Like any other battery, car batteries do not last forever and will eventually need replacement. Batteries can be changed at an auto mechanic garage, or even a full service gas station. However, with time and the right tools, changing a car battery is an easy and inexpensive task you can undergo yourself.
- Wrench or Socket Wrench
- Stiff brush
- Work Gloves (or latex gloves)
- Baking Soda or store bought battery cleaning solution
- Wire Brush
Removing old battery
- Buy a replacement battery that suits your engine’s specifications. It is sometimes not enough to read the specifications on the old battery and buy another one exactly like it. Ask questions and you may be able to upgrade your battery to one with better chemistry or more intelligent current management.
- Open car hood and remove both leads to your car’s existing battery with a wrench. Disconnect the black leads first, before disconnecting the red ones. (Removing the leads in this order will prevent dangerous electric shock and short circuit.)
- To remove the battery, unscrew the bracket holding it in place with a screwdriver.
- Try to avoid contact with conductive metal engine parts if possible.
- Lift the battery out of the engine by supporting it from beneath and with knees bent.
- Take the old battery to the nearest local repair shop for disposal.
Installing new battery
- Inspect cable terminals to ensure they are clean and unobstructed. Replace them if necessary.
- A stiff dampened brush can be used to clean terminals.
- If terminals contain excessive build up, use a baking soda solution or a store bought battery cleaner and a wire brush to clean terminals.
- Fresh water or a baking soda solution should be used to clean dirty battery trays.
- Allow battery tray and terminals to dry completely.
- Lower in new battery and attach the connectors.
- Screw bracket in place.
- Close hood and clean up grease messes with a water dampened rag.
- Try ignition.
Tips and Warnings
- Some best-selling car batteries on the market now come with built-in hardware that can be used in the case of a dead battery, and several are specifically rated for use in cold weather and other conditions.
- Car batteries are heavy! So do take care when lifting them.
- Car batteries are toxic and cannot be thrown out like regular household garbage. Take it to an auto mechanic garage, recycling centre or full service gas station for disposal. There may be a charge for the disposal of the battery.
- Any electrolyte spills or corrosions can be neutralised with a solution of baking soda and water.
- Be cautious to prevent electrical spark around the battery. Extinguish all smoking materials and open flames.