How Do I Change My Car Battery?
No car batteries last forever. Things to take note of: are your headlights dimming, how old is your battery, has your car needed a jump-start; then maybe it's time for a new battery. You should bring your car to an experienced and trusted mechanic but if you have to do it yourself here are some rules. Changing a battery is a quick and easy job in most cars and vans and can be done with minimal tools. The most important thing before you begin is to make sure the battery needs to be replaced...
- Look for build-up in the form of a whitish or blue residue around the terminal - removing this can sometimes solve issues. Note: do not touch this powder it can often contain dried sulfuric acid, which will corrode your skin.
- Verify that the battery has been given the chance to recharge by driving constantly for 30 minutes (with minimal electrical usage, including not running the air conditioner).
- Check the alternator. Some cars also have a battery meter, with the engine running, the alternator usually maintains a charge close to 13.8-14.2 volts in a properly functioning charging system. The battery should have 12.4-12.8 volts with the engine off, and with no accessory load.
After all of this, should you actually need a new battery, be sure to buy the correct replacement battery. When you purchase a battery from any authorized retailer, you will have to pay a "core" charge. In most instances, when you bring in your old battery at the time of purchase, you will not get charged this fee. Although, some retailers will refund you the core charge if you bring in your receipt within a specified amount of time.
Before Removing the Battery:
- Set up a secure working environment. Park on a flat, level surface at a safe distance from traffic sparks or open flames. Put on the parking brake. Put on gloves and safety goggles.
- Remove the cigarette lighter and plug the memory keeper into socket. If you don't have a memory keeper make sure you have all the PINs for your electronic equipment before you start. You may wish to check your car manual to see what devices may be affected.
- Locate the battery - The battery should be located in an accessible part on either side of the car's frame. The battery is a rectangular box with two cables attached to it. In some European cars the battery is under the matting in the trunk, or inside the fender of the wheel well.
- Identify battery terminals - Locate the positive and the negative terminals. The positive terminal will have a plus sign and the negative terminal will have a minus sign.
- Disconnect the negative terminal - Loosen the negative clamp with a wrench and slide it off of the terminal. It is important that you disconnect the negative terminal socket before the positive terminal socket. Otherwise, you may short circuit the positive terminal to a grounded part of the car.
- Disconnect the positive terminal.
- Remove the car battery and put in the new battery.
- Reconnect the positive and negative terminal.
- Tighten the clamps using a wrench.
- Close the hood - Shut the hood of your car firmly and start your car.
- Check that all the electronic devices are working properly.