Car won’t start?
Maybe it’s time to change your car battery.
If so, then it’s a good idea to know how to do it properly.
This is why, here, we’re going to show you how to change your car battery. We’ll give you all the steps in detail, so you know exactly what to do — from preparing to change the battery to testing the new one.
The 3 Steps to Changing Your Car Battery
Here are the 3 steps to changing your car battery:
- Out with the old car battery
- In with the new car battery
Let’s show you how to do each step.
Step 1: Prepare
One of the hardest things about changing a car battery is getting the replacement unit. You need to make sure that you get the right one for your car’s model and make.
On top of that, you might have to spend a lot. You can read our article on how much a car battery is here.
Other things you need to prepare are the tools you’ll use. Here’s a checklist you can go through:
- Work gloves
- Work clothes
- Safety goggles (optional)
- Wrenches (usually 10mm)
- Terminal wire brush
- Anti-corrosion solution (optional)
- Electrical tester (optional)
Gloves and thick work clothes can protect you from getting wounded — not to mention grease stains.
Safety goggles are optional as explosions are very rare. However, you can’t be too careful.
As for the tools, it’s to help you remove the old battery and install the new one.
If you have everything you need, then let’s go to the actual changing of your car battery.
Step 2: Out With the Old Car Battery
Here are the steps to remove the old car battery.
Locate the car battery
Pop that hood and let’s get to work!
If you’re unfamiliar with where your car battery is located, consult your vehicle’s manual. Or, you can research online for your specific car model.
Once you spot it, you’ll notice two sets of cables with clamps connecting your battery to the car.
Detach and secure car battery cables
Using your trusty 10mm wrench, loosen the bolt that holds the negative cable on the car battery. To identify negative cables, it is usually black and has a minus (-) sign.
Pull the cable off and secure it to the side. This is so that it won’t get in the way of removing the battery.
Do the same for the positive cable. This one usually has a plastic cover protecting the clamp, a red cable, and a plus (+) sign.
Remove the hold-down strap
Some vehicle models have a hold-down strap that prevents the car battery from jostling around.
If your car has one, remove it together with the metal hooks attached to it. Set them aside for later.
Remove the old car battery
Finally, remove the old car battery from its slot.
It is heavier than it looks, so be careful.
And, if you see signs of corrosion on the car battery terminals or the external sides of the unit, make sure it doesn’t come in contact with your skin. This is why it’s good to wear protective gear.
Step 3: In With the New Car Battery
Okay, it’s time for the final step.
Here is how to install your new car battery.
Clean those terminal clamps
With a terminal wire brush, clean both positive and negative clamps before placing the new battery unit into the empty slot. This will avoid any issues brought about by corrosion or dirt. In turn, it can enhance contact with the car battery terminals.
Place the new car battery
Place the new car battery into the vacant slot. This should be easy with the cables secured out of the way.
Ensure that the new car battery terminals align with the proper cables. Again, look for those plus (+) and minus (-) signs.
Usually, new car batteries are already charged and ready to go. If you’re not sure about that, you can test it with a regular electrical tester. This is a good idea so you don’t have to remove everything again if you find the battery is not charged.
Reinstall the hold-down strap
Once the new car battery is in place, it’s time to reinstall that hold-down strap.
Make sure that the strap is secure. You can do this by seeing whether the battery budges if you shake it. Also, make sure that the hold-down strap isn’t loose or jostling about.
Reinstall both cables
If you want to get the most out of your new car battery, get some anti-corrosion solution and spray or wipe some of it around each of the car battery’s terminals. However, try not to get them on other parts of the battery or any other component of your car.
If you don’t have an anti-corrosion solution, lithium grease or petroleum jelly are recommended alternatives.
Now, reconnect the positive (+) cable to the positive (+) terminal first. We’re just going in reverse order from the steps we did to remove the old car battery.
Tighten the cable bolt with your 10mm wrench so the clamp doesn’t slide off.
That said, try not to tighten it too much. This might make detaching the cables in the future a bit more challenging.
Proceed with the negative (-) cable next.
Remember, when putting it back, positive first, then negative.
The reason why this is important is that doing it the other way around might complete the electrical circuit.
The result is shocking — literally.
Sparks are normal. So don’t be worried if you see one or two of those. As long as you don’t get electrocuted, everything should be fine.
Start the car
Almost, at least.
Make sure you’ve removed all your tools or unnecessary objects before closing the car hood.
Now for the moment of truth!
Turn on the car’s ignition to test if the car battery works.
Once you hear your baby purr again…
You’ve successfully changed your car battery.
So that was how to change your car battery.
Pretty easy and straightforward, right?
Well, this is an essential skill that all drivers should know.
And now you do.
You no longer have to rely on others to help you when the time comes to change it.