How To Guides

How to Change a Car Battery

Knowing how to change a car battery can help you when your in a pinch and can also save you a good chunk of money by being able to do it yourself.

Without a battery in good working order you risk the possibility of being stuck somewhere with your car not being able to start

So, how do change a car battery? 

How to Tell If You Need to Change Your Battery 

There are a couple of signs that will help you confirm you have a flat battery.

First off, when you try to start your car, nothing happens. The engine will crank if the battery is weak but not if it’s dead.  

Other reasons why your vehicle is not starting include faulty ignition switch or starter. 

No dome light as you open the car door is another sign of a flat battery. Modern cars generate a door chime when you insert the keys.

If the battery is weak or totally dead, the dome light may appear dim or not at all. You will also not hear a chime.  

Your radio and headlights will not work either if your car battery is weak or totally dead. Alternate problems could be a corroded battery or blown main fuse.

Lastly, if your car won’t start without a jump in the morning but works fine later in the day, your car has a weak battery.  

The only solution for a weak or totally dead car battery is to replace it with a new one.  

Want to know how to change your vehicle’s battery and save on battery replacement costs?  

In this post, we offer a simple how-to guide for changing a car battery.  

Tools Needed to Change a Car Battery  

To replace the flat battery, there are a couple of things you need.  

  • Rubber gloves  
  • Owner’s manual  
  • Old blanket  
  • A new battery (buy a battery recommended for your vehicle. Check the owner’s manual)  
  • 0-14 mm socket wrench  
  • Rags  
  • Terminal cleaning tool  
  • Battery cleaner or anti-corrosion grease  
  • Safety glasses  

Following safety procedures and using proper tools in handling batteries is highly recommended.

Remember, you are working with a car battery containing hydrogen-oxygen gases.  

If you remember your high school chemistry, combining the gases creates an explosive reaction. This can cause severe burn injuries. To avoid severe injuries, follow the instructions in this step by step guide.  

Step by Step Guide to Removing and Changing the Battery 

1. Find Your Car Battery 

The majority of car owners are not aware of the location of the car battery. To find the location of your car battery, check your owner’s manual. Most cars have the car battery under the front hood.  

Others may have the car battery located under a floorboard or even behind the wheel well. Once you locate the battery, you will find two terminals with attached cables.

The cable with a red plastic cover is usually connected to the positive post and has a positive (+) symbol.  

For the black cable, it has the negative (-) symbol. Before changing the car battery, put on the rubber gloves and safety glasses.  

2. Use the Battery Cleaner  

Spray the contents of the battery cleaner on the battery terminals. This cleaner helps to dissolve corrosion from the cables, terminals, and clamp. By cleaning these components, you improve current flow and prevent voltage leakage.  

After cleaning the battery terminals, remove the clamp holding down the battery. For this step, use a combination wrench. Loosen the nuts and pull the clamp away.  

Make sure it does not come into contact with the negative terminal.  

3. Remove the Cables 

Loosen the bolt securing the negative terminal to the battery post. After the nut is loose, use a terminal puller and remove the cable from the battery post. While doing so, use the rag to cover the positive terminal.  

This prevents a short circuit and protects you from electric shock.  

Repeat the same for the positive terminal. Remember, ensure that no cable comes into contact with metal objects simultaneously. Once you remove the terminals, remove the clamp holding down the battery.  

Place the clamp and all nuts on the ground. This ensures that you do not misplace them. Lift the battery by holding the carrying strap and place it on the ground.  

Be careful because the battery is still heavy despite being flat.  

After removing the battery, inspect the tray where the old battery was resting on. Can you note any signs of corrosion or rust? If corrosive deposits are present, prepare a mixture of baking soda and water.  

Clean the tray and make sure you have your gloves on.  

4. Installing a New Battery  

Lift the new battery by the carrying strap and place it on the tray. Take the securing clamp and secure the battery using the bolts. Before connecting the terminals, grease the posts and terminals with an anti-corrosion grease.  

It prevents corrosion, which also affects how the battery charges. Remember, go easy on the grease.  

Remove the rag from the positive terminal and connect it to the correct battery post. Afterward, connect the negative terminal. Make sure the battery does not wiggle and secure the bolts tightly.  

Now, you can give yourself a small pat on the back and congratulate yourself for replacing a car battery.  

5. Test Your Car  

Take your car keys, insert them in the ignition, and try to start it. What happened? Did your car start correctly?  

If not, switch it off and double-check the connections. If your car starts, the next step is to dispose of the old battery.  

How to Dispose of a Car Battery Properly 

There are three ways of properly disposing of old car batteries. The first method is to get in touch with your local mechanic. Ask them if they take old car batteries.  

If they do not, find out if there is a local recycling center near you.  

To find a local recycling center near you, make a quick search on the internet. Get their contact information and make the call or send an email. If they accept old car batteries, drive to the closest car battery recycling center, and drop it off.  

The last method is driving to the store where you bought your new battery. They can help you dispose of the old car battery. Why recycle or dispose of your car battery properly?  

It pays to be kind to the environment.  

Bottom Line 

A new car battery can last 3 to 5 years with minimum fuss or maintenance. But there are a few things you can do to extend its life.

First off, try to avoid running the stereo or air conditioning at all times as they drain the battery fast.

Instead, open the car window and play your jams on your smartphone (with the speaker option on not headsets).  

If you follow these steps, your car battery should last long. 

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4 Comments

  1. Good article! One thing I would mention about the disposal of a battery is that most places charge you a “core” fee that is built-in to the price of the battery when you buy it. If you return your old battery to that same store, they typically will refund you that “core” fee. It can be anywhere from $10-$20 or more. No sense leaving money laying around!

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