The OP wrote ......... in part.
" Think I've been had by my nabe mechanic. Would appreciate your
wisdom about battery brands and prices".
Figuring that say 10% was tax? $175 minus 10% tax = $157, Businesses
are required by law to pay tax!
New battery around $100, probably a pretty normal battery but unless
one 'shops around', spending perhaps half an hour personally and a few
dollars worth of gas, for a good price and is knowledgeable of which
post on the battery can fit where (Not all batteries can be physically
fitted both ways around)! Any 12 volt battery is not necessarily the
12 volt that will automatically fit your vehicle)! So something in
the region of $100 is not out of range.
So 157 minus 100 = $57
And if someone has not got the ability or knowledge to SAFELY change a
battery or the ability to measure the charging voltage by having the
appropriate tools, skills and a willingness to get hands and perhaps
some clothing dirty, might take around half an hour when all said and
done, then paying a mechanic or someone knowledgeable is appropriate
Finally disposing of the old battery, which while it may have a scrap
value of a few bucks, is heavy, messy and will take somebody time and
space to handle. Costing several bucks? Remembering too it's full of
acid so there may be environmntal considerations?
Overall considering that the OP apparently doesn't have the ability or
skill to do the standard checks and does not have the know how to
change the battery themselves a charge of around $50, in this day and
age is possibly not too far out of line.
In this family we do all such repairs ourselves. And yes we could
probably pull off such a replacement for around $100 or less. But if
one pays someone else then they are entitled IMHO to a fair profit on
a) The product (same as if one bought a sweater form Wal-Mart). And b)
For their know how and skills, use of their tools and premises etc.
Personally I have theory that one CAN do many self-repair, do it
yourself projects, home building or rpair jobs for one half or less
than a contracted out job. And sometimes for a cost one third of brand
new, provided one has carefully kept and stored suitable used or
second hand items.
All these have to be within one's capabilities and skills of course,
and one also takes responsibiity for any any follow up or, as it were
'warranty' of one's own work!
Let's see; today, I repaired a halogen lamp (had spare halogen bulb on
hand and made a note to get more to be kept in the 'bulb' cupboard),
drilled some combustion holes in another steel burning barrel (the old
one is deteriorating fast and will go the metal recycle next time am
there). Unloaded and burnt some twigs and litter from our second
property, removed nails from some (free) reusable two by eight and
two by ten, pieces of lumber and stacked it outside. Some of four inch
hot galvanized nails will be reusable! Yesterday replaced one of the
fluorescent T10 tubes in the workshop (again we had a spare on hand)
etc. etc. This summer repainted outside of house, rebuilt the lawn
mower (have enough used parts to build a second one for my relative).
I'm 76 btw.