet Equinox that takes a BCI Group Size 48 battery, you will pay a $22 deposit for that new battery. Once you get home with the battery and replace the old one, bring the old battery back to the store and receive a $22 refund.

This deposit encourages people to return their old car and truck batteries to be properly disposed of. Recycling lead-acid batteries is very important for the environment and your health. The heavy metals in the battery will break down in landfills and seep into the ground spreading dangerous toxins. If properly recycled these batteries are almost 100% reused and provide materials to make new batteries.

How Do I Get My Core Charge Back?

Cord deposits will be returned to you as long as you return your old battery to the store where you purchased your new battery. Remember to bring back the battery you replaced and not a different used battery. You may not receive your deposit back if you return a smaller battery than you purchased from the store. Check with your local store to see how long you have to return the old battery.

Expert Tip

Keep your receipts! Getting your deposit refunded will be much easier and take less time if you have your original receipt for the associate to look up your original order.

Some stores may not accept very dirty or damaged batteries. Please make sure that you clean up the battery of dirt and grime and make sure that if there is any acid leaking that you do your best job of cleaning it up before you take it back to the store.

Can I Return A Battery Core Anywhere?

You can generally return battery cores or old, used batteries that you have to any store that sells car batteries. However, you may not receive a refund of a core deposit if you return it to a store other than the store where you purchased the new battery. The time you have to return your core after your new battery is purchased may vary by store, another reason to keep that receipt, give your store a call and verify how long you have to return the battery.

Replace Your Car Batteries At Batteries Plus

Is your car showing signs of a bad battery? Our store associates can help you test your battery to see if it's time for a new one. If it is, your local Batteries Plus store will be able to help find the best battery for your car. Check out all of the services we offer from battery testing, key fob replacements and battery recycling.

For more information on choosing the right battery for your car please read our blog articles "How Do I Know Which Car Battery Fits My Car?" and "Does Batteries Plus Replace Car Batteries?".

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