How to correctly change your car battery

A strong, healthy battery is essential to the proper operation of your vehicle. A battery can last four to five years with proper care, although battery failure can occur in as little as three years depending on factor such as usage, proper care or even climatic change. Premature battery failure can occur as a result of chronic undercharging, overcharging, abuse, or vibration. Since modern vehicle computer systems create a small but constant drain on batteries, even when the vehicle is parked, long sitting periods can cause a vehicle’s battery to go dead and need a charge.

At some point, your battery will have to be replaced. This is usually a simple task, but some batteries can be very difficult to replace. If your battery appears to be difficult to remove and install, don’t attempt to do it yourself.

These instructions will help you replace your car’s battery.

Note: It may be helpful to check your vehicle’s owner manual to see if it offers any specific information on battery replacement, or you may want to consult a suitable service manual.

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TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT

TO REPLACE YOUR BATTERY YOU WILL NEED:

  • New battery
  • Assorted wrenches – most vehicle have 10mm bolts/nuts on the terminals and clamps
  • Safety glasses
  • Safety gloves

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BEFORE YOU BEGIN

  • Proper maintenance and service procedures are vital to the safe and efficient operation of all motor vehicles, as well as to the safety of the person performing the work—you.
  • Whenever you are working on your vehicle, we recommend that you follow these important safety rules:
  • Do have a first-aid kit handy.
  • Do be careful when working around hot or sharp objects.
  • Do follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all products.
  • Do use safety stands under the frame or drive-on ramps if you must raise your vehicle.
  • Don’t run the engine without proper ventilation.
  • Don’t smoke when working around the engine.

 

INSTALLATION

Read these instructions completely before you begin:

  • Get the correct battery for your car. Check with your local Auto Parts store for the battery and tools you need. It may be best to bring your old battery in to be sure you get the correct replacement, since there are usually several options.
  • Make sure your new battery is fully charged (see explanation below).
  • Gather all the necessary tools.
  • Work in a well-ventilated area away from sparks or open flames.
  • Let the engine/engine bay cool down first.

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Removing your old battery

  • When removing the old battery, disconnect the negative cable first. This prevents any accidental short-circuits or spike-currents that can cause serious damage.
  • Then disconnect the positive cable.
  • Remove the battery hold-down or clamping device, and lift the battery out of the vehicle. Be careful to keep the battery upright, so that no electrolyte solution leaks out. Be careful not to drop the battery, as cracks in the case will also allow electrolyte to leak out. Battery electrolyte is a strong acid. It can burn your skin and is very corrosive to anything it comes in contact with.

Charging the new battery

  • New batteries should be charged prior to installation to prevent overloading and possible damage to the charging system (which is designed to maintain a constant level of battery charge, not to recharge a dead battery). This is very important.
  • After the new battery is placed in the battery tray, reattach the hold-down or clamping device. The battery must be secured by this strap, clamp or bracket. This will reduce vibration and will not allow the battery to slide on the tray.
  • You should also check the battery cables. Make sure there is no corrosion. Clean the cable connections with a suitable tool for the purpose. To prevent further corrosion on your cables, you may apply grease or petroleum jelly under the clamps.

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QUICK TIPS

  • Follow these instructions carefully. Read and be sure you understand them before you begin.
  • Gather all your tools and supplies before you begin.
  • Allow plenty of time to do the job so you don’t have to hurry.
  • Remember that these are general instructions. For more detailed instructions pertaining to your specific vehicle, consult an appropriate repair manual.
  • Safety is important whenever you’re working around machinery. Beware of hot objects, sharp instruments and hazardous materials.
  • Don’t substitute tools unless you’re sure you won’t compromise either your safety or the performance of your vehicle.
  • You can apply a small amount of grease or vaseline, or even some anti-corrosion solution to prevent corrosion on the battery terminals and/or the battery clamp.

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