How to Change a Side Post Car Battery

by Dan Ferrell

After 3 or 5 years of service, your car's battery will need to be changed. You should always proceed with caution, since batteries contain acid. If you have a side post car battery installed in your vehicle, follow these simple steps to replace it in a matter of minutes.

Park your car in a safe, level place and open the hood. Put on latex gloves and safety goggles before you begin removing the battery to prevent battery acid from getting on your hands and eyes.

Locate the battery on your car. On most vehicles, the battery is located on the front-left side of the engine compartment; other vehicles have the battery installed under the rear seat or passenger compartment. Remove the battery protective cover manually or with a screwdriver or ratchet and socket, depending on type of fasteners used.

Remove the hold-down securing the battery to the vehicle body or mounting tray. Most vehicles use a hold-down clamp that goes around the top of the battery or is wedged between the bottom edge of the battery and mounting tray. Use a wrench or ratchet and socket.

Disconnect the black, negative battery cable first, and then disconnect the red, power battery cable. Use a wrench or ratchet and socket to turn the terminal bolt counterclockwise. Then lift the battery off the engine compartment.

Clean the battery posts if covered with corrosion. Mix 8 oz. water and 1 tbsp. baking soda in a disposable container to clean the terminals. Dip the terminals in the mixture and scrub the acid off the terminal using a toothbrush. Clean the battery tray if necessary, and make sure all the tray mounting screws are in place and tight.

Set the new battery in place and make sure it is seating properly and not resting on the edge of the mounting tray. Install the battery clamp.

Connect the red, power battery cable first, but do not overtighten the bolt to avoid damage to the threads. Then connect the black, negative battery cable. Apply white grease to the battery connections to prevent corrosion buildup, and install the battery cover.

Tip

  • check Consult your car owner's manual or vehicle service manual to locate the battery in your car, if necessary. You can buy a manual at most auto parts stores or consult one for free at most public libraries. When replacing your car battery, make sure it has the capacity recommended by your car manufacturer. Consult your car owner's manual, if necessary.

Warning

  • close Do not allow smoking near the car battery, and keep it away from appliances with open flames like dryers and water heaters. The chemical reaction inside the battery produces hydrogen gas, which is extremely flammable.

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About the Author

Since 2003 Dan Ferrell has contributed general and consumer-oriented news to television and the Web. His work has appeared in Texas, New Mexico and Miami and on various websites. Ferrell is a certified automation and control technician from the Advanced Technology Center in El Paso, Texas.