How to Change a Car Battery

A car battery provides the electrical energy needed to start the car’s engine and power its electrical systems, such as the lights, radio, and air conditioning. When you turn the key in the ignition, the battery sends a burst of energy to the starter motor, which turns the engine over and starts it running. Once the engine is running, the alternator takes over and recharges the battery while also powering the car’s electrical systems. Without a functioning battery, the car will not start or run. Here’s how to replace a car battery.

Step No. 1 — Gather the necessary tools

You will need a pair of safety goggles, gloves, a socket wrench with an extension, a new car battery, a memory saver, and a battery-carrying strap.

Step No. 2 — Park the car in a safe location

Make sure the car is parked in a safe location with enough space to work around it. This is a quick job that should take 10 to 15 minutes to accomplish.

Step No. 3 — Install the memory saver

A memory saver is a small device that plugs into the cigarette lighter socket to maintain power to the car’s electrical system while the battery is being replaced. This will prevent any loss of settings or data in the car’s electronic system.

Step No. 4 — Turn off the engine and remove the key

Turn off the engine and remove the key from the ignition.

Step No. 5 — Locate the battery

Open the hood and locate the battery. Some cars have the battery under the hood, while others have it in the trunk or under a seat. If you’re not sure where the battery is located, reference the owner’s manual.

Step No. 6 — Disconnect the battery

Use the socket wrench to disconnect the negative cable from the battery, followed by the positive cable. Make sure to loosen the nut on the cable clamp and remove the cable from the battery terminal.

Step No. 7 — Remove the battery

Carefully lift the battery out of the car and place it on a flat surface. If it comes with a bracket, utilize that to remove the battery. Otherwise, you’ll need two hands to lift the battery from its tray.

Step No. 8 — Install the new battery

Place the new battery in the same position as the old one. Clean the cables connecting the battery to ensure that they’re free of contamination. A wire brush is useful for cleaning. Remove the battery caps covering the positive and negative terminals. Install the supplied anti-corrosion washers over them. Connect the positive cable first, followed by the negative cable. Make sure to tighten the nut on the cable clamp.

Step No. 9 — Test the new battery

Start the car to ensure it is running properly. If the car does not start, check the battery connections and make sure they are tight. At this point, you can remove the memory saver.

Step No. 10 — Dispose of the old battery

Old batteries should be taken to a recycling center or a battery retailer that accepts them for recycling. In some states, retailers charge a deposit, monies that are refunded once the old battery is traded in. In any case, never dispose of the battery in the trash as it contains hazardous materials.

Shopping Considerations

When shopping for a new battery, make sure to choose one that is compatible with your car’s make and model. Consult your car owner’s manual for guidance. Finally, look for a battery with a warranty and a stellar reputation for reliability.

See AlsoCar Won’t Start: Basic Diagnostic Tests

Image by Bruce Emmerling from Pixabay.

Matt Keegan
Author: Matthew Keegan
Matt Keegan is a journalist, media professional, and owner of this website. He has an extensive writing background and has covered the automotive sector continuously since 2004. When not driving and evaluating new vehicles, Matt enjoys spending his time outdoors.

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