How To Safely Replace Your Car Battery
If you are inclined to replace your own car battery you can save yourself some money doing it yourself. So here is a safe procedure that will guide you through the process of how to replace a car battery.
Saftey Tip: Car batteries can have a build up of hydrogen gas on the top. An electrical spark can ignite the hydrogen gas causing a dangerous explosion. Take precautions to avoid ignition.
The above safety tip is by far the most important thing to remember about your car battery. Especially if the battery has been discharging for a while. For example if the headlights were left on. Therefore, following these safety tips will keep you from having a face full of plastic shrapnel and battery acid!
- Always make the negative cable the first disconnection and the last re-connection.
- When using jumper cables, always make the negative cable the last connection and connect to the chassis, not the battery.
- Place a damp rag on top of the battery.
- Wear safety glasses.
A True Story
Years ago I had a friend who was helping someone jump start their vehicle and he made the mistake of making his last connection right on the battery. He said he was thinking to himself that he shouldn’t do it, that it was dangerous, when the battery exploded in his face. Fortunately, he only suffered minor cuts.
Removing the battery can be done safely, but only if you take these few safety tips to heart.
- Battery Service Kit
- Basic Socket Set (SAE and Metric)
- Battery Carrier
- Baking Soda and Water
- Small Brush
- Safety Glasses
Examples Of Tools Needed
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- New Battery (of course)
- Battery Terminal Protectors. (Red and Green felt washers to go underneath battery cables.)
- Battery Terminal Protection Spray.
- WD-40 (optional)
Installing And Removing a Car Battery
- After following the safety tips above, remove the negative battery cable first, then remove the positive cable.
- Remove the battery hold down clamp.
- Remove the battery.
- Clean the battery cables with a battery cable cleaning tool. Baking soda and water can be used to neutralize acid build up if necessary.
- Install new battery.
- Re-install battery hold down clamp.
- It is recommended to use battery terminal protectors on both positive and negative posts of the battery.
- Reconnect the positive battery cable first, then reconnect the negative battery.
A Few Tips
- Sometimes the battery terminals will not tighten and still remain loose, even though the nut is as tight as you can make it. The problem is that the terminal’s opening around the battery post is too big.
- One way to resolve this is to remove the nut and bolt from the terminal. Take a hack saw and cut about a blade’s width right where the two halves of the terminal meet. This should give you more distance for the terminal to squeeze the battery post.
- Check terminals for tightness by twisting them. You should not be able to twist them loose.
- Spray battery terminal protection on both terminals. You can use WD-40 also.
- If the nut on the battery terminals rounded so that the wrench just slips around it, use the channel lock pliers in the Battery Service Kit.
- Consider purchasing the a potable jump starter and keep it in the trunk for emergencies.
I hope you enjoyed this “how to” article. As you can see changing your own battery is only moderately difficult. I change out my own batteries in about 5 to 10 minutes. If you have any questions or have a comment please let me know in the contact us section below.
Thanks For Visiting!
Edward Verheyden is the founder of CarBatteryHelp.com. He has a 30+ year mechanical background and is the main reviewer here. He lives in San Diego CA with is wife and two daughters.
Tags: how to replace a car battery, How To Safely Replace a Car Battery
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