How To Change A Car Battery

Is it time to change your car's battery? You could take your car to a franchised auto parts shop, and they will change the battery for you. However, if your battery is already dead, it isn't possible to take your car anywhere, and without a jump start, you will be forced to buy a battery and change it yourself. Car batteries are usually sold with options for three-year warranties because after that three year period they can fail unexpectedly. When this happens, car owners must be ready to change the old battery so important plans won't be interrupted. This is a simple process and one anyone with a basic understanding of how to use a wrench can do quickly and without any problems. Start reading to learn now:

Remove the Terminal Connectors

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So, if you have already bought your new battery and are ready to swap it in place of the old one, the next step is to remove the terminal connectors. To do this, all you need is a wrench. If you don't have a wrench, pliers can act as a substitute, though this can make removing the terminal connectors a little more difficult.

I need two wrenches (a ten-millimeter and a half-inch), but every car's battery terminals can be different, so check what size the bolts are keeping the terminals in place. After you know what size wrench you need, simply loosen the bolts holding the terminals in place and slip the connectors off the terminals. I usually start with the ground terminal (black) and then loosen the red terminal, but it can be done both ways. After this, pull off the little felt pads resting underneath the connectors and brush off any corrosion built up on the connectors.

Now it's time for the next step!

Carefully Remove the Battery

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This step might seem easy, many end up feeling surprised at how difficult it can be to carefully remove the battery after the terminal connectors are off. Some cars have safety measures in place to secure the battery tightly and prevent the battery from moving around while driving. My car has a small metal arm that reaches over the battery to hold it in place, and it requires a wrench or simple pair of pliers to remove it. Remove any safety feature holding the battery in place and make sure nothing will be in the way when you remove the battery. Car batteries are heavy, and if you knock something over with the battery when removing it, you run the risk of dropping it and messing up a part of the engine or your foot.

Set the battery down in a secure area, a tarp or on top of a cinderblock, and move on to the next step.

Clean the Area

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This step is fairly straightforward: clean the area where battery rests. Sometimes there might be a small leak, and battery acid will be all over the area, or perhaps there has been some corrosion on the terminal connectors or along the parts of the car next to where the battery is located. Whatever it may be, even if there appears to be nothing there, give the area a good clean and wipe it down with an old rag or some extra durable paper towels. Wipe up all the acid, rub away all the corrosion, and make sure the area is completely clean and ready for the new battery to be put in.

Read on to find out how to do this!

Put the New Battery In

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Make sure nothing is in your way and the battery area is clean and clear. Carefully pick up the new battery you've purchased and put it in. It might be tricky to carefully position the battery before letting go of it because of how heavy it is and depending on where your battery area is under the hood. Once the new battery is in, you need to reconnect the terminals. Start with the ground terminal and slip the connector over the terminal and tighten the bolt on with your wrench or pair of pliers. Do the same thing to the red connector. Then put back any safety feature holding the battery in place, and check to make sure the battery works properly. Start the ignition, and you should be good to go.

There is one more step, however: what to do with the old battery. Read on to find out more.

Disposing of the Old Battery

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Now you have got this old car battery lying around. A simple solution is to make a trip back to the auto parts shop you purchased the new battery from. Usually, franchised auto shops and some local service stations and recycling centers will pay a small reward for bringing in old car batteries they will then recycle or dispose of. It is a small amount, usually between ten and twenty dollars, but it is better than nothing when the new battery costs upwards of two hundred dollars. But maybe you do not care to do that and want to dispose of the old battery. Well, the federal government has regulations in place to prevent individuals from dumping old batteries anywhere because of the pollution they cause. Check to see if your local government has any specialized ordinances that differ from the federal regulations when it comes to disposing of the old battery. Follow and comply with the local and federal regulations, and you'll be done in no time.

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AutoInfo Staff