Replacement car battery costs?

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 Tobes 14 Mar 2023

12 year old Skoda Octavia (what else!) been quoted around £200 for a new battery replacement by a garage. 

Seems a lot but I guess it’s not a straight forward job and the ECU would need resetting also etc? 

Any info/comments appreciated 

 gethin_allen 14 Mar 2023
In reply to Tobes:

sounds like expensive BS to me

Get one from eurocarparts or similar for ~£100 with a 3 yr guarantee.

 LastBoyScout 14 Mar 2023
In reply to Tobes:

Sounds like a lot, but I presume that includes fitting and re-programming the radio?

Shouldn't have to do anything with the ECU.

Go to the Halfords website and put your reg in - that should tell you what you need. Rough guess at your spec (the "I don't know the reg" link) says £112.

Easy enough to fit yourself with a spanner - programming the code into the radio might be a different matter!

 John1458 14 Mar 2023
In reply to Tobes:

That seems a lot of money for a job you could probably do yourself if you've got some spanners/socket set and have done a bit with them before? Although the skoda octavia's may have something specific required by them that I'm not aware of that requires extra complication. 

I've replaced batteries on an 2007 vw transporter van and a 2012 ford fiesta in the last year and its just been a case of putting my reg into euro car parts, buying the battery (£80 for the fiesta and £120 for the van), disconnecting the positive and then negative terminals on the old one, unbolting the mounting plates (they were siezed and took a bit of WD40), wriggling the battery old one out and then wriggling the new one in and reconnecting it and then resetting the vehicle clocks in the dash no need for any diagnostics kit. I manged the van in 10/15 minutes time but the fiesta took an hour by the time I'd wrestled with siezed up bolts and awkward access due to lots of engine covers and a small engine bay. 

Although it could easily be £160 for a top of the range branded (likely bosch) battery plus a minimum of charge £40 for an hour's time to change it and any diagnostics kit if required. So not a complete rip off if you had to also factor your own time and the cost of buying tools you may not have?  

Post edited at 16:27
 jimtitt 14 Mar 2023
In reply to Tobes:

The ECU shouldn't need a reset, it's normally bridged with a saver during replacement, however most modern cars you need to enter the BEM code into the computer system to tell it a) what battery type is installed b) that a new battery has been fitted. VAG group use a proprietry code system unlike many  other companies. If you don't re-code the car assumes the old battery is installed and restricts it's functionality.

OP Tobes 14 Mar 2023
In reply to Tobes:

thanks all so far. My preferred local option is fully booked for weeks and we’re on a trip soon so need it sorted before then so it’s cost over convenience at this stage. Doing myself is possible but lack some tools and the potential programming issue concerns me 

 Brass Nipples 14 Mar 2023
In reply to Tobes:

It just needs a spanner 🔧 pretty much.  Dead easy quick job. 

 Jenny C 14 Mar 2023
In reply to Tobes:

Look at the battery price checker for Halfords - they offer fitting from £20

In reply to Tobes:

If fitting yourself, disconnect the negative terminal first and reconnect it last to avoid the risk of shorting out the battery if your spanner touches the car metalwork. 

 jkarran 14 Mar 2023
In reply to Tobes:

They're not all cheap to buy, the last meaty one I bought was well north of £100 from ECP probably 7 years ago. Add 15min of time rounded up to make the job worthwhile and VAT on all of it...

Buy the battery, buy a spanner, change the battery.


 tew 15 Mar 2023
In reply to Tobes:

Take the old battery to the local scrappy and you'll have some beer money as well. Last one I took was worth £10 I think.

 Toby_W 15 Mar 2023
In reply to Tobes:

You may need to tell the ECU if you have start stop tech on the car if it’s a different size or type of battery but on my van it will learn this anyway after a few cycles.  If it’s the same you won’t.

You can get a dongle to plug in for ~20 quid with 1 year free software to adjust all this stuff.

Good luck.


 spragglerocks 17 Mar 2023
In reply to Tobes:

Just had ours done by the AA when we broke down due to a dead battery. £199 fitted for a 2013 vw golf. I looked around and for same quality I'd only have saved £20/30 by sorting ourselves.

You need to look at how many starts a battery will do over its lifetime and whether you need one that can handle stop start technology if you have that on you car. That seems to be what causes the variation in price from about £90 to £200.

Once mine was plugged in there were loads of errors which needed the diagnostic plug in thing to sort so overall for the quality of the battery and lack of additional hassle it was worth paying the extra. 

 montyjohn 17 Mar 2023
In reply to Tobes:

These days changing a battery comes with a bit of faff.

Radio, resetting the windows (this took me half an hour the other day as one window just refused to reset and you can't use them until you do).

Some cars are also picky about how long it's been since the ignition was switched off to avoid triggering the alarm and immobiliser etc.

So they probably want 5 minutes to check the vehicle type for any unusual procedures, 5-10 minutes to change the battery, 20 minutes to sort out any faff that crops if after. If nothing, but of extra purohit there. So that's £40 in labour.

Or, just learn to do it yourself. It's easy, follow advice above about never working on the positive when the earth is connected. Save a bit of money, and then you can do it again for any future problems you may have.

 apache 18 Mar 2023
In reply to Tobes:

Bit late into the topic but here’s my 2 cents worth having just replace the battery on a Hyundai Santa Fe. Start the engine get the car running nicely, disconnect the battery with the engine still running, refit the new battery, tighten up all the fittings, leave running for 5 mins, take the car for a longer drive.

This method was done the first time I had to replace the battery and done by the garage. The guy that did it explained that keeping the car running kept charge in the system. If you take the battery out then there’s little or no charge and things like alarms and immobilisers kick in and need resetting.

Bit scarey doing it the first time what with moving parts and high voltages but not been a problem and seen it done elsewhere

 montyjohn 18 Mar 2023
In reply to apache:

Unless it's a diesel from the 1960's without an electric fuel solenoid it's not going to run without a battery.

In fact what will happen is the magnetic field in tha alternator will collapse and without the ballast of the battery the voltage spike might well fry some of the onboard systems.

Now you could swap the battery keeping a connection using jump leads but why would you risk starting it before swapping the batteries over?

Please don't swap your car battery with it running.

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