Installing a car battery is a simple task that can be performed by anyone who is strong enough to lift it into place. Car batteries generally weigh around 40 pounds, depending on the size. Installing your own battery can save you both time and money. Though many places offer free installation when you buy from their in-stock selection, the process is not always quicker than simply doing it yourself.
Use these tips to learn how to replace a car battery.
- Before changing a car battery, you’ll need a new battery, combination wrench, flat screwdriver and wire brush or steel wool.
- Turn the engine off and pop the hood. Find your battery and the two cables attached to it. One cable is red and the other cable is black.
- If you don’t mind losing your radio station presets, it is probably a good idea to remove the negative battery cable before working under the hood at all.
- IMPORTANT – Use the combination wrench to loosen the nuts holding the battery cable to the negative post first! Otherwise, you might short the positive terminal or cable to ground with a wrench which could ruin a perfectly good wrench or screwdriver, and create a shower of sparks.
- Then loosen and remove the nuts holding thecable to the positive post.
- Remove the battery clamp.
- With both hands, lift up on the handle attached to the battery. Be careful because the battery is very heavy, and you do not want to damage your car or hurt yourself.
- Clean out the battery tray. Use the wire brush or steel wool to clean any corrosion off of the metal clamps that attach to the car battery terminals. If they are badly corroded, you’ll need to have them replaced.
- Place the new battery into the tray and reattach the clamps and both cables.
- Reattach the cables to the new battery. Remember that the cables are color-coordinated. Attach the red cable to the positive terminal and the black cable to the negative terminal, and tighten the nuts. The nuts are tight enough when the cables cannot move if you try to wiggle them by hand.
- After replacing the battery, take the old one back to where you bought the new one for proper disposal.
- Keep up with your battery’s warranty information in case it doesn’t last as long as it should.
- Most auto repair places charge what is called a “core charge” when you buy a new battery.
- Lead acid batteries must be disposed of properly. Simply keep your receipt and return your old battery to the store where you bought the new one to get the core charge refunded to you.
- Clamps that attach to battery terminals are usually ½ inch, so try a ½ inch combination wrench first.
Be careful to keep from getting any battery acid on you or on your clothes. Car batteries contain sulfuric acid which can cause severe burns and can damage your clothes.