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How to Disconnect A Car Battery

How to Disconnect A Car Battery featured image

Raise your hand if you completely forgot how to disconnect a car battery after taking the licensure examinations.


Yikes.

Well, in this article, I’m going to give you a rundown on how to properly disconnect your car battery. So in case the need arises, you don’t have to wait for someone to do it for you. 

So let’s begin!

Safety Tips Before Disconnecting Your Car’s Battery

Before we get to the actual steps, let’s go through some safety tips first. 

Remove Metal Accessories

Remember your elementary science? 

Batteries have electric charges.

So, if you have, say, a metal accessory, you are prone to get shocked if the batteries are not handled properly. 

Let us remind you to always make sure you remove your jewelry, such as rings, watches, and bracelets before getting to work. You don’t want to risk a shock. 

Choose the Proper Surrounding

It’s better to work in an open environment where it is dry. 

Open areas are recommended, too, so you won’t feel suffocated by the gasses and heat that may come out during the battery disconnection.

Wear Protective Gear

And as always, wear the right gear. 

For disconnecting car batteries, you simply need to wear protective gloves. This is to keep you protected from heat, grease, and dust. 

Prepare the Tools

There are 2 tools you’ll need to successfully disconnect a car battery. The first one is a wrench. Now, different car batteries fit different wrenches. So we recommend having a couple of wrenches with you. 

The other tool you’ll need is a clamp socket. 

Have these tools ready by your side so the process will be easier and quicker. Also, this is a safety tip because you might decide to use something else to get the job done – which just might cause more harm than good. 

The 5 Steps to Disconnecting Your Car Battery

Now it’s time to get down and dirty!

There are 5 steps to disconnecting a car battery. These are:

  1. Turn off the ignition
  2. Look for the positive and negative terminals
  3. Get your wrench and loosen the nut on the negative terminal
  4. Remove the connector cables
  5. Remove the battery (if applicable)

Let’s go through these steps in detail. 

Step 1: Turn off the ignition

Turn off your vehicle, as well as all other electrical components. Do not attempt to disconnect your battery while it is on — that is very dangerous!

When off, open the hood of your car and locate the battery. If it’s not there, best to ask a mechanic or look at your vehicle’s manual to find where it is located. 

Step 2: Look for the Positive and Negative Terminals

Now, this is a crucial step, and you have to get it right.

The two terminals are usually on top of a black, block-like component inside the hood.

Look for the positive terminal marked with a “+” and the negative terminal marked with a “-.”

Your positive terminal is usually colored red or yellow, while the negative one is colored black. 

Step 3: Get Your Wrench and Loosen the Nut on the Negative Terminal

If the terminals have plastic caps, make sure to remove them before proceeding. 

Then look for a wrench that fits the nuts and bolts on both terminals. Unfortunately, cars don’t have a “one-size fits all” wrench, so you might need several wrenches on hand to see which one fits perfectly.

Once you find the right wrench, loosen the nut on the negative terminal by turning it counterclockwise.

Step 4: Remove the Connecting Cables

As you will see, the nuts hold connecting cables. So once you’re done loosening them, the cables will be released and you can lay those on the side. 

Make sure the cables are out of the way of your working area. If you want, you can put them on a tray. 

Do the same process of loosening the nut and releasing the cables on the positive terminal.

Once this is done, you’ve successfully disconnected your batteries.

Step 5: Remove the battery

If you need to remove or replace the battery, then follow this step. 

Batteries are usually secured in place with a clamp on top of it. You can remove the clamp with a socket clamp.

Once that’s removed, set it aside.

Now you can lift the battery out of its tray. You can use your hands or the handle attached to the top of the battery to do this. 

Another thing. While carrying the battery, make sure it is level so the acid inside won’t slosh from side to side.

Also, it’s best to use your gloves here for additional safety and support since the battery can be pretty heavy and dirty. 

From there, you can either recharge your battery or replace it with a new one. 

You simply need to do all the steps in reverse to put the battery back in place. 

When Do You Need to Disconnect Your Car’s Battery?

There are two situations that call for a battery disconnection.

To recharge or replace the battery

Car batteries need to be charged. If it’s not properly charging in its holding tray, you need to remove it and charge it yourself. 

On the other hand, when your battery dies (which we all dread), disconnecting it is required to replace it. 

To perform vehicle maintenance

There are some maintenance procedures where you’ll need to take out the battery.

It has to be removed so you can move and fix things and also prevent yourself from getting electrocuted.

Summary

So that is how to disconnect a car battery. 

As you can see, once you know how to do it, it’s pretty easy. Just make sure that you follow the safety tips before removing. 

Need to replace your car battery?

What if it needs to be recharged?

Or maybe you just want to make it easier to fix or clean the areas in your engine. 

Whatever the case, you now know how to disconnect your own car battery. 

We hope that this article has been a great help!

*Here’s another safety tip you might want to look into: How To Safely Jump Start Your Car