Change Your Own Car Battery And Keep Yourself On The Road


Few things are as frustrating as sitting in the parking lot with a car full of groceries and a dead battery. When you see the signs of a car battery nearing the end of its life, change it before it goes out completely. Here is how you can tell you have a battery problem and how to change it yourself.

Low Battery Signs

The common signs of a dying battery include:

  • The engine turns over slowly when trying to start it.
  • The lights dim when you turn the engine off.
  • The clock and radio lose their settings overnight.

These all mean that the battery is losing its charge and it's time to replace it before it dies completely.

What You'll Need to Replace the Battery

  • new battery from the auto parts store
  • flat-blade screwdriver
  • pair of channel lock pliers, crescent wrench or socket set
  • wire brush or piece of sandpaper
  • an old rag for cleanup

Replacing the Battery

  1. Remove the strap holding the battery in the engine compartment.
  2. Using the wrench, loosen the negative (black) battery clamp and cable and pull it off of the battery terminal.
  3. Loosen the positive (red) battery clamp and cable and pull it off of the battery terminal.
  4. Notice the orientation of the battery in the engine compartment as you'll want to place the new battery the same way.
  5. With both hands, lift the old battery up out of the engine compartment and place it on the ground out of your way.
  6. Using the rag and wire brush or sandpaper, remove any corrosion built up on the battery clamps. Pay attention especially to the surface inside of the clamp which is in contact with the battery post.
  7. With both hands, lift up the new battery and place it in the engine compartment in the same orientation as the old battery.
  8. Place the positive (red) battery clamp and cable over the positive battery terminal and tighten the clamp until you can't move it on the terminal post.
  9. Repeat with the negative (black) battery cable and clamp on the negative battery terminal post.
  10. Replace the battery cable strap to secure it in the engine compartment.

Problems You May Encounter

You will need to take your car to a repair shop if you encounter any of the following problems:

  • You can't easily get to the battery, like if it is under or behind the engine.
  • The battery clamps are so corroded that you can't get them off of the battery terminal.
  • The battery cables connected to the clamps are frayed or some of the wires are broken.

The automotive repair shop will replace your battery and any corroded or broken battery cables and get you back on the road quickly.


8 February 2016

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