Car Repairs You Can Do Yourself: Battery Replacement

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Even if you treat your vehicle with the utmost care, car batteries are still prone to wear out after two to three years of use. Replacing the batteries is something that all car owners must deal with from time to time. Fortunately, replacing a car battery is fairly straightforward. It’s an excellent opportunity for DIYers to learn more about what’s going on under their car’s hood and save some money. The process will likely take about one hour once you’ve got all the necessary equipment. Here are the steps to disconnecting an old battery and installing a new one.

Necessary Materials

Before beginning, be sure to gather all the following materials:

  • Fully charged battery
  • Battery terminal puller
  • Open or box end wrenches or sockets
  • Battery post and terminal cleaning tool
  • Battery terminal protectors
  • Battery terminal and post grease
  • Rags
  • Safety glasses
  • Battery carrying strap
  • Gloves

Removing an Old Car Battery

After identifying where your battery is located, find the negative and positive posts and their attached cables. The positive post will likely have a bright plastic covering. The attached cable may also be brightly colored. Most positive posts are clearly marked with a (+) symbol as well.

Next, use a wrench to loosen the bolt securing the negative cable to the battery post.

Once the first bolt is loose, use a terminal puller to remove the negative cable and terminal from the negative post. Then repeat this process with the positive end.

Remove all retaining systems such as clamps that are holding the old battery in place and set these parts to the side so you do not lose them.

Then, remove the battery by lifting it straight up out of the vehicle. Be careful, as batteries are quite dense. They are small but some can weigh more than thirty pounds.

Installing a New Car Battery

Now you should be ready to put in the car’s new battery. First, make sure to identify the positive terminal on the battery. When lowering the new battery into place, be certain that the positive terminal lines up with the red positive post in the vehicle. The battery will not work if the cables are not hooked up to their correct ends.

Once the new battery is in, the next step is to re-apply the clamping system that you removed earlier in order to take out the old battery.

Remove the anti-corrosion washers on both of the new battery’s posts as well as any plastic caps.

Apply a small amount of grease to both exposed battery posts. This prevents green corrosion that prevents batteries from charging from forming.

Next, connect the positive terminal to the battery first. Then, connect the negative.

Lastly, tighten the bolts around the terminals. Try to wiggle your battery around. If it shifts through your force, tighten the clamping system until you are unable to move it.

Now you are all ready to go! Batteries may take a couple of minutes to charge so that they can start your vehicle. Once the battery is fully functioning, you won’t have to worry about replacing for another two years.

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