We all dread the sound of an engine that won’t turn over. Luckily, a common reason is due to a dead car battery, which is an easy fix if you know what to do.
Learning how to change a car battery can save you money, and it is good knowledge to have for anyone with a do-it-yourself attitude.
What you’ll need:
- Protective equipment (gloves, goggles/glasses, closed-toe shoes, clothes that aren’t loose and won’t snag).
- A fresh, fully-charged replacement battery.
- Wrench/socket wrench to loosen the old battery and tighten the new one.
- Terminal puller.
- Cable ties.
- Terminal cleaning tool.
- Lithium grease.
- Your owner’s manual (for any model-specific instructions).
Before you begin to change the battery, you’ll want to ensure you buy the correct replacement, as many car batteries vary in size and some in location. This tutorial will focus on where you’ll generally find the battery and what to do once you’re under the hood.
Pro tip: Don’t worry if you don’t know how to replace a car battery or aren’t sure of the right size. Document any information you can find on the old battery, such as dimensions, product number, etc. and bring it to professional auto parts dealer. They should be able to help you locate the right kind of replacement battery for your vehicle.
How to Remove A Car Battery
Make sure your car is off and parked in a safe place before you begin. Open and secure the hood to safely detach the old battery, which is normally located in a corner of the engine bay by your front bumper or closer to the back of the area.
An easy way to learn how to remove a car battery is by reading your owner’s manual. It will first help you find the battery’s exact location, as well as the location of the negative terminal and positive terminal.
Once you’ve located the terminals (and cables), remove any battery and/or terminal coverings. Disconnect the negative cable first, by removing the nut or bolt with your wrench and a terminal puller. The cable should be black and could have a minus (-) sign. Use a cable tie to secure the cable for the time being.
Cable ties will help you avoid your battery posts from touching metal or the opposite terminal, which could cause an electrical short.
Repeat the process for the positive cable and terminal, which will be red with a plus sign (+). Use a socket wrench with the correct socket to remove any additional fasteners. You’ll then be able to safely remove the battery by lifting it out of the bracketing with the handle.
How to Install A New Car Battery
When learning how to install a new car battery, it’s common to forget the first step: cleaning the battery terminals. Before installing the new battery, use a terminal cleaning tool to remove corrosion, which can negatively impact connection.
The next step is to place your new battery in the bracketing so it aligns with the positive and negative terminals. You can then determine how to connect a new car battery by reversing the removal process with an extra step:
- Put lithium grease on each terminal and re-secure the fasteners.
- Cut the cable tie for the positive cable and reconnect it, secure the nut or bolt to the terminal, and replace the cover. Repeat the process for the negative cable and terminal.
Close the hood and congratulations! Your new car battery is properly installed.
How to Test Your New Car Battery
Because your battery controls the electronic functions of your car, you’ll need to reset any battery-operated features in your car, such as the clock or any personalized navigation system information
Here’s how to test your new car battery and ensure your vehicle is back to proper working order:
- Double check connections.
- Make sure all tools have been removed from the engine bay.
- Start the car and ensure it turns on correctly.
Once you’ve completed the process, dispose of your old battery at an auto supply store or recycling center.
Common Questions and Answers
Q: How long do car batteries last?
A: The life of every battery varies based on factors such as: brand, frequency of use, your climate, and other variables. On average, a battery will last between three to five years.
Q: Can you recharge a car battery?
A: Yes, dead car batteries can usually be revived, even if only temporarily, to give you enough time to get a new one. The process involves a battery charger and normally takes several hours.
Q: How often should you replace a car battery?
A: Factors like use and climate impact how often you should replace a car battery, but it’s best to do so every three years. If your engine begins to turn slowly or you notice power issues, have your battery inspected immediately.
Q: What drains a car battery?
A: Your battery can be drained by a number of hinderances like headlights left on, loose cable connections, extreme weather, or minimal use.
Contact Us Today
Keep your vehicle protected with United Auto Insurance. We’ve proudly served Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana with first class auto insurance and low prices for more than 50 years. Looking for additional information about safeguarding your car, truck or SUV? We’ve got you covered! Contact us today to insure your vehicle.
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