How to safely change your car's battery

A short and sweet DIY
by Jason Tulio | Feb 26, 2018


Have you ever started your car one day, and felt like it struggled to get going? Maybe you heard a lurching sound, or it took a second or two longer than usual to spring to life. Leave the problem alone for long enough, and you could potentially end up with a dead battery.

If you don't periodically check your battery's charge (or you do something silly like leave your headlights on overnight), you could find yourself in this all-too-common situation. If so, there are services out there that can replace your battery with a brand-new one at your location for a hefty fee. If you want to save a bit of coin by purchasing your own battery, here's how you can replace it on your own.

1) Gather your tools.

To replace a battery, you'll need a box wrench and a screwdriver. Check your battery's bolts and screws to get the sizes right. Alternatively, you could also use an open-ended or adjustable wrench. For safety, you can also wear gloves and goggles.

2) Make sure your car is in a safe place and everything is turned off.

Park (or push) your car onto a level surface, away from any traffic. Make sure your car's engine and electronics are all switched off. 

3) Remove your battery's shackles.

Most cars will have a bracket to hold the battery in place. You'll need to remove this first using your tools before you can change the battery. 

4) Remove the terminals.

This is very important: Remove the negative terminal first. The negative terminal is connected to the car's body. If you disconnect the positive one first and accidentally touch your wrench onto a metal part, you risk setting off sparks and short-circuiting your battery. After you've disconnected and set aside the negative terminal, then you can take off the positive one. If you're not sure, each terminal has a + or - symbol on it. 

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5) Take out the old battery and slot the new one in—with care.

If you've never lifted a car battery before, you might be surprised that it actually weighs quite a bit. You don't want to have to tell your loved ones that your hurt yourself while changing a battery, so use proper posture and lifting form as much as possible.

6) Repeat steps 1-4 in reverse.

Once the new battery is in place, you'll need to work back through the same process. So connect the positive terminal first, then the negative, and re-install the bracket. Wiggle the battery and terminals around a bit to double-check that everything is secured. 

There you have it. Done right, you can finish the process in 10 minutes or less. No more need to wait for a delivery service. Good luck! 

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