Change Your Own Car Battery When It Starts Showing Signs Of Failure

When your car begins to turn over more slowly as you start it, or the lights dim when you turn the engine off, you're seeing signs that your battery is at the end of its life. It will just get worse, so change your battery before you find yourself stuck in a parking lot with a dead battery. With a few tools and a couple of hours, you can have a new battery in your car and keep you from getting stuck somewhere with a car that doesn't run.

Tools and Supplies You'll Need

  • flat-blade screwdriver
  • socket set
  • old rags for cleanup

From the auto parts store:

  • replacement battery for your car

Get help at the store when buying the battery. The clerks there will find the battery that fits your car and has the cranking power to turn over the engine to start it. The price difference in batteries generally relates to how long the manufacturer estimates the battery will last in your car before it needs to be replaced.

Removing the Old Battery

  1. Stop the engine and turn the key off before changing the battery.
  2. Locate the battery in the engine compartment. In most cars it is near the front and off to one side.
  3. Remove the plastic cover over the battery, if one is present.
  4. Detach the black (negative) battery cable by loosening the clamp with the screwdriver or socket set.
  5. Pull the clamp off of the battery post by pulling straight up while turning the clamp from side to side.
  6. Move the black cable and battery clamp to the side and out of your way.
  7. Repeat with the red (positive) battery cable and clamp.
  8. Loosen and remove the strap holding the battery in the engine compartment.
  9. Notice the orientation of the battery and the terminal posts in the battery compartment so you can place the new battery in the same position. This is so the battery cables can reach their respective posts.
  10. Use both hands to lift the battery straight up out of the car and place it on the ground. When finished installing the new battery, take the old one to the auto parts store to get credit back for it. They will either recycle the battery or dispose of it properly for you.

Installing the New Battery

  1. Lift the new battery with both hands and place it in the battery compartment in the proper orientation.
  2. Fasten the strap over the battery to hold it in place securely.
  3. Push the red battery cable clamp down over the positive battery post and tighten the screw on the clamp so the clamp doesn't move on the post.
  4. Repeat with the black battery cable and clamp.
  5. Replace the plastic cover over the battery.

Problems You May Encounter

If you have any of the following problems, take your car to an auto repair shop to change the battery for you.

  • The battery cable clamps are corroded onto the battery terminals and won't come off.
  • One or both battery cables are frayed with some of the wires broken away from the battery clamp.
  • The battery is not easily accessible in the engine compartment.

To learn more about auto repair, contact a company like Monroe Transmissions