How to Change Car Battery

How to Change Car Battery

Last Updated: 30 Apr 2019
How to Change Car Battery

Vehicle owners or prospective owners all know that irrespective of how well you cater for the batteries, there is still a huge possibility of wearing them out. Hence, it would be necessary for you to change them before your vehicle begins to function again.

Now, the state of a car battery does not depend on how well you care for the car; it just happens to be one of those conventional features which need replacement from time to time, regardless of how well you care for them.

Car batteries do not work endlessly; they are not made to serve you forever. From the moment you start noticing that the headlights of your car become dim, it is a strong indication that your car accumulator is acting up. Also, if it has been up to three or going to seven years from the time you last replaced your battery, or perhaps, a flying start is needed before the engine of your car roars to life, then it could be time to change it.

You might be looking at the cost of changing it. However, there are cheap car batteries which function effectively.

Replacing this unit with another is no difficult task. However, some car owners see it as a herculean job which is only meant for some specific kind of individuals. Going through this car battery replacement guide will aid you in changing car battery yourself. If you think about it, it’s more complicated than changing an ATV battery, but this is why we wrote this article.

Although, for individuals who do not have much time on their hands, the best bet would be for you to employ the services of a proficient auto mechanic who would fix it for you. Changing a car accumulator is quite easy and fast, and it can be performed with basic automotive tools.

Main Steps

If you do not know how to change a car battery or when to change a car battery, following the steps below would aid you in correct replacement of it without any problems.

Part 1: Do You Require a New Accumulator?

Ensure that this item requires a replacement. Knowing how often to change a car battery is essential, and you need to be sure if it needs to be replaced or not. It is certain that you do not want to invest money and time in fixing a new car battery when you later discover that the old one is still good.

There are three features which you need to look out for before you replace the battery in your car:

Sulphate Build-Up

This is what you can handle yourself. Ensure that you properly check if there is a Sulphate build-up which could either be a blue or a white deposit. Remember, you can only find this near the terminal. Sometimes, when this deposit is removed, you would discover that it could be the only fault which the accumulator had, and hence, there would be no need for the replacement.

This deposit could also be a signal that the acid is leaking, and it is currently affecting the terminals.

While you are carrying out this inspection, you need to ensure that you do not make physical contact with the powder, as it has an active ingredient known as sulphuric acid, which can sting your skin.

Proper Battery Charge

Also, you need to ensure that the accumulator has been allowed to recharge well. You can check this by driving non-stop for around 30 minutes, securing the electrical usage is minimal, which also includes the air conditioner.

The Alternator

Lastly, you need to check on the alternator. Certain vehicles come with a battery meter. Hence, if the engine is running, the usual range for an alternator is between 13.8- 14.2 volts. This range is a strong indicator that the system is properly functional.

Also, if the engine is switched off, the reading of the accumulator should be between 12.4- 12.8 volts, having no accessory loading.

Purchase the right replacement accumulator: you need to know the kind of accumulator you want to replace. Better put, you need to check out the proportions of the battery, so that you would not make a mistake when buying. You can also use a model of the car and the information on the engine as a guide.

This is an essential step as car batteries are known to be different both in size and electrical power.

In some countries, you would be charged less if you carry in your old accumulator when purchasing a new one.

Part 2: Until Taking Away the Battery

Get a safe working location. First and foremost, ensure your car is parked on a leveled-flat surface which is in a good length from traffic or safe from probable open flames. Also, ensure the parking brake is on, and prevent both smoke and smokers from getting to where your car is parked.

Always bear in mind that, electricity isn’t the sole danger which you should be wary of as car batteries are also known to have an acidic make-up: sulphuric acid electrolyte liquor which is known to be very corrosive.

This acidic solution may hurt your skin if care is not taken, and it gives off flammable hydrogen gas.

Hence, before you remove your battery, make sure you have your gloves and goggles on.

  1. Take out the cigarette lighter, and hook the memory keeper to the lighter socket. When the battery has been removed, you can be sure that the settings and PIN codes which are useful for the navigation patterns and systems, alongside that of the radios, would be intact. This is only possible because of the complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor. If there is no memory keeper, ensure that all the PINs are available before you get started. You can also go through your vehicle handbook to check out devices whose functions could be impaired. Always bear in mind that, memory keepers are not compulsory, and most professionals do not usually recommend them. When you remove the accumulator, some circuits are opened up, and they function by protecting the system. However, as regards the memory keeper, it offers completion to the circuits, which could endanger the system of the car.
  2. Use the prop rod to support the hood of your car open. When the hood of your car has been opened, it is advised that you use the prop rod to keep it that way. With the innovation in the car tech, most automobiles have hoods which stay up themselves. You should also bear in mind that the batteries of some vehicles have a different location, which could be in the trunk, for instance. Thus, there would be no need for you to prop the hood.

