How to Change a Car's Battery

by eHow Cars Editor

Changing a car battery is something that most people will be able to do themselves. The hardest part is usually to lift it out of the car once it has been disconnected because it is so heavy, but not even that is hard. Most batteries come equipped with a 60-month warranty. Keep track of your battery's life and replace it before it leaves you stranded.

With the engine off, pop the hood and find the battery. Detach the negative (black) battery cable from the battery. First loosen the nut with a combination wrench. A better tool to use would be battery pliers or a battery wrench.

Twist and pull up on the end of the cable with your hand. If it does not come off easily you may want to purchase a battery terminal puller from your local auto parts store. This will help prevent damage to your battery or cables. It is not recommended to use a screwdriver as a pry-bar, this could break off your battery terminal or cause other damage.

Detach the positive (red) battery cable from the battery using the same method.

Using a combination wrench or a socket and ratchet, remove the battery hold-down clamp.

Take the battery out of the battery tray. Batteries are heavy, so grab from the bottom using both hands. If the battery has a handle, use that instead.

Use baking soda mixed with water and a wire brush to clean any corrosion from the battery tray and the hold-down clamp.

Clean the battery cable connectors with a wire brush. To remove heavy corrosion from the connectors, use battery-cleaning solution (available at any auto-parts store).

Place the new battery in the battery hold-down tray and secure the battery with the hold-down clamp. Spray both terminal ends with anti-corrosion solution (optional). Attach and tighten the positive battery cable. Attach and tighten the negative battery cable. Check that all cable connectors are tight. If you can move them at all, your car may not start.

Warnings

  • close Battery acid is extremely corrosive. Don't let it splash out. Take care not to spill any on your hands, body or clothing, or on car paint.
  • close The old battery cannot go into the regular trash. Take it to a facility that accepts hazardous material for recycling. You can also return the used battery to the auto-parts store where you bought the new one.
  • close Make sure you're connecting the wires to the right battery terminal otherwise you can cause damage to your vehicle.

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