How to replace a car battery

Your car’s battery is a critical component that needs to get started every day. As a consumable item with a finite life, your car battery will eventually no longer be able to hold a charge and will need to be replaced. While this process may seem daunting, it can be done without the need of a professional and just a handful of tools. While battery sizes from one vehicle to another vary, the process of changing it out remains the same throughout. With that in mind, we have created a quick guide to help you with your battery replacement needs.

Before you can start removing the battery from the engine bay, you will first need to get a replacement battery. To know the battery size for your vehicle, consult your owner’s manual for the correct specifications. This will help you find the correct battery for your vehicle or alternatives, in case the original make and model of the battery is no longer available. 

Now that you have found the correct battery specs for your vehicle, it’s time to buy a replacement. Replacement car batteries can be bought at any vehicle battery-specific store or at an auto supply shop. However, we advise scoping out stores in your area for your preferred brand or brand-specific outlets. This will give you the chance to see which stores have which batteries they can offer you, along with the warranties tied to them. Having good warranty coverage is important. If your battery prematurely fails and it isn’t covered by a warranty, it could lead to a costly replacement.

Now that you have your replacement battery, it’s time to replace the old unit. For this, you will need to prepare a couple of tools. 

You will need at the bare minimum

  • An adjustable wrench or a 10mm wrench depending on the size of the bolts located on the cables connecting to the battery terminals

For extra safety and better performance, we also recommend getting:

  • Gloves to help protect your hands from dirt and other possibly harmful substances

  • A battery brush to help clean the terminals

  • Safety goggles in case dust from the terminals get blown into your eyes

  • Baking soda to help clean the terminals

  • Rags to help clean the battery tray area

  • A vacuum cleaner in case there is debris in the battery tray area.

car battery

Now that your tools are ready it’s time to begin the process of removing the battery from the engine bay and replacing it with a new one. 

Step 1.Make sure that your vehicle’s engine is off and that none of its accessories are running.

Step 2.Open your engine bay and locate where your battery is. Make sure to take note of how the terminals are placed. This will come in handy later on. It is important to remember that some vehicles have reversed polarity terminals and as such, the negative and positive terminals may be reversed from the conventional setup. 

Step 3.Remove the cables from the battery terminals by loosening the bolt that locks the negative terminal in place on the car battery. Starting with the negative terminal ensures that there is no electricity flowing from that side. Once this is done, proceed by loosening the cables from the positive terminal of the car battery. 

Step 4.Once both terminals are free from their cables, it’s time to remove the battery tie-down or other screws and fasteners that are used to hold the battery in place. A battery tie-down is often a metal piece that holds the battery in place at two locations. One is attached to the body of the vehicle, the other is attached to a part of the frame of the engine via a long nut and bolt. Unscrewing and removing the bolt at the two aforementioned locations will ensure that the battery is free from the vehicle.

Step 5.Remove the battery from the vehicle and inspect the battery tray for any dirt or corrosive leftover from the previous unit. If there is dirt or debris, it is highly recommended that you clean them off or remove them by either vacuuming or by using baking soda to give the battery tray a thorough cleaning. 

Step 6.

Once the cleaning is done and there are no wet surfaces on the battery tray in the area, it’s now time to place the new battery onto the battery tray. It is important to note that you will need to have the replacement battery facing the same direction as the old model, ensuring that it is firmly seated. 

Step 7.Once the new battery is in place, it’s now time to reattach the battery tie-down and screw back into place other assorted components that help keep the battery in its proper location and setup. The battery should be secure and should not be able to move once the screws, nuts, and bolts have all been tightened down.

Step 8. It’s now time to reconnect the battery cables to the new battery. In a negative ground car, it is important to start with the positive cable first and then proceed with the negative terminal. Make sure that all the battery clamps have a nice firm grip on the terminals to ensure a proper connection between the car and the battery. 

Make sure that you properly dispose of your old battery, as they often contain toxic and corrosive chemicals. They must be disposed of in a legal and responsible manner. You can choose to bring your old batteries to a specialized recycling center or to battery shops that will give you a small rebate for them.

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