Part 3: Take Away the Old Accumulator

Get the Location of the Battery

Identifying the location of the battery is quite easy. Conventionally, it could be in a reachable area which is on either part of the frame of the car. The accumulator is typically a rectangular-shaped box which has two cables connected to it. For certain European cars, the accumulator could be located beneath the matting in the trunk; other vehicles could have it beneath the back seat.

Also, for some, this unit could be located within the wheel’s fender, and it is usually quite hard to detach.

Recognize the Battery Terminals

You certainly need to be quite technical when it comes to this aspect. It is necessary that you identify the battery terminals before you take out the old one. You need to clearly distinguish the positive terminal from the negative one.

Usually, the positive terminal of the accumulator would have a plus mark, indicating positivity, and as expected, the negative one would have a minus mark, which indicates negativity.

Normally, the color of the positive terminal is red, while that of the negative is black.

Disengage the Negative Terminal

After you have been able to properly distinguish the terminals from each other, the next step would be to disconnect them, and you need to start with the negative terminal. All you need to do is to use a wrench to weaken the negative cable clip and ensure it slides off the terminal.

However, it could get a little bit complicated if the cables are not marked. Hence, you would need to designate the cables in order they do not mix up. If the cables are not labeled and you end up confusing them up, so there is a huge chance that the electric system of your car is at risk.

Also, another factor which you should take into account is to ensure you disengage the negative terminal socket earlier than the positive one, and not the other way round.

The consequence of removing the positive terminal first could result in short-circuiting the positive terminal to a decked area of the vehicle.

Disengage the Positive Terminal

As mentioned earlier, after removing the negative terminal, take out the positive unit just in the same way you have done the negative one. Always bear in mind to watch out for the signs and colors before removing any of the terminals.

Take out the car accumulator. After you have carefully followed all the above steps, it just remains for you to remove the car battery. This can be done by unfastening the holder which clamps the accumulator in place and take out all the screws, bars and clamps. After you have done this, displace the battery out of the car with a great deal of care.

Also, never forget that an accumulator can weigh quite a lot; hence, if you are an individual who has back problems, it would be advisable that when you get to this stage, you do not do it yourself.

You can have someone lift the battery out of the car for you.

Part 4: Fix the New Battery

Tidy the Battery Tray and the Terminal Clamps

In this auto battery replacement process, after going through the rigors of having to remove the old unit, the interesting part is fixing a new one. There is this renewed hope which comes with this, signifying that your car is ready to hit the roads again. Cleaning the terminal clips and battery tray is quite easy.

All you need to do is to make use of a baking soda solution alongside with a wire brush and clean carefully. If corrosion has occurred at the terminal ends, and it is quite intense, then you might require a car battery installation service, so that you can get a good car battery repair.

If there is no corrosion, then you can wipe the area until it is dry.

Fix the New Battery

After cleaning up thoroughly, the next thing to do would be to substitute the accumulator. Since you have the exact size and dimension of the old unit, and the new one happens to be the same, it would present no problem having to fix it into the empty region.

Ensure that the positive and negative terminals are on the right sides. Also, fix all the bars, screws and clamps so that they would firmly hold the vehicle battery in position, and prevent it from being unstable.

Connect the Positive Terminal

Now, this step is familiar to the before mentioned one which required you to disengage the negative terminal. When fixing the new battery, the procedure is different, as you would have to connect the positive terminal. To achieve the required tightness, use a wrench to drag out the clips.

Connect the Negative Terminal

After connecting the positive terminal, the negative one comes next. You should also use a wrench to tighten the clamp.

Smear the Battery with Lithium Grease

This stage requires you to rub the terminals with lithium grease, so that corrosion can be prevented.

Shut Close the Hood

When you are done spraying the terminals with lithium grease, shut the hood and start the car. Ensure you confirm if all the electronic appliances are in good shape. Take out any battery memory saver which was previously installed, so that you can keep the radio memory.

Part 5: Correctly Liquidate the Old Accumulator

Since the old battery is of no use to you anymore, you can dispose of it at places such as the following:

  • Recycling centres;
  • Supply stores;
  • Service garages.

Tips & Warnings

  • Take off any plastic caps from the new battery so that your car can start properly.
  • Prevent any of the hammers from hitting the batteries.
  • Prevent the automotive accumulator from turning on either of its sides.
  • Do not directly connect the two battery terminals.
  • Ensure the used unit does not make physical contact with your clothes.
  • Guarantee your gloves and goggles are on.
  • Take out all metal objects from the accumulator because there might be a connection between the two terminals, resulting in a circuit.
  • Make sure the lithium grease is only sprayed on the positive and negative terminals alone.
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