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How to Replace Your Car Battery

If you notice your headlights are dim or you require more jumpstarts than normal, it might be time for a new battery.

Here is a quick step-by-step guide on how to replace your car battery:

1) Determine if the battery needs to be replaced

Before running out to the shop for a new one, check your current battery in question to determine whether it is indeed kaput. In particular look around the terminals for white- or bluish-looking residue signifying an acid leak. A quick wipe down, wearing proper safety gloves and goggles to avoid acidic burns, might be just what your battery needs to get back up and running.

If the battery is still uncooperative, try running your engine for about half an hour to charge your battery up. With the engine off, a working alternator should read between 12.5 and 13 volts when tested with a voltmeter.

2) Buy a replacement car battery

If you determine your old car battery needs replacing, take careful note of what make the battery is, the type required for your vehicle and any other important descriptive details. An ill-fitting battery or battery of incorrect voltage can damage or destroy your car’s electronic components.

3) Ensure proper safety procedure

Since car batteries are susceptible to sparks and flames and are packed full of corrosive sulphuric acid, taking extra precaution before replacing them is paramount. Before you touch the battery, ensure you are wearing gloves, a long-sleeved shirt, pants and safety goggles.

4) Open the hood

When you are ready to start the replacement procedure, pop the car’s hood and locate the battery. Depending on the make of your car, the location of the battery is somewhere just off to the side of the main engine. Consult your owner’s manual for specific details on car battery location.

5) Disconnect the negative terminal first

To avoid a dangerous short circuit situation, always disconnect the negative terminal of a car battery first before disconnecting the positive terminal. If there are no labels differentiating positive from negative wires, be sure to add proper labels before disconnection.

6) Remove the old battery

Once the terminals are disconnected and any other fixtures around the old car battery are disengaged, carefully remove the old battery. Clean the area thoroughly with baking soda and a wire brush, letting it dry before installing the new battery.

7) Install the new battery

Once the battery area is clean and dry, insert the new car battery. This time connect the positive terminal before connecting the negative. Apply lithium grease to the terminals to avoid future corrosion and extend the life of your new battery. Then close the hood.

8) Proper car battery disposal

Due to their employment of toxic and acidic chemicals, proper disposal of old car batteries is important for the environment. Consult your local waste disposal service for proper disposal procedure in your community.

How to Replace Your Car Battery

Like other types of batteries, car batteries do not last forever. Whether corroded by weather, internal chemical breakdowns or just not having the charge they used to have, every car battery eventually needs to be replaced.