How to Change Your Car Battery

One of the most common car issues out there is the dreaded dead battery. Luckily, it’s one of the easiest car problems to resolve on your own. Here’s how to change your car battery.

how to change a car battery

Find the battery: Most manufacturers put the battery under the hood, but a few cars have batteries in unexpected locations such as the trunk or under the passenger floorboards. If you can’t find yours, check your owners manual to see where it might be. Disconnect the black cable first; using an appropriately sized wrench, loosen the nut that holds the cable onto the terminal. Carefully twist and pull up to remove the cable from the terminal.

Disconnect the red cable: Now do the same thing for the red cable! Your battery terminals may have a lot of corrosion on them, depending on how your battery has aged. You can remove the corrosion by making a paste of baking soda and water and gently applying it to the terminals, letting it sit, and then wiping it off.

Pull out the battery: Remove any tie-down or brackets holding the battery in place. Carefully lift the battery out of the tray. Batteries are very heavy, so lift by the handle (if there is one) or by the base.

Bring your battery to the parts store: When you buy a new battery, many auto parts stores will have a “core deposit” charge. If you have your old battery to turn into them, you won’t have to pay the deposit, and they’ll dispose of your old battery safely! They can also test your battery to see if it’s really dead or just needs a charge. (We can do that here at Convoy Auto Repair too!)

Put the new battery in!: Place your new battery in the tray and secure it in place with any hold-downs that you removed. If you’d like, you can spray the terminals with an anti-corrosion spray (available at auto parts stores) to prevent corrosion in the future.

Connect the cables: Connect the red cable first, making sure to tighten the nut on the cable so it’s securely connected to the terminal. Then do the same with the black cable.

Start her up!

A few other things to keep in mind when you’re changing your battery:

  1. Not all new batteries come charged. Call the store ahead of time to make sure they have your battery in stock and charged before you head over.
  2. Sometimes a dead batter can be a sign of a larger electrical issue. It's never a bad idea to have a professional take a look at your charging system when your battery dies, especially if it’s a fairly new battery. You don't want to spend the time, money, and energy replacing your old one only to discover it wasn't the battery's fault in the first place.
  3. Don't be afraid to ask for help. If this process seems a little too overwhelming, our trained mechanics are happy to help you get your battery changed and your car back on the road!

Image: Image: Rich Soublet Photography

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Battery