Have you seen or used the battery brands, MagnaPower, ValuCraft, or any of the batteries under the Duralast brand? However, what you may not know is that they all are brand names under AutoZone. With over six thousand retail stores in America, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Brazil, AutoZone is a major player in retailing original equipment parts, batteries inclusive.
If you have tried to purchase any of their batteries, it’s not news that their prices are quite pricey. The Duralast Gold costs $201.99 compared to Walmart, whose most expensive car battery under its private label EverStart costs $154.77. The expensive nature of AutoZone batteries begins to come to light.
Is it the fact that they sell batteries under their labels that make AutoZone batteries expensive? Or are they simply better than other private label batteries of their rivals? Well, let us find out.
Reasons Why AutoZone Batteries Are Expensive
One of the major reasons for the high prices of the various batteries on sale at AutoZone is their exclusivity. AutoZone car batteries under the Duralast name are sold exclusively only at their stores. This exclusivity adds to the prestige of the batteries sold. Additional prestige means more money on its price tag.
To be clear, AutoZone is not the only store that sells car batteries under a private label. Sam’s Club, Walmart, and some other stores do too. Like it is in the case of AutoZone batteries, the exclusivity of a private label adds it allows setting their price. It is also one of the reasons AutoZone batteries are so expensive.3
Over the years, improved technology has led to longer-lasting batteries and batteries that can withstand several physical and climatic conditions. The Duralast batteries, for instance, are advertised as having more power, resistant to vibration, working well even in adverse weather conditions.
There’s no way that a battery with all these qualities and a lifespan that outstrips most regular batteries will come at a higher price than those batteries that don’t last as long as it does.
Duralast Gold batteries, the lead-acid type, can last as long as five years. Normal batteries last around four years. This lifespan means that the AutoZone batteries should outlast regular batteries. That increased lifespan reflects in the price.
Cost of Constituent Parts
The basic constituents of a lead-acid battery are:
- An anode (negative electrode) is made of porous lead.
- A cathode (positive electrode) is made up of lead oxide.
- An acid that acts as an electrolyte (solution carrying current) is usually diluted sulfuric acid.
- Plastic container.
- Cell separators.
In 2015, a ton of lead cost $1,788. Fast forward six years later to 2021, the price of lead had jumped to $2,288 per ton. That’s an increase of about 28% in six years. The prices of other constituent parts have also climbed, leading to an increase in the price of the finished product (lead-acid batteries.)
For the new technology Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) batteries, its constituents are:
- Special Glass Mat Separator
- Plastic Container
The parts have also increased over time, leading to an increase in the cost of production and subsequent expensive selling price.
As of 2019, the estimates for cars on the road were 1.4 billion. In 2020, vehicle companies added another 8.8 million vehicles to this number. What these statistics imply is that there are more than 1.4 billion vehicles that use batteries.
There is an increased demand for car batteries (2020 might be an exception because of the pandemic). When there is a consistent increase in the number of batteries demanded, it only makes sense that the commodity price will increase.
AutoZone is one of the automotive parts and accessories market leaders, with higher sales than the industry’s average. Logic applies that if there is a general increase in battery prices, exclusive batteries from a market leader will also reflect this jump in price.
AutoZone batteries and other accessories are sold on the premise that they are of the highest quality. This premise is why they have a three-year warranty on some of their batteries, a two-year warranty on others, and a lifetime warranty on Duralast tools (not batteries).
Quality products don’t come cheap, so one wouldn’t expect their batteries to come cheap. AutoZone knows this, their customers know this, and that is why the prices of their car batteries reflect this reality.
We aren’t saying other private label batteries from their competitors aren’t of the same quality. We are saying that AutoZone has a perception of selling quality products, which reflects in their prices.
Change in Technology
The gradual shift in battery technology from the lead-acid to AGM is a step in the right direction. This technologically improved battery not only lasts longer but also has more safety features and is more powerful.
The improved technology also means there will be a price increase. Duralast Platinum is an AGM battery, and its price ($221.99) reflects the difference in technology and the expense in the shift.
Then there’s another innovation on the AGM. Instead of the glass to absorb the acid electrolyte in the case of the AGM, the electrolyte is in gel form instead of liquid. AutoZone’s Gel technology battery, MagnaPower, costs $311.99.
The trend is clear, the higher the battery technology, the higher the price of the battery.
Individually most of the components of a car battery are hazardous. When combined, they should be a danger to owners. You would be wrong. When you buy an AutoZone car battery, you don’t have to worry about them until they stop working.
The cost of not worrying about your batteries until the end of their lifespan is usually included in the price of their batteries. Quality, low-maintenance batteries come at a premium. The fact that you don’t need to maintain your batteries or require little maintenance is another reason AutoZone batteries are expensive.
Another reason for the high cost of AutoZone batteries is the warranty . The warranty on some of their batteries, like the Duralast, is as long as three years. It means you don’t have to worry about the battery if it fails within the time limit.
The warranty on AutoZone batteries is an additional cost that adds up to the total cost of the battery at the end of the day. Imagine if you buy a Duralast Platinum, and something happens within the warranty period, you don’t have to cough money for a new one. This means you might have to pay a few extra to cover the warranty, but looking at it critically, it is worth it.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) introduced new regulations to car battery manufacturers. These regulations covered the production, distribution, and proper disposal of all lead-acid batteries. These regulations led to an improvement in the environment but led to a collective investment of about $600 million by battery manufacturers in their production line.
Like everything in life, the final consumer is the only one who would bear the brunt of this huge change in the regulation. The prices of batteries went up generally, and premium brands like AutoZone batteries went up even further.
Not all batteries put on the shelf are going to be sold. When it takes a long battery to get sold (about six months), it starts to lose a little power. Batteries with diminishing effective waste led to waste as no one wants to buy them anymore.
To cover the price of those batteries that are not sold, the price is shifted to the sold ones. This bumps up the price of batteries a little.
Here is a little tip for anyone who wants to buy a new battery, check the production date. Ensure that the battery isn’t more than six months old.
How Much Does AutoZone Give You for Old Batteries?
When you take your old or damaged batteries to AutoZone for recycling, the company gives you a $10 merchandise card for each battery brought. You can use these cards to get goods in any AutoZone store.
Does AutoZone Charge Batteries for Free?
When you have problems with your car batteries, you can take them to an AutoZone store, where free tests are conducted on your battery. If the battery needs to be recharged, the store also does that at no cost to you.
There is no doubt that compared to other private label batteries, AutoZone batteries are expensive. A reason for this is the company has built a name with a reputation for quality car parts and long warranties.
Some other factors that matter when it comes to the prices of AutoZone batteries are the cost of producing them in the first place, the exclusivity of their battery brands, and the battery technology involved.
The fact the warranties on some of their batteries last up to three years means that you don’t have to worry about your battery for more than half of its estimated lifespan. The fact that they also run free tests and recharging helps discount the final prices of these batteries.
Be sure to stay updated on the latest car trends as well—