While there are worse things in the world than getting stranded with a dead car battery, a majority of drivers still don’t know how to switch one out. In fact, most motorists still rely on mobile battery services to get their car back up and running.
But you can save yourself anywhere between a few dozen to a few hundred dollars just by knowing how to change your car battery. By following this step-by-step guide, you’ll be able to replace your car battery in no time.
1. Make Certain Your Battery Needs Replacing
It’s important to first make sure that your battery is indeed the source of your problem. A common mistake is to replace your car battery online to find out that it was simply a case of loose cables or a faulty alternator. While there are many ways to diagnose your battery, the easiest ways are to be sure your battery is getting a sufficient enough charge by driving around with low battery usage (headlights, air-conditioning, etc), or by making sure that there is no dirt or deterrents on your battery.
2. Park Your Car in a Safe and Secure Area
Even if you’re simply working right out of your garage, it’s important to take the necessary safety precautions before changing your car battery. Turn off your car engine and be sure you’re a distance away from sparks and other sources of flame. Bear in mind that car batteries contain corrosive acid, so wear gloves if available.
3. Open Your Car Hood and Clean the Battery Surface
Pop-open your hood and identify where the car battery is located. Car batteries are usually located in plain site and should be easy to spot. This protects your car from corrosive battery acid. Wipe down the surface of the battery with a dry cloth to make sure any leaked battery acid is removed.
4. Remove the Battery Cables
Every battery comes with two terminals, positive and negative, which can be identified by their respective symbols (+ and -). Take a wrench and remove the negative cable clamp, followed by the positive cable clamp.
5. Remove and Fixtures Holding the Battery in Place
Remove any screws, fixtures or clamps holding the battery in place. If there are any detachable parts, be sure to set the aside to avoid losing them.
6. Remove the Battery and Clean the Tray
By now, your battery should be easy to remove. Most batteries come with a handle that allows you to life easily from your engine. If not, make sure you have a good grip on the sides before pulling up. After that, make sure to clean any rust or dirt deposits left by the old battery. Remember to watch out for corrosive battery acid that may have been left behind.
7. Insert and Secure Your New Battery
Make certain that the battery tray is dry, then insert your new battery in the same orientation as your previous one. Secure your battery by returning any screws, clamps and fixtures. Give the battery a bit of a nudge to be sure it’s properly in place.
8. Return the Battery Cables
Re-attach the terminal cables in the reverse order you first removed them: positive terminal cable first then the negative cable. This prevents your battery from being grounded. Make sure the cables are tightened and close the hood.
9. Turn On the Engine
Test your newly replaced battery by revving the engine. Don’t be quick to turn on your AC or your headlights; you need to be able to be sure your battery has the proper charge before hitting the road.
10. Dispose of Your Old Battery Properly
Since batteries are filled with harmful, toxic and corrosive contents, you can’t simply throw old car batteries in the garbage. Take it to your local car repair shop or recycling center and be sure your battery is disposed of properly.