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What to Do With an Old Small Engine Battery

A garden tractor on a lawn.

Getting rid of an old small engine battery isn’t as easy as you might think. These batteries, which are used in vehicles like garden tractors and are similar to car batteries, present a health hazard. They are toxic to people, the environment, and your pets. As a result, you should exercise care and caution when disposing of them.

Here are some tips for safely getting rid of a small engine battery at the end of its life.

Why Is an Engine Battery Toxic?

Lawn tractor cutting grass

Before we get started, it’s important to understand how hazardous an engine battery is and why it’s essential to dispose of it in a mindful way.

An engine battery is toxic because of the harmful materials it contains. Each battery contains several pounds of lead, which is a toxin that can cause liver, kidney, and brain damage. These batteries are also a source of sulfuric acid that’s caustic enough to burn your skin and eat away clothing.

The fumes emitted by these batteries are dangerous and can cause severe eye irritation.

How to Get Rid of an Old Small Engine Battery Safely

You have a few options if you want to dispose of an engine battery safely:

  1. If you are replacing an old battery, check with the NAPA store where you plan to purchase the new one to see if they’ll take it off your hands. Many stores that sell new small engine batteries for vehicles like garden tractors accept old ones for recycling.
  2. Sell the old battery to a local business. The lead contained in your battery is dangerous, but in the right hands, it has value. Certain local businesses in your neighborhood may be willing to pay for your battery. You can identify these businesses by conducting an online search.
  3. Leave the battery at a hazardous site drop off location. Pretty much every municipality has a location that accepts hazardous materials. These facilities will gladly take old small engine batteries off your hands. However, they won’t provide payment.
  4. Take the battery to a metal recycling establishment. Businesses that engage in this type of recycling generally take all types of scrap metal, including engine batteries. As an added benefit, these establishments will likely pay for your used battery.

Transportation Tips

Once you’ve decided how to dispose of the old small engine battery, the next step is safely getting it to the desired location.

Store the battery in a bag made of thick plastic. This will protect you if the battery leaks. Some batteries have vent caps that can leak acid if the battery is placed on its side, so always keep it upright. Exercise caution when handling the battery, since tipping or dropping it could cause a hazardous leak.

Care is required when parting ways with an old engine battery. You can handle this task easily and safely by following the guidance provided above.

Check out all the vehicle batteries available on NAPA Online, or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on engine batteries, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photo courtesy of Unsplash.

Warren Clarke View All

I'm a writer and editor who's a regular contributor with the New York Daily News and Carfax, and my content has appeared in over 20 publications. I've written content that covers industries such as automotive, medical, insurance, healthcare, real estate, plumbing, pest control, dental and hospitality.

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